2009 Game Developer Salary Reveals Average Income of $75,573

Game Developer Research, the analysis arm of leading videogame industry publications Game Developer magazine and Gamasutra, has released the results of its ninth annual Game Developer Salary Survey, calculating an average American mainstream videogame industry salary in 2009 of $75,573, a decline of more than 4% from 2008's figure of $79,000.

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ClownBelt3109d ago

That's in the middle salary range. It's not actually bad.

blitz06233109d ago

Actually, most are under that range. From what I know the most common or average salary would be around 30-40k so that's pretty impressive.

ClownBelt3109d ago

Yeah I would think so too. I guess the devs who are in the spotlight get this kind of salary.

silvacrest3109d ago

not bad tbh, i would be happy with that

-MD-3109d ago (Edited 3109d ago )

I wonder how much Jaffe makes, he's said previously he's not rich at all but he lives in a nice neighborhood and has a nice house.

Cliffy B probably makes 5 times this if he's driving around in a lambo.


If I decided to get into game developing, it personally wouldn't be for the money, but for the love of gaming and defining it as an art form...

Cysquatch3109d ago

For what developers go through, 75k is peanuts. And if you live in the bay area, 75K is tough to live on especially if you're married. Now if you're solo and live in a studio, its "okay". Yea, yea its for the "love of the industry". That's easy to say from you're mom's basement. Struggling with a family, not so much.

iFLOWLIKEWATER3109d ago (Edited 3109d ago )

I guess that was a jab at my statement. I still find it hard to believe people are making a living creating video games, and even more crazier, people making a living playing video games. The industry has definitely exploded...

FragGen3109d ago (Edited 3109d ago )

So much for the archetype of the poor, underpaid, developer everyone cries about when talking about game prices, piracy, etc.

It's time people realize most of the rising fees and costs they're paying for stuff are being applied to Bobby Kotick's yacht payments rather than to finally raising some poor dev's salary above slave wages.

ABizzel13109d ago

The average is more like 30 - 40k like blitz (1.1) said. This is more of an average salary for lead developers.

Enate3109d ago

The Lambo belongs to the owner of epic not Cliffy he just let him drive it. Though after the gears serious has taken off like it has he could probably have one of his own no sweat.

The Lazy One3109d ago

The 75k average is not for leads. The average is weighted more towards the bottom end as there are more developers at the bottom end. If anyone cares to read they break it down by position too.

30-40k is just not livable in half the cities where most video game companies are located. When you consider most companies are located in cities that have the highest cost of living in the country, it's not as high as it looks.

Fanb0y3109d ago

This is really not high...

especially considering the high cost of living where most game studios are.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 3109d ago
CharlesDCI3109d ago

I know. Its actually damn good lol

Milky3109d ago

woah thats a nice salary right there.

neogeo3109d ago

too many hours for 75k not worth it for 100hrs per week

BannedForNineYears3109d ago

Not if you're doing what you love. :|

FragGen3109d ago

That's ironic, I wouldn't be a car salesman for a million dollars a year. But that's why I went to college, I guess.

Cysquatch3109d ago

If you all "love the industry" so much, get into sales or marketing. That make just as much if not more. You "lovers" blinded by a salary more than $12/hr are exactly who Bobby Kotick is looking for.


If life is that rough for you, you should have thought about your income before having kids...just a thought.

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iceman29293109d ago (Edited 3109d ago )

It makes sense, if the average person works 40 odd hours a week and earns 35k then these guys should be making ~70k + as they work anywhere between 80-100 hours per week.

Furthermore, if I was gonna spend this much time working, i'd rather be an investment banker and then eventually put my dollars into producing new games :P That way I could eventually be involved in the game making process and get a better $/hr rate.

Anon19743109d ago

I worked for just about a decade in the brokerage industry and I hated it but kept saying "The money's good. I've got a baby on the way and the money's good. I can do this."

When I was laid off from my firm last year it was the best thing that happened to me. I had the opportunity to go back to school and now I'm just finishing my first year of game design. It's so cool to me that even half way through I'm already able to design and code old school 2d type platformers like what I grew up. I couldn't be happier.

My research also found averages of about 70-75k with programmers making a bit higher (that's where I'm focusing my efforts).

From experience, I'd rather make less money and love what I do then make more money and have to drag my ass into work everyday. I'm more use to my family with less money but happy than I am rich and miserable.

PshycoNinja3109d ago

What school do you go to? I am also going to school to become a game programmer because I love programing (and like you I heard that programers make more money :p)

Anon19743109d ago (Edited 3109d ago )

They had a Computer System Tech course that, at the start of this year because Digital Media and Tech. It's a two year course but you can now specialize within the course everything from Application programmer to Game developer or Programmer. Right now we've just finished doing 2D platformers using C# and the XNA studio, we've got an entire course on manipulating the Unreal Engine, Game Fundamentals which is a theory course, Database using SQL, 3D using Maya, and then I'm picking up some business courses to round things out. Next semester, more XNA, more 3d and unreal, a course on programming physics, character design and story boarding.

Apparently Bioware has been bugging NAIT for years to develop some talent locally so they sat down and said, "Well, what do you want us to teach them?" It's hard to get programmers and design people to move up to Edmonton because the cost of living is so much less, they don't pay as much which can certainly turn people off when considering the move. Of course, this is just what I've heard through the grapevine.

When I'm finished I'll apply for Bioware or look at moving the family out to Vancouver. By that time the worst of the recession should be over and I could probably go back to the brokerage industry if I needed to in the meantime, but I'm a geek. It's always wanted to go into game development but never really had a chance. My only concern is my age breaking into this industry. Still, I'll be a strong enough programmer after all this that I shouldn't need to every go back to the brokerage industry. I don't even like walking into the bank anymore. :)

commodore643108d ago

@ darkride66

I am sorry you lost your job in the economic downturn and I applaud your decision to pursue your programming passion.
I had not realised that you were made redundant.

Hope it works out for you.

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