How Much Do Game Developers Make?

how much do game developers make

One of this century’s biggest trends is video games’ massive popularity. From the original days of games like Atari Pong, we have seen enormous growth in the gaming industry. Younger generations are growing up with gaming as their primary hobby and social hub. There are even new career paths emerging with professional teams and streamers. Gaming is bigger than ever before. And it only continues to grow in popularity. As such, gaming has become an extremely lucrative and high-demand industry. This means there has never been a better time to look into game development. It may surprise you just how much game developers make.

So, how much money do game developers make? What does it mean to be a game developer? How can I become a game developer? What are some of the top game development companies currently?

In this article, we will try to answer all of these questions and more. Here is a complete breakdown of how much game developers make.

How Much Money Do Game Developers Make?

Game development is an undeniably lucrative career option at this point. When researching it is tough to get an exact estimate of the median salary. According to builtin.com, the average salary of a game developer in the US is just over $114,000. With additional cash consideration and bonuses, the number jumps to around $127,000 per year.

Depending on which database you evaluate, you will generally get slightly different estimations. According to Zippia, the average annual earnings are approximately $91,000. When checking ZipRecruiter the average is estimated to be at just over $101,000 per year. Despite the slight differences in estimated salary, every game-developing job has an entry-level salary of at least $60,000. This means that you can make good money as a game developer from the start, and you will have ample opportunity to increase your earnings as you build experience. No matter which way you spin it, game developers make very sound annual salaries.

What Does It Mean to Be a Game Developer?

To put it simply, game developers are in charge of making video games. The reality of the situation is that game development is a very complex and nuanced profession. Game developers are responsible for a wide array of features that make up all of your favorite video games.

Game development consists of story and world-building for the game, coding and programming the software, visual and sound design, mechanic implementation, user experience, updates and maintenance, and much more. It sounds like a lot because it is a lot. Game developers are challenged to be both technically and artistically gifted as they design a game that has elements of both skill sets. It is part of what makes the industry so lucrative. 

Game developers usually work in large teams. This helps break down the many different parts that go into a successful video game into more manageable and approachable sections. There are instances in which games are developed by small groups or even individuals, these are known as ‘indie games’, or independent games.

How Can I Become a Game Developer?

The best step to take in pursuing a career as a game developer is to learn software programming. Most colleges and universities offer education tracks in coding and programming by this point. Some of the top institutions for software development are Stanford, Texas, and the University of California – Berkeley. However, you don’t need to attend a high-end university to get an effective education. Most programs across the nation have very valuable and detailed courses to help develop your skills with software.

If attending a university to study isn’t something in the realm of possibility, that’s okay. There are plenty of online resources and courses that can help you teach yourself how to code and program software. After you learn how to do the work then you just need to find a way into an entry-level position and continue to build your portfolio from there.

What Are Some of the Top Game Development Companies Currently?

  • Nintendo 

    One of the top gaming companies of all time. Nintendo is responsible for classics like the Super Mario franchise, Pokemon, Sonic, and much more. The company continues to be a top name in the industry.

  • Ubisoft

    The 4th largest company in the US and Europe, Ubisoft is a titan in the game development industry. Popular titles from Ubisoft include games like Assasin’s Creed and Rainbow Six.

  • Blizzard

    Despite some recent controversy, Blizzard is still a top name in the gaming industry. Named one of Fortune’s Top 100 companies to work for, Blizzard has produced popular titles like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.

  • Electronic Arts

    Commonly known as EA, they are the top name in sports gaming with games like FIFA, Madden, and NHL. Along with these sports games they have also published major game franchises like Battlefield.

Conclusion: How Much Do Game Developers Make?

In summary, game development is an extremely lucrative and rapidly growing industry. After learning how to code and program software, entry-level game developers can expect to make at least $60,000 right away. Once a portfolio has been built the opportunity for increased pay arises as the average median salary is somewhere between $90,000 and $120,000 in the United States. There are many massive names in the game development industry that potential developers can consider, or they can work to develop their own ‘indie’ titles. With the massive success of the gaming industry, the time to get into game development is now.

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