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Indie developers earned much more in 2011

U.S. independent game developers working by themselves or in teams earned a lot more money last year, according to Game Developer's 2011 Game Industry Salary Survey.
U.S. independent game developers working by themselves or in teams earned a lot more money last year, according to Game Developer's 2011 Game Industry Salary Survey. While salaries remained virtually flat for the mainstream U.S. game industry last year, individual indie developers more than doubled their average earning from $11,379 in 2010 to $23,549 in 2011. Members of independent developer teams also made significantly more in 2011, bringing in an average of $38,239, compared to $26,780 in the previous year. Independent contractors averaged $56,282 in 2011 (up $800 from 2010). Those numbers might not look great to a senior developer accustomed to triple-A salaries, but if you're tired of working on sequels or just looking to break in the industry, there are more avenues available for you than ever before. Their games made more money last year, too -- 48 percent of independent developers made less than $500 from the sale of their game, down from 55 percent in 2010. 16 percent of independent developers made over $60,000 from the sale of their game in 2011, compared to 8 percent in 2010. Despite independent developers making more money in 2011, the indie industry appears to be consolidating somewhat. Compared to 2010, fewer developers said they went into indie development after getting laid off, and more indie developers are working in teams rather than going solo. More information on the survey is available in the April 2012 issue of Game Developer magazine, and worldwide paper-based subscriptions to Game Developer magazine are currently available at the official magazine website. The Game Developer Digital version of the issue is available for iPad now, and will be available to purchase online later this week.

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