Some interesting statistics from UBM TechWeb Game Network’s Game Developer magazine suggest that though the games industry is getting far more profitable for indies, it’s still a risky career decision.
The 11th annual Game Industry Salary Survey for salaries through 2011 found that individual indies make an average of just $US23,549, which is more than double 2010’s $11,379, but still not exactly a Scrooge McDuck situation. Indie teams made an average of $38,239, up $11,459 from 2010.
This is far, far less than the average USA salary across the games industry in 2011, which was $81,192. Breaking things down further; Business/ Legal were the highest earners, with an average salary of $102,160.
This was followed by:
Programmers – $92,962
Producers – $85,687
Audio – $83,182
Artists and Animators – $75,780
Designers/writers – $73,386
QA testers – $47,910
This was a pretty comprehensive report with 4,132 responses from developers worldwide. Not all who participated in the survey provided enough compensation information to be included in the final report, but it’s a good snapshot of the industry nonetheless.
Of course a lot of indies are startup or hobbiest companies and therefore lower wages are to be expected as they establish themselves, but it’s a good wake up call that not everyone who thinks they have a great idea will make it in this industry of ours.