Talent Market Update: Game Development.

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Talent Market Update: Game Development

June 29, 2023

Steve Kirk

Snapshot: A highly competitive commercial environment is pushing up demand for top quality game development talent including designers, mathematicians and producers.

·        The big picture is that the game development market is incredibly saturated, with even long-established studios struggling to perform due to intense competition.

·        Those with access to distribution, in particular strong relationships with the biggest licensed operators, are in a commanding position. Many are leveraging this position to acquire smaller studios.

·        Many major operators who previously dealt with 20-30 studios are now looking to streamline to just 5-10 – intensifying competition and further encouraging consolidation.

·        Acquisition targets are those offering games that are truly fresh and original, pushing the boundaries or simply delivering market-leading quality.

·        Acquirers focus on retaining the core team – talent is an absolutely critical element of M&A value.

·        In such a competitive market, successful studios only entertain hiring the highest quality talent; they want the very best game quality, best mathematics, art and best production.

·        Ultimately, as a game development professional, it’s a good time to be ‘best-in-class’. Conversely, for those who are middle-of-the-pack, today’s talent market may prove challenging.

·        In terms of location, the employers enjoying most success are embracing 100% remote, or at the very least ‘high-remote’ hybrid. There’s a widespread appreciation that creative types are well suited to this setup.

·        Hiring top quality talent certainly commands a premium price tag. Generally employers appreciate the requirement to offer competitive salary and bonuses, particularly when sourcing from established competitors.

·        Salaries by location are now almost entirely standardized. There is no longer a premium for employing in ‘cheaper’ locations. In fact, many candidates are enjoying salaries 2x or 3x the rate they received just a few years ago.

Key Takeaway: Studios are having to compete hard on game quality, and therefore need best-in-class talent to succeed. Flexibility, remote setups and attractive packages are needed in today’s talent market.