What is the average starting salary for video game developers?

What is the average starting salary for video game developers?


Video game development is a highly competitive and rewarding field, with developers earning an average salary of around $80,000 per year in the United States. However, for those just starting out in the industry, knowing what to expect when it comes to compensation can be challenging. In this guide, we will explore the various factors that influence the average starting salary for video game developers and provide insights into what you can do to increase your earning potential.

Factors Affecting Starting Salary:

  1. Experience: One of the most significant factors affecting a developer’s starting salary is their level of experience. Developers with more experience are often paid higher salaries, as they bring more value to the table and have a better understanding of the job requirements. For example, a senior game designer may earn an average salary of $100,000 or more, while a junior game developer may start at around $60,000.
  2. Skill Set: The specific skills that you possess as a developer can also influence your starting salary. Programming languages such as C++ and Python are highly sought after in the industry, as they allow developers to create complex games and simulations. Knowledge of game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine is also essential for success in the field.
  3. Location: The location where you work can also impact your starting salary. Developers working in major tech hubs such as San Francisco and New York may earn higher salaries due to the high cost of living and intense competition among companies. In contrast, developers working in smaller cities or rural areas may receive lower salaries, but they may have a better quality of life and more affordable housing options.

How to Increase Your Earning Potential:

  1. Build a Strong Portfolio: Developing a strong portfolio of your work is essential for showcasing your skills and attracting potential employers. Include projects that demonstrate your ability to create engaging games, solve complex programming challenges, and work collaboratively with other team members.

    How to Increase Your Earning Potential

  2. Network: Building relationships within the gaming community can help you land higher-paying jobs and gain valuable insights into the industry. Attend game development conferences and meetups, join online forums and communities, and connect with other developers on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn.
  3. Continue Learning: The gaming industry is constantly evolving, and staying up to date with new technologies and trends is critical for success. Consider pursuing additional education or certifications in game development, programming, or related fields to enhance your skill set and increase your earning potential.


The average starting salary for video game developers varies widely depending on factors such as experience, skill set, and location. However, by building a strong portfolio, networking within the industry, and continuously learning, you can position yourself for success and increase your earning potential. With dedication and hard work, you can achieve a fulfilling career in game development while also making a comfortable living.