Video Game Salary
Video Game Salary Survey
Salaries in the Video Game Industry
One of the fastest growing job markets in the country right now is in the video game design industry. This industry is taking in over $7 billion dollars in revenue yearly. So every employer in this job field is looking for the brightest, most talented new recruits they can find, and they are willing to pay those who fit the bill a very good wage. There are many employers like Blizzard, EA, and Microsoft leading the way and according to a Game Makers Salary Survey this is what they are willing to pay.
Video Game Programmers
If you are a video game programmer, and it does not matter if you specialize in AI, networking or graphic engines, you will on the average, earn more then the other jobs in the industry. The starting salaries are down a little from previous years but that is only because many people have figured out that the video gaming industry is almost recession proof and many college graduates are flooding the industry. Here is what you can expect to make.
Programmers and Engineers first entering the business or with less than three years experience, you can start off by making, on the average, $50,000 a year. If you have between three and six years experience you can plan to earn $66K a year and if you have six years and up on the job you can make over $88K a year.
Lead programmers make a little more when they are coming in, but you will have more responsibilities. The entry level pay for a lead programmer is close to $56,000 a year. Once you have at least three years under your belt you should be averaging about $83K a year. Once you have been in the business for over six years you will make over $90K a year.
Video game technical directors have a lot of responsibilities so they are paid well, even at the entry level. For those coming into the business or having less then three years in the industry you can average $60,700 a year. Once you get between three to six year you can begin to make $73K a year. Those who last in the business for over six years you can expect to make just around $110K each year, one of the highest salaries for this job description was reported at $195,500.
Artist and Animators
In 2006 a survey found that artist and animators were making more money then the previous years and that was at all levels of experience. The largest increases in salary were earned by those with more then three years of experience. Artists have many responsibilities like giving the game its' look and feel. It seems at the entry level artist may be paid a little less but once you have the experience you can actually make more money then coders. We found that the highest salaried coder made less then the highest paid artist. If you are an artist here is what you can figure on making:
A video game artist that is either just entering the business or has less then three years of experience can plan on making, on the average $41,500 a year. Once you have gained at least three years your earning will increase to $53,300. A game artist that can last in the business for over six years will make $66,700 a year.
Video game animators will make on the average, $46,700 a year for three years of experience or less. There is quite an increase once you make it past the three year mark, you can now make $67,000 a year. Once you have six years of experience as a video game animator you can now earn just over $75K a year.
If you are hired as a lead artist or animator you can expect a salary of just over $64K per year until you have at least three years of experience. Once you have over three years on the job you will begin to make around $67K. Once you have seniority on the job you can make anywhere from $80,000 to a whopping $215,000 a year.
Video Game Designers
When you were younger you probably told your parents that when you grew up you were going to make video games. They probably did not pay much attention to your comments at the time, but now you can actually make that dream job reality. The technical term for those who "make" video games is a game designer. The market for games designers is very competitive and it does not matter whether you are self-taught or are highly educated. The good thing is this position also pays well at all levels of experience. You will also find that the more proven you are in the industry the faster your salary will rise. Employers are looking for people that can withstand the rigors of the job. One of the best pieces of advice for a newbie is to get a mentor to work with.
A video game designer with less then three years of experience will make, on the average $46K a year. With between three and six years experience a game designer can bring home $55,600 a year. Once you have over six years of on the job experience you can average almost $70K a year.
If you are the creative director or lead designer you can bring home $45,000 a year until you have over three years of experience. Then you can start to average $54,000 a year. Lead designers or creative directors with over six years experience will make around $81K a year. The highest reported salary that we were able to find for a lead artist was $180,000 a year.
Video Game Producers
The video game producers manage every aspect involved in creating a video game. They are in charge of every decision being made from beginning to end. They coordinate all the different departments involved, and make sure that the deadlines are met and the project stays on budget. Becoming a video game producer takes a little time and one of the best places to start is in Quality Assurance.
Producers, some times referred to as the project lead usually has a minimum of three years of experience in the industry so we have no figures on what someone who has less then three years experience would make. Once you have had at least three years on the job you can expect to bring home $62,000 on the average. With over six years of experience you will begin to make an average of $80,000 a year.
Executive producers have been known to make, on the average, $50,000 a year. Once you have over six years of experience you can start to command a salary of almost $82K a year. Executive producers with over six years of experience will receive a six-figure salary. The highest salary we found was $200,000 a year.
Video Game Quality Assurance
If you are video game enthusiast but have no technical skills applying in the Quality Assurance department is a great way to get your foot in the door. If fact most producers once started in the QA department and work their way up the ladder
Becoming a game testers is a dream job for most video game enthusiast and you can get paid to actually play the games. You can expect to make $32,000 on the average if you have less then three years of experience. You really do not begin to make significantly more money until you have over six years of experience and then you can make an average of $50,000 ay year.
Any lead QA person can expect to make $40,000 a year until you have over three years of experience. You can then anticipate a salary of $50,000 for up to six years of experience. With more then six years of experience you will begin to make $60,000, on the average. If you are really good and can last in the business you can make a nice chunk of change, the highest report salary for a lead QA is $215,000.
Video Game Audio
This is a growing field in the gaming industry and the average salary has been increasing the past few years. This is especially true for entry-level musicians. Right now it does not matter if you a musician, audio engineer, composer, or a director once you have six or more years of experience you will keep pace with the programmer's salary.
Sound designers or engineers coming in at an entry-level position cans usually start with a salary of $50,000. Once you get over three years of experience you can make $66,000 a year. A sound designer or engineer will make, on the average $74,000 a year, once they have reached six years or more on the job.
Musicians or composers in the video game design industry will generally have a starting salary of $55,000 a year until you have around three years of experience. Once you have been in the industry between three and six years you will begin making $62K a year. If you have the staying power you can make on the average $90,000 a year once you have over six years in the industry. The highest salary we have found for a musician is $215,000 a year.
Making a substantial living is relatively easy in this field; all you need is a good education and a resilient attitude. The wages quoted above are the result of a survey and adequately reflect the average salaries for each position describe. As with any industry the more experience you have the more money you can make. Now you can tell your parents that "yes, in fact you can make a living playing video games."
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