It’s not common to know how much a professional earns in the video game industry. A recent New York City (NYC) salary law helps to disclose that, at least within the Big Apple. As of November 1, companies that post work openings in NYC must include a “good faith salary range” in their job ads. That means we now know the pay range for NYC job postings at Rockstar, Epic, and Ubisoft, among other companies.
Rockstar Games had the most listings in NYC, with the broadest range of posts. They list 162k-185k USD as the pay range for a Director of Customer Experience Strategy, who’ll help plan the whole end user journey from sign-up, to finding community support, or getting their account unbanned (if needed). Meanwhile, 50k-57k USD is the salary range for a full-time Associate Dialogue Designer for their open world games.
Ubisoft, which doesn’t have offices in New York City, lists a remote/work-from-home posting offering minimum wage (15 USD/hour) plus overtime pay to part-time Demo Crew workers, including NYC residents. Their duty is to run virtual demo games during events, offering expert guidance to new players. The base pay may not have been disclosed before the NYC salary law was in place.
All of this matters because it can be used to benchmark salary ranges for similar roles in other places. When this article was posted, Rockstar had open job listings in Bangalore, India, while Ubisoft had positions available in Santa Rosa in The Philippines.
Granted, most job postings disclose that salaries vary with regional cost of living. That said, transparency about employee income is critical for groups organizing for fair labor conditions – and even more so in the context of a heavily globalized video game industry.
The situation is about to get even clearer, thanks to salary laws in California and Washington State, which take effect in early 2023. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Activision, EA, Riot, and Bungie all have offices in those states. That means salary ranges for a whole variety of video game industry jobs will soon become more transparent. That’s a critical step in ongoing efforts at unionizing the industry, and securing labor parity for video game workers everywhere.