Seattle, WA (August 23, 2016)—GameSoundCon has published its 17-page Audio Industry Survey as the organization’s annual conference for video game composers and sound designers draws near.
The 2016 survey ran from May 15 to June 30, 2016 and received close to 600 responses of game audio professionals. The report covers compensation, work and environment, use of live musicians and middleware, contract terms, and education, plus an addendum on gender and game audio. It also contains information such as how many game audio pros are currently working on a virtual reality title, corresponding graphs and remarks on the statistical validity of the survey.
New questions for 2016 deal with total compensation for freelancers; correlation with experience/years in the industry; use of union musicians and voice actors; and income breakdown by gender. Experience and time spent working in the industry influence the income opportunities greatly for employees. The same can be said for freelancers, even though their range of income varies much more.
The report reveals that while salaried game audio employees make more on average than freelancers ($65,000 vs $42,000 per year), the very highest salaries were obtained by freelancers. The report also suggests a correlation between education and game audio employment: 72 percent of respondents reported having a bachelor's degree or higher.
In terms of freelancer compensation per project, Brian Schmidt, executive director of GameSoundCon, was reportedly surprised to find a few indie games among the highest payers. "Per project fees varied tremendously, from a low of zero, to a high of over $250,000. Large budget games, of course, dominate at the higher end, with Indie games clustered toward the low end. However, there are significant number of Indie games — self-funded, Kickstarter, etcetera—with per-project fees rivaling those of professionally produced small scale/casual games," he says.
GameSoundCon will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on September 27 and 28. Early-bird discounts are still available.