The Video Game Industry Booming! What are its Highest Salary Packages?

The Video Game Industry Booming! What are its Highest Salary Packages? | Technology | Emeritus

According to a 2022 World Economic Forum report, the gaming industry is tipped to maintain its rapid growth and could be worth $321 billion by 2026. The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the number of dedicated gamers to a staggering 48.3% in the U.S. alone. Moreover, the integration of TV shows and video games, like Tomb Raider and The Last of Us, has also raised the demand for high-quality video games. This has boosted video game designer salary packages and created several job opportunities. In this blog, we will talk about the different roles of game designers, their annual salary packages, and the factors that affect their career trajectory. 

Role of Video Game Designers

  1. Test specification: Designers evaluate and compare their scripts with other games within the same genre. They also research films, podcasts, and music to brainstorm innovative concepts. 
  2. Ideation: This stage moves beyond thinking about innovation and outlines a particular game design’s motives, goals, and tasks.
  3. Product planning: After the thematic concerns of the game are fulfilled, designers work to ensure its commercial success. This involves deciding on the difficulty levels, walk-overs, hints, and other aspects of gameplay.
  4. Content management: This entails writing the actual content of the game, such as character dialogues, narration dialogues, and descriptions of specific animations, among others.
  5. File management: Since game designing is a collaborative task, stringent file management is a central duty of a video game designer. Prototyping goals, managing timelines, and production schedules are some of the tasks in this domain.

Video Game Designer Requirements

While important skills need to be honed to bag a top video game designer salary package, there are no technical requirements to become one. However, companies usually look at the following criteria:

  • A bachelor’s degree in game design or computer science
  • Coding skills in Java, C, or C++
  • Basics of software development

ALSO READ: Game Design: Step Into a Fun, Exciting Career for the Future

Factors That Affect Game Designer Salary

Let’s look at the factors impacting video game designer salary packages in the U.S:

Education

Video game designer salaries vary according to the professional credentials of a candidate. According to Zippia, those without a high-school diploma earn up to $72,000 annually. Those with a bachelor’s degree in animation earn up to $96,000, while master’s and doctoral students can bag annual salaries of $120,000.

Skills

Another Zippia report mentions the following skills were found to be of the highest merit among game developers’ resumes in 2022:

Skill Demand (Percentage)
Motion Graphics 31
Video Content 30.3
Adobe Photoshop 10.3
Video Production 9.9
Animation 9.9
Game Design 4
Unity 3D 2.3

People with an appropriate mix of skills, such as experience in programming languages like C or C++, motion graphics, and video editing, and well-versed with game design engines, bag the highest salary packages that run up to $120,000 annually. Candidates with experience in visual design and simple animation will earn a little lower, between $90,000 to $100,000.

Industry

Different industries have varied demands for animators, visual artists, and game designers. According to Glassdoor.com, here are the respective video game designer salary packages across industries in the U.S:

Industry Average Annual Salary
Information Technology $76,163
Arts and Entertainment $70,639
Media and Communication $73,169
Education $67,454
Retail and Wholesale $70,639

Years of Experience

According to Career Explorer, here’s how a video game designer’s salary varies according to their experience in the gaming industry. 

Level Years of Experience Average Annual Salary 
Top-level > 10  $172,094
Senior-level 8 – 10 $126,773
Mid-level 4 – 8 $90,270
Junior 2 – 4 $64,278
Fresher 6 months to 2 years $47,350

Company Size

Larger companies have higher bandwidth and resources to handle more complex and extensive projects. A BuiltIn report segregates average salaries according to company size:  

Company Size (No. of people) Average Annual Salary 
1 – 10 $146,467
11 – 50 $107,333
51 – 200 $113,303
201 – 500 $122,526

Skills That Affect Game Developer Salaries

Motion Graphics

This skill is indispensable in the video game industry due to its innumerable applications, such as making promotional videos, explainer videos, or emotive videos with interactive animations.

Video Production and Editing

The ability to produce and edit videos is a regular demand in the industry to integrate game scripts and dialogues and make reference videos to incorporate into the game.

Photoshop and Design

Designing is another important skill to hone in the video game industry. From minute graphical elements to the overall look and feel of the gaming environment, the versatility of Photoshop is relevant everywhere.

Animation

Deep technical knowledge of software systems such as After Effects, Maya, Unity, Blender, and Cinema 4D prove immensely useful for quick employment.

User Interface (UI) Design

UI designers come with programming skills and a thorough understanding of the market. They produce easily navigable interfaces that enhance the gaming experience. 

ALSO READ: How to Become a Video Game Designer: Is it a Growing Industry?

Top Companies for Video Game Designers

According to a 2023 Indeed report, here are the top five companies with the highest video game designer salary portfolios: 

Company Hourly Rate Average Annual Salary  
ZAP Engineering & Constructions Services, Inc. $36.67 $77,447
Electronic Arts $24.06 $50,814
Aristocrat Technologies Inc $19.24 $40634.88
Game Truck $18.29 $38,628.48
Boeing $17.95 $37,910

Video game designing is a fascinating subject as it involves a little of everything. The graphical world is diverse and intriguing, from writing screenplays to producing intricate animations. Explore the different aspects of this subject with Emeritus’ latest courses on technology that are storehouses for anything and everything technical. 

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

video game designer salary

About the Author

Content Contributor, Emeritus
Siddhesh is a skilled and versatile content professional with 4+ years of experience in writing for the digital space and the screen. As a polyglot with a flair for many different languages, he specializes in creating engaging narratives. With a passion for storytelling and an unwavering commitment to excellence, he writes thought-provoking and persuasive blogs about careers in different fields. Siddhesh is a doting cat parent and has also graduated to becoming a musician after releasing his debut single on Spotify recently.
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