How Much Game Companies Pay

Whilst the games industry is difficult to get a proper perspective on when it comes to how much game companies pay their employees, due to the secrecy involved and the all-out ban on discussing pay that you get in many companies, it is possible to get some information on how much they pay. We can take at how much their salaried employees make, and contractors where they do not own, so we can compare some of the biggest gaming companies in the US. Whilst these are not necessarily representative of the industry as a whole, due to the fact they are the biggest and highest-earning companies, it can still be interesting to see them and compare.

If you want a breakdown of what each department does and how you can get involved, check out our Making Games series.

But first, a disclaimer. This information is gained through which is a self-reporting site. This means that all the wage information has been supplied by the users of the site. Whilst these should mostly be accurate they can be skewed a bit and it’s important to understand why. Generally, people that are being underpaid and are unhappy, or those that are being highly paid and happy, are more likely to report their pay, rather than the average user.

Another issue is that if very few people report on a particular role, the data can be quite limited and sometimes cause some unrealistic results, so if pay seems overly high or low for a role it could be because of this. It also might have no information on a role depending on if no one has reported it or they don’t have anyone hired in that role. There can also be misrepresentative information if, for example, a studio may only hire seniors and leads as salaried employees and use outsourcers or temp employees to fill in the low roles, making the average pay look much higher.

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard Pay By DepartmentHighest and Lowest Total Pay (Including Bonuses)
Producer$82,000 – $226,000
Director$117,000 – $157,000
Editor$45,000 – $94,000
Artist$45,000 – $140,000
Designer$31,000 – $181,000
Animator$79,000 – $385,000
Programmer$48,000 – $137,000


EA Pay By DepartmentHighest and Lowest Total Pay (Including Bonuses)
Producer$75,000 – $279,000
Director$183,000 – $437,000
Editor$52,000 – $122,000
Artist$52,000 – $142,000
Designer$57,000 – $169,000
Animator$58,000 – $157,000
Programmer$53,000 – $219,000
Tester$31,000 – $193,000

Nintendo Of America

Nintendo Of America Pay By Department Highest and Lowest Total Pay (Including Bonuses)
Producer$112,000 – $197,000
Director$240,000 – $260,000
Editor$16/hr – $18/hr
Artist$85,000 – $93,000
Designer$86,000 – $111,000
Animator$93,000 – $102,000
Programmer$77,000 – $169,000
Tester$12/hr – $21/hr

Sony / Playstation

Sony / Playstation Pay By Department Highest and Lowest Total Pay (Including Bonuses)
Producer$44,000 – $145,000
Director$153,000 – $257,000
Editor$71,000 – $148,000
Artist$63,000 – $167,000
Designer$48,000 – $217,000
Animator$100,000 – $145,000
Programmer$94,000 – $327,000
Tester$107,000 – $145,000

Microsoft / Xbox

Microsoft / Xbox Pay By Department Highest and Lowest Total Pay (Including Bonuses)
Producer$100,000 – $178,000
Director$204,000 – $253,000
Editor$126,000 – $141,000
Artist$67,000 – $185,000
Designer$127,000 – $236,000
Animator$110,000 – $124,000
Programmer$122,000 – $258,000
Tester$31,000 – $143,000