Many Gaming Developers still feeling the Crunch of 60 Plus Hours a Week


By Darren Whitham (@dazwhitham) on 18th September 2015

Have a care for the guys who make our beloved games as information has been released from the IGDA (International Game Developers Association) that according to the 2015 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS), crunch time continues to be prevalent in the game industry, with 62 percent of game developers reporting their job involves it. Of those experiencing crunch, nearly half are working more than 60 hours per week, with 17 percent working more than 70 hours.

The IGDA 2015 DSS Survey was conducted and analyzed by: Johanna Weststar, assistant professor, DAN Program in Management and Organizational Studies, Western University and Marie-Josée Legault, professor, École des sciences de l’administration, TÉLUQ with assistance and guidance from Kate Edwards, executive director, International Game Developers Association.

Now in its 21st year, the International Game Developers Association is the largest non‐profit membership organization serving individuals who create video games. The association exists to advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community. For more information, visit

The 2015 edition of the Developer Satisfaction Survey ran from 2 March – 15 April.

You can look at the survey in even more detail here

Below are some statistics from IGDA’s press release.

During these periods of crunch time, 37 percent of employee respondents reported their employers do not or are unable to offer any additional reward to their employees for working overtime. Of those who are offered some form of compensation, 28 percent say they are given various perks such as meals, 18 percent are given time off and 12 percent get a combination of the two.

Poor working conditions were reported as the second leading factor contributing towards society’s negative perception of the game industry, with 55 percent of respondents selecting it among a list of provided factors. Sexism among gamers was the primary factor with 57 percent of respondents selecting it, and sexism in games rounded out the top three with 52 percent of respondents.

Other crucial points of the DSS include:

Salaries of Employees and Freelancers

· 67 percent of employees make more than $50,000 per year, with the most common salary falling somewhere between $50,000 and $75,000.

· Those numbers are dramatically different for freelance game developers, with a majority of 37 percent making less than $15,000 per year. Only 24 percent of freelancer respondents reported making more than $50,000 per year.. Only 12 percent indicated that they make $30,000 – $40,000

· Almost half (49 percent) of self-employed game developers reported that their annual income from game-related work was less than $15,000 USD.

·Forty-five percent of self-employed respondents always forgo a salary or wage in order for their company to have what it needs.

Industry Mobility

· The 2015 DSS found that employees switched employers 2.7 times on average during the past five years, compared to 3.75 times in the 2014 survey.

Distribution Method of Games

· For employees, the top 3 distribution methods are Google Play, Steam, and Retail Chains; for self-employed respondents, they are Apple, their own personal website, and Steam; and for Freelancers, they are Steam, Google Play, and their own personal website.

Game Genres

· Among all three types of respondents – employed, self-employed and freelancers – action game is the most developed genre, with 52 percent of employed respondents, 51 percent of self-employed and 49 percent of freelancers indicating that it best describes the broad genre of the games they make.

·Role playing and casual games were tied for the second most developed genre by employees at 36 percent each.

·For self-employed developers, the second most developed genre was casual games (44 percent,) followed by strategy games (36 percent).

·Freelancers indicated that casual (47 percent) and role playing games (38 percent) were the second and third most developed genres.

The results of the survey provides the IGDA with a better understanding of its members’ priorities and critical issues affecting their overall satisfaction, thus helping prioritise the association’s advocacy efforts and initiatives, according to Kate Edwards, executive director.

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