The REAL Salary of a Game Developer in 2023

Written By John Sonmez

Making a living creating games. That’s the ultimate dream, right?

But it’s also a challenging job that can come with frustrations and long hours worked. And it’s a competitive field, because many young people have the goal of a career in Game Development.

Are Game Developers compensated well enough in light of these facts, then?

The quick answer is:

Game development, on average, does not pay as well as many other Software Engineering jobs.

Top-end developers do make over six figures a year, but as a Junior Game Developer, you might have to start at around $60k annualy.

Let’s have a detailed look at what salary you can expect.

Game Developer salary in numbers

According to, the average base salary of a Game Developer in the US is $73,427 as of 2023. This comes out to an average hourly rate of ~$37.

The average salary of Game Developers

The low end

10% of Game Developers are earning the low of $57,000 per year – or $19/hour.

The high end

The top 10% of Game Devs take home the high of $131,000 per year – or $70/hour.

Profit shares and bonuses

Some game development companies are paying bonuses and profit shares to their developers. These vary widely from $2,000 to $70,000 per year and are dependent on the company’s release schedule, individual performance, and product success. A survey by Game Developer Magazine found average additional compensation to come out at $26,872.

By experience

  • According to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), as a first- or second-year Game Developer, you can expect to make a salary of $57,000 on average. 
  • With over 6 years of experience, on the other hand, you can expect an average annual compensation of $70,000.

By location

According to, game developer salaries by US state are as follows:

  • Arizona: $69,295
  • California: $87,684
  • Idaho: $65,326
  • Massachusetts: $59,808
  • Montana: $62,820
  • Nevada: $71,305
  • New York: $82,423
  • Oregon: $73,080
  • Washington: $77,401

Comparing game developer salaries with other fields

Game Developer: $74,000

Software Engineer: $125,000

Software Tester: $55,000

Cloud Engineer: $133,000

Blockchain Developer: $145,000

Video Game Artist $69,000