Game Developer Salary Survey Released

April 27, 2011 -

Game Developer magazine released the results of its tenth annual Game Developer Salary Survey, revealing what various positions in the video game industry are paid in 2010. This year's survey contrasts increasing salaries for mainstream game developers with continued gains for independent creators.

Mainstream video game industry salaries enjoyed a seven percent increase in 2010 over 2009, reaching and average salary of $80,817. Independent contractors earned an average of $55,493, while "independent game" team members trailed with a $26,780 average, an increase of over $6,000 from the previous year's survey.

By job type, programmer continued to the highest paid position in both the console and online game industry - after production and those in the business and legal sectors - with an average annual salary of $85,733. Salaries for programmers increased by around $5,000 over 2009 numbers, except in entry-level positions, which saw a $1,000 decrease.

Art and animation positions were mostly flat compared to 2009 at $71,354. Art directors saw a slight bump in compensation from pay raises.

Game designers saw a slight boost from 2009 numbers, with the average salary being reported at $70,223. Designers saw little movement in 2010, as the discipline has been one of the most stable in terms of compensation.

Producers saw an overall salary dip in 2009, but in 2010 the position increased by over $13,000, for a total average salary of $88,544. Female employees continued to be best-represented in this field, with 17 percent of the respondents being women.

Sound designers and composers earned an average of $68,088, with 15 percent of respondents reporting that they earned less than in 2009. The category typically has a low response rate, due to the fact that there are few full-time audio professionals employed in games, but individuals in the field are those most likely to receive royalties for their work.

Quality assurance remains the lowest paid discipline, with an average salary of $49,009 being reported. Similar to industry employees working in production, the 2010 salary bump over 2009's $37,905 figure may be a result of those individuals working in web game-centric industries and with more complex testing skills.

Business and legal employees remain the highest paid in the industry across all levels of experience, with the average salary being reported at $106,452. Along with having the second-highest numbers for female representation, those working in business and legal are also more likely to receive additional compensation, with 85 percent of respondents reporting that they had.

In the "self-reporting" part of the survey, where developers can express opinions, salaried game developers often had a bleaker outlook on the industry. These respondents stated that working in the traditional structure is "frustrating," complaining that larger studios are "trimming talent" and crunching harder. Independent developers felt that the industry was more fertile and and as innovative than ever, praising the arrival of new platforms and revenue streams. Some of these individuals called 2010 "the year of the indie."

The full survey results appear in the latest issue of the magazine .

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MechaTama31AE: Probably snarky commentary on this: http://www.gamepolitics.com/2014/08/29/principle-player-leland-yee-arms-trading-case-dies08/30/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenConster - Don't know. Got a link to whatever you're referring to?08/30/2014 - 7:04pm
ConsterWait, what's this about Leland Yee eliminating witnesses?08/30/2014 - 5:50pm
IanCBroke my EA boycott to pick up Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare. Loving it. Still hate EA though. But i like Popcap. Gah.08/30/2014 - 6:01am
MaskedPixelantehttp://m.tickld.com/x/something-you-never-realized-about-guardians-of-the-galaxy Right in the feels.08/29/2014 - 6:56pm
AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
prh99Who cares, just don't watch the damn videos if you don't like her. Personally, I don't care as far as she is concerned as long there are interesting games to be played.08/29/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
 

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