June 29, 2023
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.