The Salary of a Career Video Game Designer

Video game designers develop and create the content of computer and game system games.
Video game designers develop and create the content of computer and game system games. (Image: black video games controler or games pad image by Warren Millar from

Video game designers work with a team of artists, programmers and business professionals to design and develop video games for game systems and computers. The professional or career game designer works in a billion-dollar industry. The average salary for a video game designer is between $41,774 and $70,676 as of December 2010, according to PayScale.

Job Duties

Video game designers work with professionals to develop the concept, the characters, plots and game play in video games. Game designers lead a group of gaming professionals to develop all aspects of a video game. The lead designer may present a concept to the group and work with a team of programmers to write the game. Game designers must be skilled programmers as well as artists and have knowledge of the latest technology in game design.


The salary of a game designer increases with experience. According to PayScale, video game designers with between 10 and 19 years of experience earn average salaries between $69,493 and $85,534, while those with less than a year as a designer earn between $39,550 and $59,495 as of 2010.

Geographic Location

The salary of a video game designer can vary according to geographic location. The cost of living and demand for video game designers are two factors that determine the salary a professional will earn in this field over the course of a career. For example, video game designers in California earn high salaries between $47,370 and $73,334 and those in Massachusetts earn between $39,493 and $80,261. California ranks as the state with the greatest concentration of video game jobs, according to Site Selection Online, with Massachusetts ranking fifth. The cost of living is 12 percent higher, however, in Boston when compared to Los Angeles, according to Sperling’s.


Software development companies offer benefits packages to attract talented and skilled professionals to work in video game design. The benefits offered to video game designers include 401(k) plans, paid time off, flexible schedules and insurance. A benefits package adds value to the position of a game designer.

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