SAN FRANCISCO - April 2, 2012 - UBM TechWeb Game Network's Game Developer magazine today announced the results of its 11th Annual Video Game Industry Salary Survey, with a full report on 2011 salaries available in the April issue of Game Developer magazine, available to subscribers in digital and print formats this week.
Results showed that the average U.S. salary across the games industry in 2011 was $81,192, virtually flat from the previous year, which saw an overall average of $80,817. The U.S. Business/Legal disciplines garnered the highest average salaries ($102,160) and Quality Assurance Testers earned the lowest average amount ($47,910).
Conducted in February 2012 for the fiscal year January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011, Game Developer magazine gathered over 4,000 responses from game industry professionals worldwide with the help of market feedback firm Audience Insights.
"Game developers this year showed the stability of the industry in the U.S., and the shaky promise of development in the U.K., as salaries fell almost across the board there,” noted Brandon Sheffield, editor-in-chief of Game Developer magazine. “Most interestingly, we noted that while indies make far less money than traditional salaried developers, they tend to be happier - and their income is growing rapidly as well. Do all these things spell a change for the industry? They may very well be. But above all, we just hope people can continue to be happy and successful in this industry we all love!"
Key results from the survey:
- Average salary across the game industry is $81,192 in 2011, up just $375 from 2010
- Individual indies make an average of $23,549, more than double 2010's $11,379. Indie teams made an average of $38,239, up $11,459 from 2010. Independent contractors averaged $56,282, up $800 from 2010
- Per discipline average salaries (from 1,742 total usable U.S.-based responses):
- Business/Legal - $102,160
- Programmers - $92,962
- Producers - $85,687
- Audio - $83,182
- Artists and Animators - $75,780
- Designers/writers - $73,386
- Developers are more optimistic: 65% said they felt "satisfied" or "extremely satisfied" with their potential career path (up 4% over last year), 34% believed there were more jobs in the industry than before (up 5%), and 54% felt there were more opportunities for developers than before (up 7%)
- European salary averages fell across the board, with the exception of producers' salaries, which increased $3,500 over last year. Canadian developers were paid better than European developers in every discipline by anywhere from 30% more to 100% more.
For the full results read the April issue of Game Developer magazine, available in both print and digital editions.
Now in its eleventh year, the Game Developer Video Game Industry Salary Survey was conducted in February 2012 for the fiscal year January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011 with the assistance of Audience Insights. Email invitations were sent to Game Developer subscribers, Game Developers Conference attendees, and Gamasutra.com members asking them to participate in the survey.
We gathered 4,132 responses from developers worldwide but not all who participated in the survey provided enough compensation information to be included in the final report. We also excluded salaries of less than $10,000 and the salaries of students and educators. The small number of reported salaries greater than $202,500 were excluded to prevent them from unnaturally skewing the averages. We also excluded records that were missing key demographic and classification numbers.
The survey primarily includes U.S. compensation but consolidated figures from Canada and Europe (both continental and U.K.) were included separately. The usable sample reflected among salaried employees in the U.S. was 1,742, for Canada 403, and for Europe 339; and 524 for indies and independent contractors who provided compensation information worldwide.
The sample represented in our salary survey can be projected to the U.S. game developer community with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4% at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error for salaried employees in Canada is plus or minus 5%, and is 5.4% for Europe.
About the UBM TechWeb Game Network
A core provider of essential information to the professional game industry, the UBM TechWeb Game Network offers market-defining content, and drives community through its award winning lineup of print, online, event and research products and services. These include the Game Developers Conference®, the Webby Award-winning Gamasutra.com and network of sites, the Game Advertising Online ad network, the Game Developers Conference® Online, the Game Developers Conference™ Europe, the Game Developers Conference™ China, Game Developer Magazine, the Game Career Seminars and GameCareerGuide.com, the Independent Games Festival and Summit, and the Game Developers Choice Awards. Visit www.jointhegamenetwork.com
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