How Much Do Game Designers Get Paid

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Video game designers make between $42,000 and $70,000 per year.
Video game designers make between $42,000 and $70,000 per year. (Image: Video Game Gear image by Alhazm Salemi from Fotolia.com)

For many, the idea of working as a video game designer seems like a dream come true. Whether interested in artistic design, storyline development or code programming, video games designers are able to share their passions while creating some of today's most popular games. If the appeal of being surrounded by video games every day is not enough, salaries for the position can also be a significant reward.

National Averages

From a PayScale report detailing the compensation of 276 games designers, average salaries range from $41,970 to $70,607. These totals include not only base salary, but also bonus pay and profit sharing income, both of which vary between around $1,000 and $5,000 per year. PayScale's data for game designers is accurate as of December 2010.

Experience

The video game industry develops and changes quickly, so remaining in the career of a designer for multiple years allows one to build a solid skill base while staying on top of the latest changes in technology. PayScale shows that while top average salaries for designers with one to four years of experience are around $60,000, the figure increases to $75,527 for those with five to nine years of experience. After working for 10 to 19 years as a designer, top salaries grow to $85,534.

Location

While California may be considered the most prominent hub of video game creation in America, PayScale reports that Massachusetts actually has the highest average salaries for its designers. Top annual pay in that state reaches $80,261. In California, monetary compensation ranges from $46,815 to $73,129 per year. Texas, New York and Illinois each have top average salaries above $65,000.

Benefits

Non-monetary benefits are not included in the salary totals outlined above. According to PayScale's research, 83 percent of game designers receive some level of medical insurance from their employer. Dental insurance is given to 67 percent and 58 percent receive vision insurance.

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