Game developers plan, design & develop video games for mobile phones, game consoles, computers, and more. They create and code the visual elements of the game. A game developer can work in a team or solo, depending on the magnitude and complexity of the project. This major factor affects how much they are paid and other factors that we will soon discuss at length.
In this age of rapidly evolving technologies, game developers must hone their creativity, technological knowledge, and artistic tendencies to create a smooth and visually pleasing game.
Average Game Developer’s salary in India
The average salary earned by a Game Developer in India is ₹478,895/- per annum. The entry-level salary earned by most is ₹330,000/- per annum, with the highest pay going up to ₹860,00/- per annum. Bonuses can add up to anywhere between ₹10,000 – ₹49,000/- depending on the kind of bonus it is, and the shared profits can go anywhere as high as ₹115,000/- per annum.
The average annual salary ranges from ₹14,600 per month (minimum) to ₹43,000 per month (maximum). The middle or median salary value is ₹27,000, which tells us that half of the game developers in the country earn less than ₹27,000 a month, and the other half earns more than ₹27,000 a month.
If your salary is higher than both the average and median salary, it’s an indication that your career is growing in the right direction. However, if it is below the median or the average income, there is growth to be achieved professionally.
What does a Game Developer do?
The initial mapping and conception work is put into the game’s base before any hardcore development occurs. Game designers enter the picture at this point. They are experts who come up with the general concept of the game, come up with an idea, vision, plot, characters, and define the target audience. They are the ones who invent the plot of the game, its character setups, win and lose conditions, and all other minute elements of the game. This acts as a guide for all the other team members.
Stages of game development:
1. Pre-production :
The foundation for the game is formed at this stage wherein several important things are decided, such as:
- Game budget
- Game type (mini 2D, casual 2D/3D, mid-core 3D game or hardcore 3D game)
- Gaming platform
- Game genre
- Target audience
This establishes a standard for all team members to build on as they work, after which the next phase is the verification process of the more specific characteristics of the game such as:
- Intended gameplay
- Game mechanics
After forming a general concept of the future game, after which the game developers create a so-called prototype of the game, this is a rough model without much art and detail, whose primary purpose is to test the idea in practice and minimize the risks.
2. Production :
This is one of the most active and dynamic game development phases where everybody knows exactly what they are trying to accomplish. The production takes place in three major steps:
- Design and graphics: 2D/3D artists lead the characters, visual effects, assets, interface elements, and environments.
- Programming: even though the programmers have already gotten involved in the game during prototyping, their real works starts here. They need to create a playable product base that provides interaction with the gamer, based on an existing engine or a custom one developed from scratch or on top of a pre-existing one.
- Sound design: Sound designers or sound engineers create the audio design for the game. This work includes sound effects, music, and voice-overs, which are often dynamic and change depending on the player’s actions and what is happening during gameplay.
Production is probably the longest game development process because, in this stage, the developer team makes all possible adjustments and changes in the game software. There are a lot of trial and error cases before arriving at the perfect combination of visuals and technical representation of the game.
In the testing phase, testers check the accessibility of all game areas, the correct display of elements from different sides, the implementation of various functions, etc. Testers are separated into categories to test all aspects of the game. For example, stress testers try to determine if the game works as intended even if it is pushed beyond its functionality. At the same time, another group of testers executes a 100% playthrough with all the achievements and prizes to make sure everything is working as it should.
When the testers have identified the potential problems, the game goes back several stages and again falls into the hands of the programmer who implements the edits. This cycle can continue several times before the testers give you the thumbs-up.
The pre-launch event occurs when the game is announced to the public to draw commercial attention towards it. The promotion campaign showcases the highlights of the game and tries to grab everyone’s attention. This phase is very important since the game has to reach its target demographic. Until this point, minor improvements can still be made to improve texture, animation, and work on smaller details.
At this stage, the game is provided to game stores. At this point, players can buy or download it by either paying the retail price or for free, depending on the monetization model being used by the developer/company.
Now, if your players are happy and, your investments pay off, and your efforts are rewarded, all that’s left is the maintenance activity, which includes:
- Correction of minor bugs
- Creation of patches and updates
- Adding new content to keep the player engaged and keep them wanting more.
Factors affecting the average Game Developer Salary
Multiple factors affect the average salary of a game developer. Knowing what these factors are and how exactly they influence your salary will help you come up with a career plan that allows you to make the most out of your passion. The most important factors affecting their salary are:
To put it simply, the more years you have under your belt, the more skills you would’ve picked up. From an employer’s point of view, someone with experience would work more efficiently and make informed decisions regarding the project. A game developer with experience of 2 years or less would earn ₹16,600 per month, whereas someone with experience ranging anywhere between 2 to 5 years will earn ₹22,300 per month, which is 34% more than what a developer with less than two years of experience would make. A more experienced developer with 5 to 10 years under his belt would make ₹29,000 per month, which is 30% more than developers with 2-5 years of experience.
A game developer doesn’t necessarily require formal education to enter the industry, but having a degree or certificate relevant to game development is a bonus. At the beginning of game development as a career, it was mostly self-taught individuals that joined the industry but now having a certificate or diploma offers you ₹19,700 a month. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can earn around ₹29,900 a month (provided it is in computer science or something else relevant to gaming, which is almost 52% more than what you’d earn with a certificate or diploma). A master’s degree would get you an offer to start at ₹42,400 a month which is 42% more than what you would be offered with just a Bachelor’s degree.
3. Size of gaming studio and Engineering Positions
A large studio will have higher operating budgets, thus allowing them to pay their developers handsomely. Even if other gaming profiles may cycle in and out, gaming developers are high in demand since they ideate and shape a gaming application from start to finish.
How to Become a Game Developer?
A computer science degree will make you an attractive candidate before potential employers. A degree proves that you have good foundational knowledge about building gaming software and applications even with pre-existing skills and sense. Check out Software Development Courses offered by upGrad is one such course that will bring you closer to your dreams of becoming a game developer.
This program is designed specifically for undergraduates to develop practical knowledge and skills, establish a professional network, and accelerate their entry into all software-related careers.
This course is suitable for both fresh graduates and working professionals as it offers you 500+ hours of content spanning over 19 months of learning that you can access at your own pace and convenience. At the end of the course, you will be awarded a Master’s degree from LJMU and IIIT Bangalore (as per specialization), certificates from upGrad, and regarded as IIIT Bangalore & LJMU Alumni.
The course offers best-in-class content by leading faculty and industry leaders in the form of videos, case studies and projects, assignments, and live sessions. Moreover, it also gives you access to 30+ tools and software.
You don’t need any prior coding experience to join this course – a Bachelor’s Degree with 50% or equivalent passing marks will do.
What does the process of Game Development consist of?
The process of developing a game is as follows
1. Pre-production: The foundation for the game is formed at this stage.
2. Production: This is the stage where everybody hashes out what they are trying to accomplish with regards to the game.
3. Testing: Checking the accessibility of all areas of the game, the correct display of elements from different sides and the implementation of various functions.
4. Pre-launch: it is an event that is planned for when the game is announced to the public to draw commercial attention towards it.
5. Launch: The game is made available at game stores.
6. Post-Production: any sort of maintenance activity to ensure that the game functions smoothly even after it’s made available in the market.
What course offered by upGrad is a step towards a career in Game Development?
The Masters of Science in Computer Science offered by upGrad is a course that will bring you closer to your dreams of becoming a game developer. This program is designed specifically for undergraduates to develop practical knowledge and skills, establish a professional network, and accelerate their entry into computer science careers. The certification is awarded by LJMU.