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4/15/2008
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Game Developers' Salaries Rising, Survey Finds

Game Developer magazine's annual survey found the average game industry salary in 2007 was $73,300, with programmers topping the pay scale.

Game developers earned more on average last year than they did the previous year, according to survey results released this week.

Game Developer magazine announced findings of its seventh annual Game Developer Salary Survey. It found that the average game industry salary was $73,600 in the United States last year, up from $73,316 in 2006. Programmers earn the most on an average, with annual salaries of $83,383. They are also among the most highly educated group, with 50% having bachelor's degrees and about 26% having completed some graduate courses.

However, those in marketing and business often earn more than developers, according to the survey, which reported average salaries of $101,848 in that category. They also receive the most bonuses. Still, salaries vary greatly according to job titles in business and marketing. Experienced executives earned the most among all of the respondents, with $132,305 average salaries for those with more than six years of experience.

Respondents who work in production earn an average salary of $78,716 and production departments reported that women make up 18% of their workforce.

Sound designers earned $73,409 on average and 40% of those in the game audio industry have been working for the same employer for six years or more. In comparison, 36% of respondents in game design and 51% of respondents in production have worked for their current employers for six years or more.

Artists and animation experts' average salaries were $66,594 and 66% of artists responding held a bachelor's degree. The percentage of artists with at least six years of experience rose to 40%, up 5% from last year.

Design positions drew an average salary of $63,649, and new writers earned an average of $51,731. Community managers, surveyed for the first time this year, earned $50,294 on average.

The survey found quality assurance workers to be the lowest paid in game development, earning an average of $39,063. Most had less than three years of experience. They also received the least bonuses, but those with more than six years of experience earned $70,658 on average, the survey found.

More detailed findings are available online.

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