09 May

Ever wonder what they pay people to make your video games? Game Developer magazine has got you covered. A few weeks ago, the publication released the results of its annual Salary Survey results, which have painted an American video game development industry made up of less disparate income differentials than one may assume when listening to those receiving the pay checks.

According to the survey, self-described “independent developers” saw their income raise $6,000 0ver last year, for a total average of $26,780. The average developer working in the AAA leg of the industry saw a 7% yearly increase in income, up to $80,817. Non-entry level programmers added $5,000 to their paychecks, up to $85,733 (entry level positions saw a rare decrease in the salary – around $1,000). Artists and animators had a minor increase from $71,071 to $71,354, while low-level designers saw little to no movement getting to their average of $70,223.

Producers had a much better 2010 than 2009, as the field saw a $13,000 increase to an average salary of $88,544. A member of a game’s audio department pulled in around $68,088, although no major gains or losses were reported. To no surprise, the Quality Assurance and Business/Legal Management positions remain the lowest and highest paid, respectively. QA professionals raked in an average of $49,009 in 2010, up from $37,905 the year before. The executive class, on the other hand, reported an average take of $106,452, 85% of those surveyed say they also netted extra, supplementary income not reported within job confines.

Despite an average middle class of income, those surveyed had a much more bleak view of the games industry. Those in the AAA industry typically called the culture of downsizing and number-crunching we’ve seen in recent years “frustrating”, while indie developers called 2010 “the year of the Indie”, mostly due to new platforms and revenue streams.

How do these numbers effect your view of the industry today, E-Gs? Considering a career in the games industry more or less after having read these survey results? Be your own analyst in our comments section!