The editors of Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine have revealed the results of its 2006 Salary Survey, calculating an average American game industry salary of $73,316, slightly down on 2005's figure of $75,039.
The core data from the 2006 survey is now available in the April 2007 issue of Game Developer magazine, being delivered to subscribers in the near future, and including information on all of the major job functions, with all the free-to-subscriber information that has been available in previous years.
According to the new survey, conducted in association with Audience Insights, the average salary in 2006 over all American game programmers was $80,886 - basically flat on the year before, thanks to an influx of entry level coders to the game business, but with significant increases for veteran programmers.
The 2006 average for artists was $65,107, again basically flat on 2005, though average salaries of experienced lead artists and animators rose the most. The game designers' average was $61,538, with salaries scaling within a $5,000 range over the last 3 years over all experience levels.
In other categories, production personnel in America had an average salary of $77,131 in 2006, Q/A's average decreased to $37,861, the average audio employee was paid $69,935, and business & legal personnel came out on top with an average $95,596 salary last year.
As for the regional variations for the survey, which polled 5,600 readers of Game Developer magazine and Gamasutra.com and attendees of Game Developers Conference, California had the top worldwide average salary for game professionals in 2006, followed by Washington, Oregon, and Georgia, with Texas rounding out the top 5.
In addition, the magazine's editors have added much more detail to this year's survey as part of a newly formed Game Developer Research division, set up by veteran writers to study the game industry in unprecedented detail, releasing an in-depth 'Game Developer Salary Report: 2004-2006' report.
This pay-to-download 75-page document, which is especially suitable for HR, business, and government professionals, includes much additionally researched information, centering on a full trend comparison for American, Canadian, and European salaries over all three years, showing how and why developer pay is changing over time.
It also adds exclusive information regional salary information (California salaries compared to Texas over all job types, for example) - plus a full run-down of the ways that staff were recruited (word of mouth vs. recruiters vs. job ads) for each job type, as well as many other specifics not analyzed in the core report.