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Game Developer Salary in the US

If you're an aspiring game developer, you might wonder how much game developers make at top companies. Game developers are responsible for building gaming applications and translating game designs into functional code. Game developers develop virtual gaming environments for PC games, Console games, and mobile gaming applications.

The average entry-level game developer salary is $81,803 per year, making it one of the world's highest-paying entry-level software developer jobs. The average game developer salary for senior and lead developers stands at $127,778 and $131,464 per year. Game developers often enjoy stimulating and exciting careers at top companies, making game development a highly sought-after job.

In this article, we'll answer the question - how much do game developers make. We'll look at the average game developer salary across companies and roles to give you an idea of how much you can make as a video game developer. 

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Let's go ahead and look at how much game developers make. We'll look at the average game developer salary in the United States. We'll also look at the roles and responsibilities of game developers, qualifications and skills needed to become a game developer, and some FAQs on game developer salaries in the United States.

Here's what we'll discuss in this piece:

  • What Does a Game Developer Do? 
  • Qualifications and Skills Needed to Become a Game Developer
  • Average Game Developer Salary in the US
  • Game Developer Salary at Top Companies
  • FAQs on Game Developer Salary

What Does a Game Developer Do?

Game developer salaries are high because of the wide-ranging responsibilities that the role entails. Game developers are fundamentally responsible for building virtual game environments by translating game design into functional code. Their main responsibilities include:

  • Develop games for PC, mobile, and consoles by employing popular game engines
  • Bring game design into reality by converting the design into workable code
  • Liaising with game design teams to develop game concepts 
  • Creating game characters and various levels as applicable to the game
  • Creating game prototypes by specifying key features and attributes of characters and levels
  • Integrating game engine technologies to develop advanced game features
  • Regularly checking for bugs in games and fixing them

Qualifications and Skills Needed to Become A Game Developer

In order to become a game developer and draw a lucrative game developer salary, you're required to meet the minimum educational qualification and skill requirements. Let's look at the qualifications and skills required to become a game developer.  

  • A professional degree in computer science, IT, or a related field
  • Working knowledge of game engines
  • Working knowledge of 3D graphics and feature optimization
  • Working knowledge of C++, Java, or an Object-Oriented Programming Language
  • Working knowledge of building libraries and APIs
  • Knowing the process of converting a design into code

Average Game Developer Salary in The US

The average game developer salary in the United States is $72,866 per year. Salaries offered to game developers also include a cash bonus component in the range between $756 and $75,614.

In this section, we'll look at how much game developers make. We'll look at the average game developer salary for entry-level, senior, lead, and principal engineer positions. Let's go ahead and take a look.

Position
Average Game Developer Salary
Game Developer
$72,866
Senior Game Developer
$131,588
Lead Game Developer
$139,494
Principal Game Developer
$188,654

(Source - Glassdoor.com)

As is visible from the table, game developers are offered lucrative salaries in the US, making it one of the highest-paying developer jobs. The demand for game developers has also seen a significant increase in recent years.

Average Video Game Developer Salary by State

The average game developer salary in specific states can vary based on parameters including the cost of living, how much companies in the state are willing to pay, and the impact purview of those companies. 

This section will give you an overview of the average game developer salary in top states of the US. 

State
Average Video Game Developer Salary
California
$113,669
Oregon
$101,456
Washington
$106,018
Massachusetts
$98,788
Montana
$90,611
Idaho
$90,799
Nevada
$109,539
District of Columbia
$98,224
Arizona
$94,894

Game Developer Salary at Top Gaming Companies

You might be wondering how much video game developers make at top gaming companies. As such, different companies are known to offer different salaries to game developers. In this section, we’ll look at the average game developer salary at top gaming companies in the US.

This list tells you how much video game developers make at Rockstar Games, Amazon, EA, Game Show Network, and Heavy Iron Studios. 

Company Name
Game Developer Salary (Per Annum)
Rockstar Games
$107,631
Tynker
$64,440
Heavy Iron Studios
$74,469
Electronic Arts
$146,925
Game Show Network
$133,653

(Source - Glassdoor.com)

The above list of companies is amongst the most popular companies for game developers in the United States. As is visible from the list, Electronic Arts offers the highest salaries to video game developers, at $146,925.

How Much Do Game Programmers Make at FAANG+ Companies

FAANG+ companies are also known to offer high salaries for game developers. To give you an idea of how much game programmers make at FAANG+ companies, we’ve included the average game developer salary at Google, Facebook and some other companies.

Video Game Developer Salary in Google

The average Google Game Designer Salary is $202,040 per year. This includes a base pay of $133,807 and an additional pay average of $68,233. 

Game Designer Salary in Facebook

The average game programmer salary at Facebook is $156,789. This includes a base pay of $145,547 and an additional pay average of $22,463. 

Game Developer Salary in Microsoft

Being one of the top companies in the world, aspiring game developers might wonder how much do game designers or game programmers at Microsoft make. Well, the average game designer salary at Microsoft is $133,765. This includes a base pay average of $125,572 and an additional pay average of $38,634. 

Game Developer Salary in Apple

Apple employs game developers and video game programmers to build game applications for Macs, iPhones and iPads. The average video game programmer salary at Apple is $184,351 per year. This includes a base pay average of $131,521 per year and an additional pay average of $52,320. 

Game Designer Salary in Amazon

The average game designer salary at Amazon is $169,795 per year. This includes a base pay of $121,047 and an additional pay average of $48,747. 

FAQs on Game Developer Salary

Q1. What is the average game developer salary in the United States?

The average game developer salary in the United States is $81,803 per year. 

Q2. What are some additional benefits offered to game developers apart from the game developer salary?

Some additional benefits offered to game developers aside from their annual game developer salary include - dental, health, vision, and accidental insurance, paternity and maternity benefits, wellness benefits, Health Savings Accounts, paid vacations, transportation benefits, and 401k. 

Q3. How much does a Lead Game Developer make in the US?

The average salary of lead game developers in the US is $131,464 per year. 

Q4. What is the average salary offered to senior game developers in the US?

The average salary offered to senior game developers in the US is $127,778.

Q5. Which are some companies known to pay the highest salaries to game developers?

Some companies that offer the highest salaries to game developers are - Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts, Roblox, Game Show Studios, and Heavy Iron Network.

Q6. How much do video game designers make in California?

The average video game designer salary in California is $113,669 per year.

Q7. How much do video game designers make in Google?

The average game designer salary in Google is $173,220 per year.

Q8. How much do video game developers make in Los Angeles?

The average game developer salary in Los Angeles is $81,772 per year.

Q9. How much do video game designers make on an hourly basis in the USA?

According to indeed.com, the video game designer hourly salary is $22-$25 per hour. 

Gear Up for Your Next Game Developer Interview

Are you getting ready for your upcoming game developer interview? Register for our technical interview webinar.

At Interview Kickstart, we’ve trained over 10,000 engineers to land lucrative offers at the biggest tech companies. Our instructors, who are FAANG hiring managers, know what it takes to nail tough tech interviews at top technology companies.

Register for our FREE webinar to learn more.


Salary
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021
Author

Dipen Dadhaniya

Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart

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