Game Designer: Salary & Duties

Gina L | November 24, 2008

Game Designer JobsVideo games have come a long way since the likes of Pong and Frogger. Today’s game designer jobs require innovation, top-notch technical skills, and some of the sharpest, most creative minds around. To become a game designer, expect to spend a lot of time in the classroom learning the technical skills, working your way up via internships and entry-level design positions, and – the best part – playing lots of video games!

Duties of a game designer
With the tremendous growth of the video game industry and the number of game platforms, from various consoles to PCs, comes the need for talented game designers. Game design jobs entail taking a game concept and bringing it to life over the long life of its development. Depending on where you work and your level of skill, you may be responsible for just one design element (like one character, for instance), or have your hands in the entire process from concept to launch.

Where to find game designer jobs

While game designer jobs are expected to be abundant, gaming companies tend to be located in specific regional areas. According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), California leads the nation in employing computer and video game personnel, with approximately 40 percent of the nation’s gaming industry working in the state. Washington, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts round out the top five gaming employment hotspots.

Game design programs
When researching game design programs, expect to see coursework that includes programming, animation, game play design, game development, project management, and more. While you can pursue degrees ranging from certificate programs through to master’s degrees, to excel in the competitive field, extra schooling will give you an edge – consider it your cheat code.

Demand for game designer jobs
The software publishing industry overall is predicted to increase 32 percent through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with the ESA reporting that computer and video game companies posted record sales in 2007 with revenues of $9.5 billion, it’s safe to say that game designers have an opportunity to score big. Just how big will vary by experience, skill level, and employer, however, a survey conducted by Game Developer notes that video game designers earn a median annual salary of $73,000.

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