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~Tidus

Salary of a game developer

5 posts in this topic

Hi all, for a personal curiosity would like to know how much he earns a game developer (in America or Japan) and it is difficult for a foreigner get a job in this field

Thanks to all :D

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 It's very hard to break into game development jobs, however an entry level programmer in the US can start out at $40,000 + a year.

 I've seen job postings for senior programmers going for $250,000 + a year.

 

 If you develop your own games ( and they become popular ), there is a potential of making $ millions. Markus Persson ( Notch ) has earned over $237,000,000 USD from MineCraft so far. LINK

Edited by Shippou
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The salary survey is a good starting point. Note that salary is extremely location dependent, and that the salary a person earns is entirely up to negotiation.

The salary to someone in downtown San Francisco will be different from salaries in San Jose or Campbell or Vallejo or even Scaramento an hour or two away. A relatively short distance can double the salary.

It is also up to the individual. Many times I have seen similarly-talented individuals with dramatically different salaries. One person may have been hired when demand was low and the studio was simply staffing up generally. The second (with similar talents and skill sets) may have been hired when the studio was facing a specific need and was willing to pay a premium cost for specific skills. I have seen people negotiate significant salary differences, 50% or even 75% above their similarly-skilled and similarly-experienced peers, just because they were hired at a key time and had good negotiation skills.

The salary survey linked to above is very general and covers extremely wide regions. It is a very broad view and hides a lot of detail. The average salary in one area may be radically different from an average salary in a city a few hours away. The salaries inside a single studio can be radically different even for basically interchangeable developers. It is useful as a very general guide, but otherwise not so much.
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The other thing to keep in mind about the salary survey is that, although interesting, is not necessarily going to be indicative of what real salaries actually.  It is survey, not a statistically valid random sampling.  This means it's biased by people who are responding to the surveys, who generally have been in the industry longer. In addition, a couple outlying high reports will skew the results (eg a 250k/yr programmer or a 200k/year composer, etc.) As a result, it tends to be on the high side, which can set some unrealistic expectations.  

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