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Game Developer Salary Report 2005-2010


Overview Table of Contents Availability

Game Developer Salary Report 2005-1010Overview

Game Developer Research is pleased to announce the debut of its eighteenth report, the 'Game Developer Salary Report 2005-2010', a 110-page study collecting full salary, benefits, and bonuses comparisons for American, Canadian, and European game industry salaries in 2009.

“Developer Histories and Outlooks” (pg. 67) is a cross-section of what today’s developers think about the industry they power, where it’s been, and where it’s going. “The Indie Report” (pg. 98) is a snapshot of the indies and contractors who comprise a growing segment of the community. Finally, “Developer Comments” (pg. 104) is a roundup of notable observations made by respondents this year—long and short, good and bad.

The Game Developer Salary Survey was conducted in February 2010 for the calendar year January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009, with the assistance of Audience Insights. Email invitations were sent to Game Developer subscribers, Game Developer Conference attendees, and Gamasutra.com members asking them to participate in the annual survey.

We gathered 4,050 responses from developers worldwide, but not all who participated in the survey provided enough information to be included in the final data. We excluded salaries less than $10,000, salaries of students and educators, and records missing key demographic and classification data.

The survey primarily includes U.S. compensation but consolidated figures from Canada and Europe are included. The sample reflected in the data presented for the U.S. is 2,136, for Canada 440, and for Europe 749.

Our results can be projected to the U.S. game developer community with a margin of error of +/-3.1% at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error for Canada is +/-6.0%, and for Europe is 5.1%.

The full table of contents for the 'Game Developer Salary Report 2005-2010' is as follows:

Table Of Contents (back to top)


INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY 9


PROGRAMMING 10
Salary and Experience Comparisons 2005-2010 10
Overall Average Programmer Salary 10
Programmer and Engineer Salaries Per Years of Experience 11
Lead Programmer Salaries Per Years of Experience 11
Technical Director Salaries Per Years of Experience 12
Years of Experience in the Industry 12
Discipline Gender Comparisons 2005-2009 13
Additional Compensation and Benefit Comparison 14
Average Additional Compensation and Percentage Receiving Compensation 14
Types of Additional Compensation Offered 15
Types of Additional Benefit Offered 15
Salary by Year by Region Comparisons 2005-2009 16
Salary by Region 16

ART AND ANIMATION 17
Salary and Experience Comparisons 2005-2009 17
Overall Average Visual Arts Salary 18
Artist and Animator Salaries Per Years of Experience 18
Art Director Salaries Per Years of Experience 19
Lead Artist and Animator Salaries Per Years of Experience 19
Years of Experience in the Industry 20
Discipline Gender Comparisons 2005-2009 21
Additional Compensation and Benefit Comparison 22
Additional Average Compensation and Percentage Receiving Compensation 22
Types of Additional Compensation Offered 23
Types of Additional Benefit Offered 23
Salary by Year by Region Comparisons 2005-2009 24
Salary by Region 24

GAME DESIGN 25
Salary and Experience Comparisons 2005-2009 25
Overall Average Game Design Salary 25
Writer Salaries Per Years of Experience 26
Creative Director and Lead Designer Salaries Per Years of Experience 26
Game Designer Salaries Per Years of Experience 27
Years of Experience in the Industry 27
Discipline Gender Comparisons 2005-2009 28
Additional Compensation and Benefit Comparison 29
Average Additional Compensation and Percentage Receiving Compensation 29
Types of Additional Compensation Offered 30
Types of Additional Benefit Offered 30
Salary by Year by Region Comparisons 2005-2009 31
Salary by Region 31

PRODUCTION 32
Salary and Experience Comparisons 2005-2009 32
Overall Average Production Salary 32
Executive Producer Salaries Per Years of Experience 33
Associate/Assistant Producer Salaries Per Years of Experience 33
Producer/Project Lead Salaries Per Years of Experience 34
Years of Experience in the Industry 34
Discipline Gender Comparisons 2004-2009 35
Additional Compensation and Benefit Comparison 36
Average Additional Compensation and Percentage Receiving Compensation 36
Types of Additional Compensation Offered 37
Types of Additional Benefit Offered 37
Salary by Year by Region Comparisons 2005-2009 38
Salary by Region 38

QUALITY ASSURANCE 39
Sales and Experience Comparisons 2005-2009 39
Overall Average Quality Assurance Salary 39
QA Tester Salaries per Years of Experience 40
QA Lead Salaries Per Years of Experience 40
Years of Experience in the Industry 41
Discipline Gender Comparisons 2005-2009 42
Additional Benefit and Compensation Comparison 43
Average Additional Compensation and Percentage Receiving Compensation 43
Types of Additional Compensation Offered 44
Types of Additional Benefit Offered 44
Salary by Year by Region Comparisons 2005-2009 45
Salary by Region 45

AUDIO 46
Salary and Experience Comparisons 2005-2009 46
Overall Average Audio Salary 46
Sound Designer or Engineer Salaries Per Years of Experience 47
Composer/Musician Salaries Per Years of Experience 47
Audio Director Salaries Per Years of Experience 48
Years of Experience in the Industry 48
Discipline Gender Comparisons 49
Additional Compensation and Benefit Comparison 50
Average Additional Compensation and Percentage Receiving Compensation 50
Types of Additional Compensation Offered 51
Types of Additional Benefit Offered 51
Salary by Year by Region Comparisons 2005-2009 52
Salary by Region 52

BUSINESS & LEGAL 53
Salary and Experience Comparisons 2005-2009 53
Overall Average Business & Legal Salary 53
Marketing, PR, and Sales Salaries Per Years of Experience 54
Other Staff and Admin Salaries Per Years of Experience 54
Executive Manager and VP Salaries Per Years of Experience 55
Years of Experience in the Industry 55
Discipline Gender Comparisons 2005-2009 56
Additional Compensation and Benefit Comparison 57
Average Additional Compensation and Percentage Receiving Compensation 57
Types of Additional Compensation Offered 58
Types of Additional Benefit Offered 58
Salary by Year by Region Comparisons 2005-2009 59
Salary by Region 59

OVERALL 60
Gender Comparisons 2005-2009 60
Game Developers by Gender Across All Disciplines 61
Education and Salary Comparisons 2009 62
Average Salary by Education Level by Discipline 63
Highest Education Level Attained by Discipline 63
U.S. Age Comparisons 2009 64
Average U.S. Salary by Age 64
Average U.S. Salary by Age by Discipline 65
Percentage of 2009 U.S. Respondents by Age 65
U.S. Methods of Gaining Employment 66
Method of Gaining Employment in the U.S. 66
Developer Histories and Outlooks 67
Years Spent in Game Development 67
Developer Career Satisfaction 68
Developer Opinions of the Game Industry 68
Developer Perception of Industry Opportunity 69
Developer Perception of Industry Momentum 69
Hours Worked Per Week 70
Percentage of Developers Laid Off in 2009 71
Developer Career Moves After Being Laid Off in 2009 71

U.S. REGIONAL DATA 72
Respondents by U.S. State 2009 72
Top Five U.S. States by Average Salary 2005-2009 74
U.S. Regions by Salary Comparisons 2005-2009 75
U.S. Regions by Salary Comparisons 2005-2009 75
U.S. Regions by Salary 2005-2009 75
Average U.S. Salary by Region by Discipline 2005 76
Average U.S. Salary by Region by Discipline 2006 76
Average U.S. Salary by Region by Discipline 2007 76
Average U.S. Salary by Region by Discipline 2008 77
Average U.S. Salary by Region by Discipline 2009 77
U.S. Homeowner Comparisons 2005-2009 78
Average homeowner salaries by region 2005 78
Average homeowner salaries by region 2006 78
Average homeowner salaries by region 2007 78
Average homeowner salaries by region 2008 78
Average homeowner salaries by region 2009 78
U.S. respondents who are homeowners 2005 79
U.S. respondents who are homeowners 2006 79
U.S. respondents who are homeowners 2007 79
U.S. respondents who are homeowners 2008 79
U.S. respondents who are homeowners 2009 79
Top U.S. States by Percentage of Homeowners 2005 80
Top U.S. States by Percentage of Homeowners 2006 80
Top U.S. States by Percentage of Homeowners 2007 80
Top U.S. States by Percentage of Homeowners 2008 81
Top U.S. States by Percentage of Homeowners 2009 81

CANADIAN INDUSTRY DATA 82
Average Canadian Salaries 82
Average Canadian Salaries by Discipline 82
Average Canadian Programming Salaries 83
Average Canadian Visual Arts Salaries 83
Average Canadian Game Design Salaries 84
Average Canadian QA Salaries 84
Average Canadian Audio Salaries 85
Average Canadian Production Salaries 85
Average Canadian Business and Legal Salaries 86
Canadian Respondents by Province 2007-2009 87
Canadian Salaries by Age 88
Canadian Salaries by Age 88
Average Canadian Salary by Age 88
Average Canadian Salary by Age by Discipline 88
Canadian Methods of Gaining Employment 89

EUROPEAN INDUSTRY DATA 90
Average European Salaries 90
Average European Salaries by Discipline 90
Average European Programming Salaries 91
Average European Visual Arts Salaries 91
Average European Game Design Salaries 92
Average European QA Salaries 92
Average European Audio Salaries 93
Average European Production Salaries 93
Average European Business and Legal Salaries 94
European Respondents by Country 2005-2009 95
European Salaries by Age 96
Average European Salary by Age 96
Average European Salary by Age by Discipline 96
European Methods of Gaining Employment 97

THE INDIE REPORT 98
Independent Developer Categories 99
Independent Developer Job Classifications 99
Independent Developer Average Yearly Income 99
Independent Developer Job Functions 100
Percentage of Indies Involved in Specific Job Functions 101
Contractor Job Functions 101
Independent Developer History 102
Independent Developer Alternative Revenue Streams 103
Percentage of Indies Reporting Additional Revenue 103
Additional Revenue Ranges Reported 103

DEVELOPER COMMENTS 104
The Bad 104
The Saturation Point 104
One Man’s Downturn… 104
The Coming Tide 104
Regressive Hiring Practices 105
The Hollywood Trap 105
Jaded Youth 105
Volatile Times 106
The Good 107
A Great Year 107
Myriad Opportunities 107
Running Lean 107
Confidence in the Future 107
A Time of Transition 108
Indie Success Stories 108
Industry Lessons Learned 108
At the End of the Day… 108

BIBLIOGRAPHY 109

Availability (back to top)

The 'Game Developer Salary Report 2005-2010' is now available for paid digital download for a price of US $1,495. Any questions about payment, delivery methods, or further licensing of the data can be directed to Game Developer Research at research@gdmag.com.

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