Scoring a job in the video game industry might seem like a dream gig, and with many industry players looking to take on more talent, there's potential for a lot of dreams to come true this year. But while hiring is starting to pick up, salaries have remained flat.
"Overall, game salaries have risen 24 percent form an average of $60,883 in 2001, the first year we began studying developers' salaries," said Chris Remo, the co-director of Game Developer Research and Editor-at-Large at Gamasutra.com. "For the most part since then, salaries have either risen or remained flat on a year-on year basis, with the only exceptions being this past year, and a 1 percent decline from 2005 to 2006."
Should budding game developers be concerned about this? Not really. Even though this past year saw the first case on record of a big drop in the average salary, 2009 still ranked as the second-highest average salary year ever.
"it's not unusual for video game developers to be making $80,000 to $150,000 a year," said Dr. Peter Raad, executive director of The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, a leading graduate level game design program. "That money typically comes from three different buckets, including base salary, profit sharing, and bonuses tied to a specific game."