there does seem to be a lower average salary for programmers in the game industry when compared with business programmers from equal positions of experience and education. If that is the case, why would anyone want to work for less money doing the same job?
A very interesting, and yet, disappointing question revolves me around by many friends, friends of friends, and strangers – “Why would I work in a Game Industry when IT companies are paying me better?“.
Before even starting this article, I would like to highlight the fact that Game Industry doesn’t consists of only Programmers and Testers. Artists create assets and they themselves are unavoidable and priceless assets.
And then, there are many more people who are deeply associated to the game industry – Musicians, Production team, FX team, Design (not limited to UI) team, and QA people, and many more. So, speaking exclusively about programmers in context of the question about Game Industry will be somewhat biased, partial and incomplete. However, for the sake of specific discussion, I assume that this question was asked by a group of people belonging to Mainstream Programming in IT industry and thinking about Game Industry as an alternative.
So, coming back to the question – why work in a game industry when IT companies pay better?
- If you really are passionate about making things what you and others enjoy playing, you wouldn’t ask this question at first point. If you are okay earning money through what-so-ever way, you may want to reconsider reading this blog further
:P. IMHO, companies in Game Industries won’t hire you if you have just played a couple of games and think, “it’ll be cool to work there”.
- You must play at-least that much that it compels you to think, “How did they make that s***” or “I wish someday I will grab a game title in a local game store that has my code written on it“. If you are even getting close to what I am trying to say, then my friend, you would NEVER EVER ask this question.
- Another way of looking at this could be - It depends on how much you are ready to commit to yourself about making games. High pays are not always the best rewards you can get out of your work. Indie Game developers keep making games no matter what. They fail a hundred times. Sometimes the art is not good enough, sometimes, the gameplay sucks, or sometimes, some crazy a$$ guy decides to leave the team in middle and flies off. But, the next day, the guys get up and start coding again!
- And, if you end up in big gates like EA, Activision, Criterion Studios, UbiSoft, Zynga, etc, the pay is way cooler than other software engineering disciplines.
- Oh and lastly, you may start with small pay, grow gradually, and end up having a lavish salary and the joy in your heart of entertaining others.
Marc Mencer says, ” there does seem to be a lower average salary for programmers in the game industry when compared with business programmers from equal positions of experience and education. If that is the case, why would anyone want to work for less money doing the same job?
The truth of the matter is that, while the skill of programming may be the same or similar, the jobs are completely different. On a game project, you have a good time working on a piece of entertainment. You also have more liberal hours and you don’t have to wear a suit to work. The bottom line is to imagine whether you would want to work on a project writing drivers for printers or on a project making the next Doom.”
That explains it all why you should work in Game Industry rather than anything else even if IT Companies pay better.
Still thinking why work in Game Industry when IT Companies pay better??
Having said that, people working in Game Industry often go through tough times as well. Sometimes 17 hours a day. I’ve read somewhere about a wife writing a blog against EA how the manager of a certain EA studio almost ruined the life of her Husband by making him work day and night. Some companies even go bankrupt before even publishing a single game. Still, why work there? – Read again from atop!
I myself belong to IT background, but, my heart is, and will always be with core game development. This is my view to clarify on what people think, misinterpret and misunderstand about the payment and comfort in Game Industry. At the end of the day, if you have no complaints over your job, consider yourself Lucky!