Posts Tagged ‘game developer’

2009 survey reveals 4% drop in average game developer salary

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Game Developer Research, the folks in cahoots with Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra have recently released their ninth annual Game Developer Salary survey. The survey found an overall decrease in the average game dev salary of 4% when compared to the same figures from 2008. The average game developer took home approx. $79,000 in 2008, while 2008 saw that salary slip to $75,573.

logogdresearchKeep in mind, 2008 was a banner year for game developers, as they set an industry average record that year, not something to easily top. This drop in salaries is the first case on record of a significant average salary decrease. Game Developer Research points to a loss in consumer confidence, and attributes this to the current economic climate. And while this is a drop in average salaries, the number did not dip below 2007’s number, indicating that this may be a direct result of out of control Wall Street bankers making crazy bets on commodities failing.

Game Developer Research also took a look at today’s independent or smaller game developers, with results to be released soon.

Some industry highlights from the report:

  • Game programmers have an average salary of $80,320. The survey found that programmers with more than six years of experience in their field earned, on average, 36 percent more than the average 2009 annual salary.
  • Art & Animation folks made out better than average in 2009. They saw an average increase in salary, up 2 percent to $71,071.
  • Game Designers also saw a slight increase in salary in 2009. Up 3 percent, the average salary for game designers came in at just over $60k with $61,859. This discipline also includes writers, who earn on average $61,786.
  • Production folks earned on average $75, 082. The survey also found that this area of games is also the most female friendly, with 18 percent of game producers being female. While this figure is down from last years, it’s still almost twice the industry average. Production people also tend to be the most experienced in the industry, with almost half (49 percent) having 6+ years of gaming involvement.
  • QA testers tend to have the fewest years of experience under their belt, with nearly half having less than three years. Therefore, these people tend to be the least paid in the industry, with an average salary of $37,905. However, in contrast, if these people stick around for six or more years, the survey found that this salary more than doubles.
  • Sound Designers and composers are generally the most experienced people in the industry, and are thus compensated for it. While they earned on average $82,085, the survey also found that this segment of the industry is also opening up to new talent, with those with less than three years of experience rose to a new high of 38 percent. Balancing this out, those with more than six years of industry experience dropped significantly, currently holding at 33 percent.
  • And now for the big winners: Business and Marketing. On average, these folks took home $96,408. This figure even includes a 6 percent drop from last years’ numbers. The survey also found that these individuals are the most likely to receive additional compensation. And while this number might be quite lofty, there’s still a wide range of salaries even within this microcosm, as marketing and PR employees averaged $83,804, executives, $129,167.

The full report, “Game Developers Salary Survey” includes more detailed U.S. regional and growth data for year-over-year results from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, plus international information from Canada and Europe. This report, and others, are now available from the Game Developer Research division.


Moshi Monsters tops 15 million players – FusionFall goes free-to-play

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Moshi Goes Big

383567-aUK based, children’s free-to-play game developers Mind Candy has recently announced that they’ve passed the 15 million registered players landmark with their hit Moshi Monsters. The game, aimed at the children’s market allows players to adopt their own digital monster to play mini-games, solve educational puzzles, customize their homes, and explore the in-game world.

Players can choose from one of six unique monsters that they may then customize and nurture. Once satisfied with their custom creation, players navigate the virtual world by solving puzzles that are designed to increase the player’s skills in basic math, spatial awareness, logic, and vocabulary. As a reward for solving said puzzles, players receive Rox, Moshi Monsters’ in-game currency that can be used to purchase accessories used to customize their pets’ home.

“The ongoing global growth and success of the game has amazed us,” said Michael Acton Smith, CEO of Mind Candy. “Moshi Monsters has been adding over 150k new players a day and is now one of the fastest growing children’s games in the world.”

To commemorate this landmark even, Mind Candy will be hosting a “15 Million Monster Party” at the London Aquarium. Dubbed a “Green Carpet” event, Mind Candy is inviting hundred of the game’s most loyal players to the event.

Fusion free-to-play Fall

fusionfall-300x226Lanuched in January of 2009, Cartoon Networks’ FusionFall is based on the idea of bringing content from multiple Cartoon Network shows (Adventure Time with Finn & Jake, Generator Rex, Symbionic Titan, etc…) all under one virtual roof, and accessible via a monthly subscription.

Whether that business model is working or not, the head honchos at Cartoon Networks have decided that the free-to-play model works better for them. As noted by Virtual Worlds News, post April 19th, FusionFall will go strictly free-to-play. Those that had paid subscription time past the April 19th deadline are expected to receive a refund. As a final adieu to the subscription fee, paying members will receive a steampunk inspired exclusive armor kit.

No word yet on how or if Cartoon Network will choose to monetize the new free-to-play property. They may go the microtransactions route, charging for individual virtual goods to be used within the game. However, they might simply opt for the advertising supported route, and use the platform mainly as a marketing and promotional tool for their television based properties.


Nival Online and Gala Networks Europe to launch Allods Online – Autumn 2009

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Known as Rage of Mages in Europe and North America, Russian developers Nival Online and Europe’s go to free-to-play publisher Gala Networks are proud to announce that they’re making Allods Online available via the gaming portal.  Allods Online is an MMORPG based on Russia’s most successful gaming series.

allodsWith purse strings in the $12m range, this new title marks the largest budget title in Russian game development in history.  The Nival Online time has recently received the ‘Best Online Game’ and ‘Best Game Developer’ awards at the 2008 Russian Game Development Conference.

This f2p brings European MMO fans into a unique universe of epic fantasy and intense conflict woven into a deep and well-developed storyline.  The setting of this “Fantasy meets Space Opera” struggle takes place on the post-apocalypse planet of Sarnout, and the subsequent formation of the Allod islands.  These islands float in the Astral, a massive living substance that up the game world.  Gameplay takes place on these Allods, where players explore and battle monsters, beasts, and even each other.  Players will also have the opportunity to put their wits and brawn to the test with larger than life Astral Battles, those that occur between various ‘Astral Ships’ manned by multiple players, focusing on cooperative teamwork to achieve victory.

Staying true to the genre, Allods Online features fantasy MMORPG play, with numerous quests, PVP combat, massive exploration opportunities, character development, and plenty o’ social interaction with other players.  Players may choose between six races and eight character classes before having to decide on their faction: The League or The Empire.

“We have spiced up a full-blown fantasy MMORPG with the most compelling elements of space opera and science fiction, with epic battles between huge Astral ships,” said Sergey Orlovskiy, founder of Nival Online. “At the same time, we are keeping a deep focus on characters. Allods Online is not about Astral ships, but about the people on them.”

“We are excited to work with Nival Online who has proved their mastery of PC and online games for over a decade” said Hyun Hur, CEO of Gala Networks Europe. “We are confident that Allods Online will have a major impact on the overall online games industry and demonstrates that top quality games can be free, giving players a strong alternative to subscription-based MMORPGs.”

Mark those calendars now, as Allods Online comes online in autumn 2009, and will be available in German, French, and English via the gaming portal.  Keep up to date at:


Gaming gets even bigger in Cologne GDC 2009

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Hang on to your hats folks, as the ‘Showdown in Cologne’ is headed your way this summer.  If the GDC (Game Developers Conference) wasn’t already decorated with enough pixels to make your eyeballs fall right out of your head – this year seeks to outdo even the best of the best!

Think Services (a division of United Business Media) will be presenting this coming years’ GDC in Cologne, Germany in conjunction with gamescom, the hottest game related ticket in Europe when it comes to consumers, publishers, and trade folks.  Global Games Media, an event management firm specializing in marketing and business development for the international interactive entertainment industry, will now be working with Think Services.

GGM CEO Frank Sliwka, formerly Leipziger Messe (home of the 2008 GDC) international and national advisor and conference director will be on board with Think Services as VP of European Business Development and Event Director, GDC Europe.  Silwka brings years of game industry conference and event management experience to the table and will lead the GDC Europe this coming August 17-29, 2009 in Cologne Germany.

“We are thrilled to present GDC Europe during gamescom,” Kathy Schoback, Executive Vice President, Global Events, Think Services, said. “A world class game developer event belongs at the premier European game industry event. With the support of Koelnmesse, BIU (the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software), and the City of Cologne, Europe’s most significant games gathering will definitely be a great success, and we couldn’t be more excited to have Frank Sliwka bring his deep experience to helping deliver GDC Europe.”

“We are pleased to welcome the European development community to GDC Europe during gamescom,” noted Oliver P. Kuhrt, Executive Vice President of Koelnmesse GmbH. “The team in charge of GDC Europe, Think Services and Frank Sliwka, are professionals who are renowned for organizing internationally respected developer events and who have deep industry experience, strong networking connections, and know how.”

After having attended last year’s GDC on Leipzig I can honestly say, this is THE games event in Europe, and to have Silwka on board, as well as presenting together with gamescon is enough to put this one right outta the park.  From hundreds of displays and test-drives to great sit downs, dinners, and wild afterhours parties (sponsored by Nokia – did I ever say thanks for the vodka?)  with developers, publishers, and industry peeps, the European GDC is an outstanding conference not to be missed.  Slapping gamescon on top of all this is like the pat of butter on those freshly cooked flapjacks on a cold January morning!

Details about this coming Augusts’ games smorgasbord in Köln are still sparse at the moment, but keep your radar tuned to for updates.  Given the scale of this event and the already involved participants, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a surprise of two heading our way in the coming months.

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Mobile Games Market value expected to double by 2013

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

A recent report published by Juniper Research predicts that the mobile gaming market is expected to reach revenues of more than $10BN by 2013.  One of the key factors driving the prediction?   Apple’s iPhone.  The iPhone has single handedly driven mobile gaming publishers and developers into frenzy to get their games to market ASAP.  The consequence?  Paid-for mobile game downloads have more or less flatlined across North American and Western Europe.

At the same time, it’s not all roses for mobile gaming developers.  The potential for growth is being damped by a combination of limited on-portal revenue shares for publishers and poor games marketing.  The resulting outcome is a mass exodus from the mobile gaming industry.

Dr. Windsor Holden comments, “The revenue share offered by Apple to games publishers is incredibly attractive. The danger is that if operators do not respond with a similar business model, publishers faced with low margins may simply exit Java completely, thereby reducing consumer choice in the longer term.”

A suggestion?  What about a monetization toolkit for mobile games developers that could dramatically shorten their time to market AND help fund continued development?

Juniper’s report also found that ad-funded downloadable content has increased in popularity, BUT the revenue generated from this advertising is most likely insufficient to provide developers or operators with a primary revenue stream (read: why bother?).  Given the current state of financial affairs, CPM rates are falling through the floor, thereby making ad-supported games less and less attractive to developers.  Again, see suggestion above.

But fear not mobile game developer, for all is not lost.  Juniper does see room for growth and profitability in the Indian Sub Continent, Africa/Middle East and South America.  Increased mobile use and low levels of console gaming systems combined with fixed (landline?) Internet have been a driving factor in making mobile phones the gaming platform of choice.

Other significant findings in the Juniper report include:

  • China and the Far East will remain the largest regional market for mobile games throughout the period covered by the report.
  • Global revenues from in-game advertising will rise significantly from 2008 to 2013.
  • Operators need to reduce data charges further for out of bundle customers to encourage casual mobile Internet usage and thereby stimulate the mobile entertainment market

Further details and the study are freely available at Juniper Research.

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