Game Developer Salary: Get In The Game!

game developer salaryWho doesn’t love games?  Whether it is a computer, console, or mobile phone game, adults and children alike enjoy entering these fictional worlds that they can become a part of.  So who is responsible for this fun and interactive types of entertainment?  That would be a game developer.  Although it might seem like working with games all day long is a lot of fun, game developing is a complex art.  There are many technical and programming sides to excelling in the game development industry, and thus, a game developer salary will be strong.

If you are interested in becoming a game developer, you are probably interested in a game developer’s salary. Let’s take a look at the expected game developer salary and what the job entails!

Get the basics in game development here.

Game Developer Titles

There are many different titles when you look into various game developer jobs.  For instance, there are: graphics programmer, server programmer, client programmer, technical directors, developers, engineers, or programmers.  Although there are many different titles and names for game developers, all of their salaries are generally around the same.

Game Developer Average Salary

A game developer or programmer can expect to make around $40,000 each year when they first enter the programming field.  However, their salary can look to grow upwards to $120,000 a year once they become a senior programmer, or take on such positions as a programmer lead.

Although this is the average, there are still other factors that come into play when determining a game developer’s salary.  Let’s take a look at a game developer’s salary based on years of experience.

Salary Based on Years of Experience

Game Programmer or Engineer:

1 to 2 years of experience: $72,000

3 to 6 years of experience: $80,000

6 + years of experience: $107,000

Lead or Senior Game Programmer or Engineer:

3 to 6 years of experience: $94,000

6+ years of experience: $112,000

Technical Director:

6+ years of experience: $125,000

As you can see, game developer’s usually start out as a game programmer or engineer and once the hit their third or sixth year, have the potential to move up to a lead developer or a technical director.

Interested but think developing games is too complex? Try this tutorial on game development made easy.

Salary Based on Job Title

Now, let’s take a look at a game developer’s salary based on their job title.

Game Programmer or Engineer: A game developer or programmer is general an entry-level position.  They can also be referred to as programmers or analysts.  Individuals in this position usually word on coding systems while still learning the ropes of game development.

Lowest Earnings: $38,000

Highest Earnings: $100,000

Senior Programmer or Lead Programmer:  A senior or lead programmer will be able to manage or lead a small team of other game developers.  With more responsibility, they will be able to receive more pay.  Eventually, senior programmers will be able to create new technology with their group of programmers.

Lowest Earnings: $67,000

Highest Earnings: $135,000

Technical Director:  A technical director does what its title says: they direct.  Generally they end up directing a team of programmers that is working on a program or technology for the studio or company that they are employed with.  In some cases, a technical direction will be responsible for managing and overseeing an entire programming department.

Lowest Earnings: $96,000

Highest Earning: $250,000

Other Salary Factors

Keep in mind that there are other factors as well that will affect an individual’s salary as a game developer.  Here are some of them:

  • Company size:  Usually larger companies will have a larger budget, which will allow them to take on larger projects and pay their employees more.
  • Educational background:  Before the internet blew up, there were a lot of self-taught programmers.  However, these days most programmer job descriptions that you see will require that you have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science, or a related field from an accredited college or university.
  • Specific Positions:  There are certain specifications for different game developer positions in programming.  For instance, server programmers can be paid as high as $126,000 per year, while mobile programmers earn a yearly salary of around $70,000.

How to Become A Game Developer

gamedevelopersalaryIf these figures look enticing to you, and you are wondering what steps you need to take to become a game developer, we have them here for you!

  1. Play video games:  Play the types of games that you are going to develop.  This may seem like all play and no work, but what you really want to do is look out for things in games that make it good, and the things that do not connect players in the ways that you would hope.  Develop your own opinions about what you like and dislike.
  2. Be innovative:  The development process takes a lot of creativity, so you are going to want to develop a game that will help you leave an impression on gamers in the industry.  Practice being creative, because if you end up making a game that is just like everyone elses, it is less likely that people will be interested in playing what you have to offer.
  3. Stay organized:  There are a lot of little details that go into game development, so you will need to make sure that you stay organized and map everything out before you get started.  Outline the steps you need to take and go through them accordingly.
  4. Know math and programming:  To be a good developer, you are going to need to know some basic and advanced math and programming skills to help you write scripts for your game.  You can learn these skills while in school, in online courses, or by teaching yourself.
  5. Pay attention to detail:  The overall process of developing your game is going to take awhile because you will need to pay attention to the overall scope of the game as well as the minor details.  Even though you might not think the little things count, they do.  At the end of the process, the little details will reflect the overall quality of the game and how everything is connected.

Start Gaming!

Now that you know the skills you need to become a game developer and earn the maximum amount of salary available to you, you can get on the road to game development!  To maximize your salary, enroll in one of the many courses online at that will help you perfect and optimize the skills needed in your field.