How Much Money Can You Make In The Video Game Industry?

Everybody wants a job in the video game industry, but which job? The 2009 Game Developer Salary Survey can help you decide, breaking down pay by industry discipline, and making McWhertor's beloved The Tester seem even sillier than it already was.

Looking over this year's report, which we briefly touched on last month, the best job in the game industry is one from last year, seeing as the overall average salary has dropped to $75,573 from last year's $79,000. That having been said, many of those higher paid individuals from last year no longer have jobs, or have been rehired at a lower rate by other companies, so odds are you would have wound up right in line with this year's numbers anyway.


If you've been watching McWhertor's hard-hitting coverage of Sony's PlayStation Network reality show The Tester, then you'll know that recently eleven people from varying walks of life competed for the chance to get a job as a quality assurance tester with Sony Computer Entertainment America, one of the most thankless jobs in the business. It's also the lowest paying job in the business, with an average salary of $37,905, though those that survive for six years or more enjoy close to double that.

And what would you think are the highest paying jobs? Programmers? Producers? No! It's all about the business and marketing side of things, with the combined group averaging $96,408 a year. Breaking it down further, executives average $129,167, while those in the PR side of the spectrum average $83,804 - though I suspect someone is putting a positive spin on their salary.

The technical disciplines break down like so:

Programming: $80,320
Art and Animation: $71,071
Game Design: 69,266 ($61,859 not counting creative directors and design leads)
Production: $75,082
Audio: $82,085
Video Game Blogger: Free Chips and Drink with Sandwich Purchase


I'd say that if I were ever to leave the glamorous world of blogging, I'd probably hightail it into PR, mainly because I enjoy buying people drinks and being able to expense it.

How about you folks? Which sort of game industry job do you have or want? Would you trade your job for a chance to spend all day taking naps and eating coffee cake?


Oh, and those interested in the full survey can head over to and purchase it for $1,495.

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