Video Game Design vs Video Game Development

May 25, 2020

The video gaming industry has ballooned and shows no signs of slowing down. Today, there are about 2.5 billion gamers in the world and that number is expected to continue to rise. In terms of revenue, the gaming industry generated $35.4 billion in 2019, and about 2.3 billion gamers were waiting for new experiences in the same year.

With such jaw-dropping statistics, it is obvious the video game industry will continue experiencing an upward trajectory in the coming years.

If you have the kind of creative flair that gamers crave, the video game design and video game development career paths are ideal for you. At first glance, both sound similar, but they are quite different at their core.

Though each field requires specific skillsets and knowledge, they remain entirely interconnected. Confusing right? Don’t worry, this article will answer all your questions and help identify the differences between them!

To begin, let’s take a look at each degree individually.

What is Video Game Designing?

what is video game designing

In its initial stages, video game design involves deciding the genre and target audience and designing the concept and rules for a video game.

Once the broad theme of the video game is ready, the game design focuses on more detailed aspects such as the storyline, characters, maps, plots, methods of winning or losing the game, user interface creations, levels, and more.

Video game designers first propose a draft and oversee all artistic and technical angles. They make the concept of gameplay and layout come to life by experimenting with different themes and genres.

Video game designers are also involved in other wings of production, like budget and staff estimates, hardware selection, and schedule setting.


Earn your degree in Game Design & Development from NEIT and begin your new career path today!



Here’s a guide that can help kick start your career in video game designing.

What is Video Game Development?

what is video game development

Video game development is the process of bringing the game to life. This includes coding, software-programming, sound effects, engineering, rendering, testing, and several other processes for getting the required video game up and running.

A video game developer transforms the game designer’s ideas and concepts into the actual game, which can then be launched on the market. The chief requirement of a video game developer is to have incredible coding and programming skills.

They incorporate the designers’ concepts, sketches, drawings, layouts, and storylines, into thousands of lines of code to create a playable game.

What Is the Difference between Video Game Design and Video Game Development?

Video game design and video game development are not terribly different. The former revolves around what the game might look and feel like while the latter focuses on how to develop the game. Game designers are the visionaries of the video game; game developers turn the vision into reality.

Of course, to produce a good game, design and development need to be properly integrated.

Development, at its core involves learnings associated with computer science, and designing involves great artistic and visual skills. It’s up to you to decide which of these paths is right for you.

Video Game Designers vs. Video Game Developers

Let’s look at how these two differ in terms of various parameters like educational qualifications, curriculums, job roles, skills and more.

Educational Qualification:

Game Designers-

In order to become a video game designer, you can pursue an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in game design in video game design.

Game Developers-

Game developers usually hold a bachelor’s degree in game development and simulation programming, or in other disciplines like computer science or software engineering.

Like game design, one can also pursue an associate degree in game development.


When it comes to the curriculum, video game development and video game designing degrees offer a few similar subjects. For example, virtual reality development is taught in both degrees. Here’s a more specific list of the subjects you’ll encounter in either program.

Game Design-

The video game design curriculum covers topics like:

  • Simulation and Serious Games
  • Advanced 3D Modeling
  • Advanced Animation
  • 3D Scripting & Advanced Rigging
  • Advanced Texturing
  • Advanced Game Design
  • Game Engines
  • Game Analytics and Statistics
  • 3D Digital Sculpting
  • VR Development
  • Virtual Production/Motion Capture

Game Development-

The video game development program consists of subjects such as:

  • Advanced Algorithms and API
  • Simulation and Serious Games
  • 2D and 3D Game Console Programming
  • Mathematics for Game Development
  • 2D Game Engine and Tool Development
  • Software Testing and Quality Assurance
  • Web API for Games
  • Advanced Game Design
  • Design Patterns
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Virtual Reality Development

Skills Required

A video game designer must have:

  • Innovative abilities, as no two games are the same
  • Creative and innovative solutions to tackle problems
  • Exceptional problem-solving abilities, outstanding analytical skills, and above all, a relentless passion for gaming
  • The ability to work and coordinate with teams
  • Strong communication and presentation skills
  • Knowledge about 3D modeling and excellent visual and drawing skills

Video game developers should –

  • Be adept in coding and programming
  • Know at least one computer language very well. For example, candidates who are familiar with more than one language are favored in many places since there are several coding languages and platforms used in game development
  • Be familiar with C++ and advanced algebra
  • Patience for the time it takes to develop a video game
  • An eye for detail

Job Roles and Responsibilities:

responsibilities of a game developer

Video game designers should be able to do the following:

  • Research potential subjects for new projects
  • Experiment with various genres and mix multiple genres in a game
  • Identify the target audience requirements
  • Create the game outline and rules
  • Develop the storyline, characters, environment, layout, and gameplay
  • Collaborate with other game designers and developers
  • Come up with ideas and alterations to improve existing video games

The job requirements of a video game developer include the following:

  • Integrate graphics, sound effects, and characters in the game design
  • Use the knowledge of computer skills, programming languages, mathematics, and analytical and logical skills to make the game playable
  • Make sure the game works properly and troubleshoot to fix bugs and errors
  • Work with the video game designer to review game design plans and layouts
  • Add lines of code to improve an existing game

Career Path and Possibilities:

career paths for game designing & development

Anyone with a degree in video game design can work under various career disciplines such as:

  • Character Artist
  • Video Game Designer
  • Video Game Programmer
  • Game Designer
  • Character Designer
  • Animator

Candidates with a degree in game development have career opportunities like-

  • Game Programmer
  • System Developer
  • Application Developer
  • Web Developer
  • Software Engineer
  • Video Game Designer
  • Quality Assurance Engineer
  • Junior Programmer

Where to start?

By now, you should have a better sense of the differences between game design or game development and which path you would be best suited for. The first step towards a career in video game production is earning your degree.

You can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program or an associate degree program depending on what suits your requirements best.

New England Tech is one of the best game design colleges. It was named one of the top 25 schools for Video Game Design by the Princeton Review.

New England Tech helps train students to become professional game designers and game developers working in the industry through a combination of theory, hands-on and state-of-the-art laboratory experiences led by experienced instructors, and a capstone project.

The programs have been designed to accentuate the application of conceptual knowledge to the practical design and development of games and simulations.


Earn your degree in Game Design & Development from NEIT and begin your new career path today!




Apply to video game design and graduate in less than 2 years.