Average Salaries in Video Game Design (Mania.com)

By:Trisha Bartle
Date: -
Source: 2008 Game Developer Salary Survey


If you're thinking of starting a career in the video game industry, you may want to consider becoming a video game designer. Not only would you have a say in the playability of a game, but you would also make a fairly high average salary compared to other jobs in the industry.

What Does a Video Game Designer Do?

Video game designers have creative control of the game play aspects of video games. For instance, if they're designing a console role-playing game, they create the characters and storyline. Some game designers create the level maps as well. For fighting and action games, they make sure the level of difficulty is just right. A game that is too easy or too hard for players likely won't get good reviews. Essentially, the video game designer works on how the game actually plays and what the experience is for the person playing it.

Average Video Game Designer Salary

According to GamaSutra, game designers had an average salary of around $67,379 in 2008. This is the total average of game designers at all levels across the United States. This average is higher than what it has been in the past. For instance, $63,649 was the average salary of game designers in 2007.

Salaries Based on Experience

Not all game designer careers are equal. For instance, junior game designers will make far less than lead game designers. Entry-level junior game designers with only a few years of experience tend to make around $46,000 per year on average, says Animation Arena.

Salaries Based on Region

The average salary of a game designer is also affected by the region in which they work. Most game creation happens on the west coast and east coast, in addition to Texas and Illinois. The majority of the United States is consistent with the average salary listed above, although this isn't the case on the west coast, especially in California. Game designers in this region tend to make about 12 percent more than average, according to GamaSutra.

Other Video Game Careers

Different careers in the industry make different average salaries. Quality assurance is one of the lowest paying areas of video game development. This is because of a large turnover rate and a low amount of education needed for the job. QA workers make about $40,000 on average, says GamaSutra. Video game programmers make the most of any game career at about $85,000 on average, says GamaSutra.