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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 13, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Study: Game developer salaries fall, to $76K

Average salaries of video game developers fell with the industry’s downturn last year, according to a new survey that estimates their average pay declined 4 percent in 2009 to $75,573.

That follows a record high of $79,000 that U.S. developers made on average in 2008.

The stats come from the ninth annual salary survey by Game Developer Research, which is affiliated with Game Developer magazine and Gamasutra.com. It’s based on 4,050 responses and has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

For perspective, the Seattle area’s game industry employs more than 15,000 people, according to a regional study done in 2007. It said wages are higher than average in the Seattle area and averaged $77,700 at the time.

Here are more 2009 salary averages from today’s Game Developer release:

Programmers: $80,320 (although those with six years’ experience made 36 percent more).

Artists and animators: $71,071, up 2 percent.

Game designers: $69,266, up 3 percent.

Writers: $61,786.

Game design, excluding leads and creative directors: $61,859.

Production: $75,082. (Survey also found 18 percent of workers in this category are women, double the industry average.)

Testers/QA: $37,905 (although average salary more than doubles for those with more than six years of experience).

Comments | More in | Topics: game developer jobs, Games & entertainment, salaries

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