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Game industry wages went up in 2010

Being a game developer isn't all about living the rockstar lifestyle, bedding booth babes and drinking free booze served in diamond encrusted goblets. There's also the mountains of cash. Every year, Game Developer magazine takes a tally of the US industry's average wages, and according to its recent findings, life in the gaming biz is becoming more and more lucrative.

The findings from 2010 were published in the 10th annual Game Developer Salary Survey. In it, game producers and programmers topped the list of talent earners with an average salary of $88,544 and $85,733, respectively. Artists and animators were equally well compensated with an average salary of $71,071, as were designers who earned an average of $70,223, and staffers in the audio department who earned around $68,088.


Above: Can you guess who? (Hint: rhymes with Babe Dewell)

On the quality assurance side - a segment usually reserved for entry-level employees - testers were shown to have earned an average of $49,009; a dramatic rise from the $37,905 figure reported in 2009. At the other end of the company, business and legal employees pulled in the highest wages of any department with an average of $106,452.

Outside of the mainstream studios, those who considered themselves indie developers reported earnings of around $27k; roughly $6k more than in 2009 due to massive growth within the indie sector, thanks in part to rising opportunities in digital distribution.

OK, that stuff about the diamond encrusted goblets may have been an overstatement, and there are plenty of cons to working in the industry - in addition to the late nights, piles of work and zero job security, survey respondents regarded jobs in traditional studios as being largely 'frustrating' due to an increase in lay-offs and work for those who remain.

True, the highest wages don't come close to what actual rockstars or the average alcoholic reality show trainwreck makes, but it's heartwarming to know those countless hours of playing games and buying old consoles from eBay can pay off one day. Because that's how you get into this industry, right? Right?! 

[Source: Gamasutra]

Apr 28, 2011

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15 comments

  • e1337prodigy - April 29, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    I wish I took that job. So what if it was a temp job, least i would have done something I enjoyed and have a real passion for :(, and now I'm still stuck here in this dead end job that I have no interest in.
  • Y2Ken - April 29, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    ... I do like a free Pizza lunch. Is that offered in the UK offices too? ;-)
  • BulletsChase - April 29, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    I work in Quality Assurance and I do NOT make that much....yet
  • Rhymenocerous - April 29, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    I did a three year course on Games Design, and it also covered stuff like Project Management, where there would be a wide range of problems such as programmers and artists not getting along, or high-poly art assets crippling the frame rate. You'd get marked based on what your solution would be, how you'd handle pressure from publishers etc. Anyway, I realised making games is damn hard work. But "As long as I got my solid gold house, and my rocket car" I'll be just fine. me wont 2 B GAMZ JARNALIST.
  • zigs - April 29, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    To be fair though Charlie, your salaries are low, but most of your earnings come from publishers themselves buying good review scores, right? And I bet you don't even have to pay tax on any of it, because it's a gift! Fucking games journalists and their gold mansions...
  • Sleepingdragon - April 29, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    I wonder how many pizza lunches per month babe dewell gets...
  • Fiirestorm21 - April 29, 2011 3:22 a.m.

    As a $15K a year man (admittedly before "allowances"), they might as well be rock stars! It's good to see that the industry is doing so well. Reminds me of another recent article on GR I just read (can't remember which one) about people talking about how this sector or that sector of video gaming is dying, and how full of shit they are. This helps prove the point, I think. And Manguy, it's okay. We were all thinking it.
  • Manguy17 - April 28, 2011 11:57 p.m.

    when you call Gabe newell fat, he cuts himself... another slice of cake. Im sorry
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - April 28, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    @Primed It does! Though there's a 50% deductible.
  • Primed - April 28, 2011 11:11 p.m.

    Does the one Pizza lunch per month include drinks or is that seperalte?
  • BackwaterRifle - April 28, 2011 11:08 p.m.

    I hope I can earn one pizza lunch per month when I get a job.
  • Helios - April 28, 2011 10:47 p.m.

    Hey, look! Day of Defeat! On topic: I want to be a game tester. Just because.
  • Hubadaeus - April 28, 2011 10:30 p.m.

    BABE DEWELL RULEZ!!!!
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - April 28, 2011 10:28 p.m.

    Meanwhile, the salaries of games journalists rose from "one pizza lunch per month" to "three DLC codes, two publisher-branded backpacks and one pizza lunch per month."
  • Apocalypse265 - April 28, 2011 10:22 p.m.

    Still sounds good to me as I plan on going into this industry, lol.

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