GradPSYCH - January 2012 - (Page 17)
especially in the run-up to the holiday season, when new games are typically released. There’s also a lot of job insecurity in the field, since many companies lay off employees after new games ship, Kim says. The work is also fast-paced, she adds, and that can be a shock to academics accustomed to conducting research slowly and carefully. Instead, she says, the researchers in the games industry work as quickly as possible, with the aim of putting results into immediate action to improve games. “If you really enjoy academics, don’t go into game design,” she warns. “Nobody cares about your smart idea; they care about whether something is going to help the game sell a lot.” Plus, says Kim, working in this industry “can take some of the fun out of games, because you’re always studying them.” There’s a lot of unpaid time spent just staying up to date playing new games, she points out. The reward for the long hours: Seeing your findings applied rapidly and concretely, she says. Nichols agrees. “I talk to friends of mine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Medtronic, and they’re doing some very cool stuff that’s probably saving lives,” says Nichols. “But I get to go into stores and see games I worked very hard on that are being
played by millions of people and bringing them the happiness and excitement that I remember as a kid.” n Rebecca A. Clay is a writer in Washington, D.C.
Video: Meet video game psychologist Tim Nichols.
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gradPSYCH • January 2012 • 17
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GradPSYCH - January 2012
GradPSYCH - January 2012
Psychology grad school enrollment drops, despite record numbers of applicants
Students leave their iPods at home during ‘crunch time’
Hot careers: Video game design and development
Friends and co-workers
Time to bail?
Scaling Mount Publication
Need to heal thyself?
Matters to a Degree
Power up your PowerPoint
Dissertations vs. diapers
Searching for answers
Jobs, internships, postdocs and other opportunities
The Back Page
GradPSYCH - January 2012