Working on video games can be extremely rewarding, but like any other profession or passion, it comes with its challenges. As part of Gamasutra's 2014 Game Developer Salary Survey, we asked respondents an open question: "Do you have anything to say about the game industry in 2013?" Answers indicated that game developers are well-aware of the challenges that the industry poses: long work hours, job instability, shifting business models, the fact that good games are hard to make, and cultural issues such as sexism. But underneath these worries, there is an undercurrent of enthusiasm that revolves not around salary, but around loving games, and creating games. That's why people stick with this profession. This is just a small sample of the many responses we received. Make sure to check out the full Salary Survey results here [PDF], as well as the report's highlights on Gamasutra's dedicated Game Developer Salary Survey page.
SALARY"[The industry] needs to consider actually paying employees a wage that competes with other industries, as well as overtime." "I've left the games industry due to low pay and long hours." "It's harder than ever to make a living, as clients expect to pay less for their games." "Pay is still terrible, and based on the attitude of, 'There are plenty of people who want your job.'" "Pay with larger companies seems to be going up again, finally!" "We need unions. Employees remain under-represented and underpaid."
BALANCE"Work-life balance has never been worse for production teams. It's especially bad for 3D and engine programmers (the actual people that ship the game at the end)."
"It's imperative that companies... [be] flexible if employees need to be there for our families." "The future is bright. Worklife balance has improved dramatically; sales are in constant growth; digital distribution and a prolific indie scene democratize development even while triple-A budgets continue to grow." "The games industry has still a lot of learning to do when it comes to treating employees as creative humans: crunch time destroys the work-life balance and in the end kills creativity."
"It's imperative that companies... [be] flexible if employees need to be there for our families."
DIVERSITY"The industry needs more diversity...and a worldwide workforce from all backgrounds." "Diversity of audiences is still largely not reflected in game content." "I've been very pleased with the issues of diversity in games finally being shouted from the mountaintops. #1ReasontoBe really empowered me this year." "The games industry is a truly vibrant and diverse place. ... That said, there are some very close-minded people. The games industry, and gaming in general, doesn't need that." "The industry is definitely becoming more accepting of women, which is awesome and speaks towards a bright future of diverse and interesting games I think." "Still way too few women in the biz."
AAA"The lowering of barriers... makes me super excited for what new cool things will come out of the industry. It also makes it a little scary for corporate gaming companies, for which I am currently employed." "There are seemingly less opportunities in triple-A development right now but lowend, indie and mobile seem to be picking up the slack."
"2013 seemed like one of the worst years for company closures of traditional, 'big box,' triple-A studios....We have to perform like rockstars but are definitely not getting paid for it." "Triple-A can kill the passion of people. We have to take care of how we work big projects." "Triple-A is not the future for us grunts. We are losing authorship as these games grow larger, and we suffer the most when they fail." "Despite knowing how unlikely it is, I would love the focus to shift back to triple-A."
"We have to perform like rockstars but are definitely not getting paid for it."
INDIES"For me, it is hard to earn income as an indie." "Being an indie developer has never been more challenging due to the sheer volume of indie developers trying to gain the attention of the same consumer audience." "More indie development opportunities are available than ever before!" "The game industry is a great yet scary place for indies right now. There have never been more opportunities to get involved, but there has also never been more competition." "Large studios are not nimble enough for today's industry. That said, it's never been more difficult for an indie to get recognized. More competition, more requirements, more initial investment. This should be interesting." "Indie is king. Down with AAA. lol jk jk."
SO HAPPY"It is still an amazing thing to see a product that so many people are excited about come together over the products life time! With so many great games coming out these days, the game industry is a great place to be!" "The expansion of the games industry into regions such as India, China and Brazil is exciting."
"Beyond the traditional next-gen console shift, mobile platforms have changed everything, making the games business a whole new world of opportunity. Love it!" "2013 brought about changes in our industry, in terms of business and cultural diversity. With these main changes, and subsequent subtle changes, the games industry was, and will continue to be a fantastic industry to work in." "I absolutely love the games industry and cannot see myself working for any other industry."
"I absolutely love the games industry."