A job in video games might not be a virtual dream

Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:53am EDT
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By John Gaudiosi

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) - If your dream job is to work in the video game industry then the future is looking brighter with industry players seeing a pick-up in the number of jobs becoming available although salaries remain flat.

"Hiring is up from last year, but the market is rough," said Marc Mencher, president of Gamerecruiters.com.

"Unfortunately, we have roughly 12,000 unemployed in the North American game segment. But with strong growth in the casual MMO (massively multiplayer online) and social games segment, we do see a pick-up in hiring."

Salaries, however, are yet to follow upwards as the industry starts to recover after video game sales fell 8 percent in the United States last year amid the global financial crisis.

Game Developer Research's ninth annual Game Developer Salary Survey found the average American mainstream videogame industry salary in 2009 was $75,573, which was a decline of more than 4 percent from 2008's figure of $79,000.

"Overall, game salaries have risen 24 percent from an average of $60,833 in 2001, the first year we began studying developers' salaries," said Chris Remo, the co-director of Game Developer Research and Editor-at-Large at Gamasutra.com.

"For the most part since then, salaries have either risen or remained flat on a year-on-year basis, with the only exceptions being this past year, and a 1 percent decline from 2005 to 2006."

After a record game industry average salary in 2008, this past year saw the first case on record of a significant average salary decrease as consumer confidence suffered in the midst of a recession and employers looked to cut costs where possible.   Continued...

<p>Four men work video game controllers during the Sony E3 2009 press briefing in Los Angeles, June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>