Game Designer | Job Profile, Requirements, Salary in US and Worldwide

We participated as an esports organization in the gaming industry twice and got many insights into the ecosystem. 

In the last 20 years, the industry has grown massively, and the fields of activity have become more diverse. Games today don’t just need programmers. Among many other jobs, game designers are central to the success of a game.

In this post, you will get answers to the questions

  • What game designers do daily
  • What you need to become a game designer
  • How much money you can earn as a game designer in USA 
  • How much money you can earn worldwide
  • What the future perspectives are

Without further delay, let’s jump into the topic.

Note: This article was written in English. Translations into other languages may not provide the same linguistic quality. We apologize for grammatical and semantic errors.

What Does a Game Designer or Video Game Designer Do?

In general, a Game Designer is responsible for developing and implementing game ideas and creating the corresponding documentation. Typically, a game designer is part of a team of developers and other designers. as a central point of communication, they work closely with project management.

Now, of course, you’re wondering what exactly a game designer does all day long.

Top 3 Tasks of Game Designers in Detail:

Development of game ideas based on specifications

In addition to the lead game designer, who keeps track of the big picture with his years of experience, several game designers usually shape smaller parts of the game.

Depending on the specifications, a game designer can be more or less creative.

A game designer certainly has more creative freedom with indie games than with blockbusters like Call of Duty.

In larger game productions, a game designer is given a concrete implementation task.

For example, a game designer should develop the reward system of a game.

The task includes the conception, technical feasibility check, presentation, and coordination with the lead designer.

Creation of structured and efficient game design documents

For the correct implementation, which is not necessarily accompanied by the same game designer who developed the concept, game design documents are created.

On the one hand, this gives developers a complete description of the elements to be developed.

On the other hand, another person can use the current concept as a basis at any time.

Accompanying the implementation 

Of course, as a game designer, it’s nice to implement your ideas together with developers and other designers for visual and auditory elements.

You accompany the implementation and react to technical or conceptual challenges that may arise.

As the person responsible for the respective part of the game, you constantly coordinate with the project management because your building block is usually the basis for other parts of the game.

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What Are The Requirements to Become a Game Designer?

A game designer must generally master three core skills: realistic creativity, deep technical understanding, and clear communication between project management, developers, and other designers. In addition, an academic degree in game design, general design, or computer science is usually required.

Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. We classify this into four packages, which a game designer must bring along as a prerequisite:

Degree of a Game Designer

First, as mentioned above, you should have an academic education

If you have studied mathematics, you could also apply for jobs as a game designer, because nowadays most games have an incredible amount of mathematical algorithms running in the background. 

For example, possible activities are evaluating in-game stores, balancing enemy A.I., or calculating experience points. Sounds simple, but in multiplayer games with several hundred players or teams, the complexity of these calculations increases dramatically.

Experience of a Game Designer

As a newcomer, you only have two chances here. Either you have perfect final grades or have already been able to convince an employer of your merits through a traineeship or similar.

For a game designer, game companies want to see at least two years, better three years of experience in the industry. 

You can also be successful in your application if you have already developed games and have several years of experience in very similar areas to game design.

The bigger your last projects were, the more the time span of experience will be compensated. Larger projects are always more complex than smaller projects. 

Of course, you should be able to provide appropriate evidence of your last stations. 

A letter of recommendation from your last station will be appreciated.

Technical Skills of a Game Designer

Even though you work more in the conceptual realm as a game designer and generate a lot of paper, a deep technical foundation is an absolute requirement.

New ideas that you find must always be technically feasible.

This means that you have to educate yourself technically continuously.

For example, new graphics engines are constantly coming onto the market.

Other game developers also have good ideas and invent new game principles that should be incorporated into your game. The relatively new Battle Royale genre is an example of this.

Typically, a game designer knows one or more programming languages and their tools but also knows the tools and functions in graphic and audio design and is, of course, skilled in common office programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

Communicating with developers and other designers simply requires that you efficiently coordinate with the rest of the team at eye level and use the same vocabulary.

Social Skills of a Game Designer

Social skills are, of course, a broad field. For example, a game designer is a leader, mediator, and problem solver all in one. At the same time, they are the central contact person for technical people and shareholders who are more likely to be in management positions.

Communication is, therefore, the essential skill of a game designer.

For international projects, foreign languages can be an advantage. Besides communication, reliability is undoubtedly a critical skill. 

Usually, the part of the game a game designer is responsible for is only a small piece of the puzzle. 

Therefore, the project manager must be able to rely on the game designer’s statements about the project status, the planned follow-up steps, and the achievement of milestones.

Okay, now let’s get to the topic that everyone is most interested in. We have tried to cover a wide range of possible salaries. 

As you surely know, the amount of a salary depends on many parameters, such as the company’s size, the location of the company, your experience or the type of degree. 

There are numerous salary platforms on the Internet where you can find possible ranges. 

At the end of the day, however, you have no choice but to explore the possibilities yourself for a specific position. Since communication as a game designer should be your specialty, that’s certainly easy for you, right? 😉

What is the Salary of a Game Designer in the USA?

Typically, a game designer earns between 49 and 89 thousand dollars, depending on the employee’s education, experience, location, and size of the company. Senior game designers can expect to double this salary range on average. In extreme cases, the salary can be up to 160 thousand dollars.

As with all professions, the spectrum is very broad. Without work experience, you will probably start at 30 thousand.

With 3-7 years of work experience, around 60 thousand is realistic.

Only with seven years of experience can you seriously apply as a senior game designer and expect a 6-digit salary.

When you see salary ranges on job portals, you also have to remember that most companies offer fringe benefits on top. For example, company cars, company housing, gas cards, and many other things are worth cash and can be negotiated additionally. 

Especially in the area of hardware in the home office, you can get a small bonus right at the start if you find out beforehand what is usual or possible at your desired employer.

Here are a few examples* of average salaries for a game designer in different states:

StateAverage Salary Game DesignerAverage Salary Senior Game Designer
California (CA)$88,684$103,784
Florida (FL)$58,359$72,538
Massachusetts (MA)$86,523$97,659
Nevada (NV)$61,332$87,021
New York (NY)$73,986$85,392
Tennessee (TN)$49,179$68,756
Texas (TX)$73,290$86,741
Washington (WA)$75,980$86,253

*For each state, between 20-40 jobs were picked from different job portals and averaged at the respective experience level. 

Map of the USA, Salary Ranges for (Senior) Game Designers – Examples

What is the Salary of a Game Designer in the USA Compared to Canada, Australia, Mexico, South America, Europe, and Asia?

Maybe it is interesting for you as a game designer to work outside the USA. Below we give you average values for other regions worldwide. 

Please note that we are giving the top values for each region. 

For example, we take values from Germany and France or Scandinavia in the Europe region, as salaries are much higher there than in the south of Europe. 

The same applies to South America and Asia.

In the following table, all values are rounded to the nearest thousand, and the currencies have all been converted to US dollars.*

RegionAverage Salary Game Designer (rounded)Average Salary Senior Game Designer (rounded)
South America$5,000$9,000

*If a region included multiple countries, we averaged parts of the region where salaries were highest.

Map of the World, Salary Ranges for (Senior) Game Designers

What are the Future Perspectives of a Game Designer?

The fact is that the gaming industry is one of the fastest-growing industries and the perspectives as a game designer are very good.

With augmented reality and virtual reality, as well as other new technologies and game elements, there are more and more areas in which a game designer can specialize.

Every year, salaries increase, the gaming community grows, influencers and Esports bring more and more consumers into the gaming industry ecosystem. 

The interoperability between almost all platforms and the emerging cloud gaming makes more and more complex games possible. 

All this is an ideal playground for game designers. 

We can fully recommend this career path if you have the skill set described above and would enjoy this activity.

If you have a question about the post or pro gaming in general, write us:

GL & HF! Flashback out.

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