Game Designer Salary Guide
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not maintain data regarding game designers.
Sources within the industry suggest there is a wide variance in salaries due to factors like geography, experience, and name-recognition of the employer.
Placement company surveys of game designers and writers found annual salaries of $35,000 to $75,000 during 1998 and 1999. Data that is more recent indicates that designers with fewer than three years of experience earn $46,000 annually, on average.
Someone with three to six years of experience designing games typically earns about $55,600 per year. Game designers with more than six years of experience earn nearly $70,000 on average. The O*Net career site reported a $77,010 annual median salary as of 2009.
Game Designer Job Description
Video game designers are responsible for designing the core rules and structure of sports, adventure, action, simulation, education, and strategy video games mead for computers, arcades, consoles, and the Internet.
They specify innovative role-play and game storylines, biographies for characters, and mechanics. Creation and maintenance of design documentation are their responsibility and collaboration and guidance of production staff is often necessary.
Game Designer Job Outlook
The public increasingly demands new and improved games, causing the video game design industry to be one of the fastest growing job markets within the country.
Though video gaming pulls in more than $7 billion in revenue each year, it is a niche industry so the number of jobs is relatively limited.
As of 2008, there were only about 209,000 people working in this career. The government and the professional, technical, and scientific services industries represented the top employing industries in 2008. There are expected be 72,600 job openings between 2008 and 2018 but only the most qualified game designers will find work on a consistent basis.
Game Designer Education & Training
Game designers must have highly developed skills and many employers prefer a background in computer graphics.
- Most game designers have earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science, art, or English.
- They must have a solid educational foundation in software design and computer programming.
- Written and verbal communication and persuasion skills are also very important. Game designers enhance their skills through liberal arts classes like creative writing, theatre, and English.
- Since they often lead the game development team, these individuals must also be good managers. Many designers begin as game programmers, producers, testers, or artists.
Related Occupations to Game Designer
Other development-related occupations within the video game industry include:
- Video game programmers
Programmers write the computer codebase that enables video games to operate.
Artists provide the look and feel of the game by creating the art and graphical treatments.
Animators create the player-controlled movements of the characters within the game, using computer graphics to generate animated images.