Game development is an ever-growing industry, which has attracted gamers and developers from all over the world. However, when starting out on the career path, one of the obvious questions is how much money will this make me? The next concern is usually around how competitive is the market? This is especially true for freelancers and those who want to start small companies.
While it might be a little idealistic to state that you will pursue a career regardless of the salary, most individuals have to take their wages into consideration before embarking on their career. Knowing both the current salary of your country, as well as the competition, you will be more apt to develop marketing strategies for your game as well as target countries that offer a higher financial return.
Game Developer Wages in the United States
In the United States a professional game designer is said (according to online sources such as Monster.com) to make between $39,000 and $120,000 per year. Now, it is estimated that the average American spends $3000 per month on living expenses and leisure, which is equivalent to $36,000 a year in individual spending.
If you are aiming for a higher starting salary, it is well advised that you should have at least an Associate’s degree but preferably a bachelors or Master’s degree in a field associated with game design, such as game development or computer technologies.
Freelancers should price their game development contracts in a manner which will manage a medium overall salary at the end of the year. You want to stay competitive, but yet you also have to eat.
Game Development in Canada
Some of the industry leading games have been developed out of Canada and as such, this has drawn the attention of many game developers. The yearly salary for a game developer in Canada is between $43,000 CAD and $90,000 CAD. With the current exchange rate, the salary equals about $38,000-$80,000 US dollars.
While the yearly salary is a bit lower than the United States, there does seem to be a few more opportunities for the game developers interested in perfecting their craft. One has to weigh the options when choosing whether or not to seek a salary based game development career and Canada.
UK Game Development Salary
It may surprise you to learn that game developers within the UK do not receive the highest salary. The margin is between 22,000 to 41,000 pounds. In comparison to the US dollar this is an upper limit around $80,000. Once again, you need to consider that the market is substantially larger in countries such as the UK and India.
Salary Based on Experience and Position
One of the key factors in determining your salary as a game developer is the role that you will play throughout the development of the game. If at this point you believe that you will create the whole game by yourself, then you can more than likely categorize yourself as a novice.
A season game developer will understand that the game design incorporates many different people with many different talents. Generally speaking, there are three main categories with in the game development realm.
These three are:
- Individuals who focus on the artistry and animation of the game such as the lead artist, tech artists, and the art director.
- Those involved in the technical aspect of game development.
- Game development art directors.
You are only as Good as Your Skill Set
Apart from your experience and position in the company, your professionalism and skill set determine a large portion of your annual salary. The more diverse your skills, the more likely you are to be perceived as an asset to the company; however, make sure that you do not fall under the category of being a jack of all trades and a master of none. It is always a good idea to have a specialty so that you are the “go to” man or woman in at least one aspect of game development.
While there is a lot that goes into any given salary handed out to a game developer including geography, skill-set, experience, position, etc., this is a field that continues to expand. If you have an interest in the design and development of games then now is the time to perfect your skills and seize your dream jo