Left Arrow News

Press Release: 62% of Developers Indicate Their Job Involves Crunch Time

15 Sep 2015

Sixty-Two Percent of Developers Indicate Their Job Involves Crunch Time;
Nearly Half of Those Work More Than 60 Hours Per Week During Crunch

MOUNT ROYAL, NJ – 17 SEPT. 2015 — 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, according to the 2015 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

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.
  • Almost half (49 percent) of self-employed game developers reported 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 employees switched employers on average 2.7 times during the past five years, compared to 3.75 times in the 2014 survey.
  • Freelancers and contractors, had an average of 4.6 employers during the past five years.

Distribution Method of Games

  • While the App Store, Google Play and Steam are the overall distribution platform of choice among the different population of respondents, the top 7 overall platforms vary substantially among employees, the self-employed, and freelancers.
  • For employees, the top 3 distribution methods are Google Play, Steam and Retail Chains; for self-employed respondents, they are the App Store, 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 prioritize the association’s advocacy efforts and initiatives, according to Kate Edwards, executive director.

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.

About the IGDA

In its 21st year, the International Game Developers Association is the largest non‐profit membership organization serving individuals who create 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 http://www.igda.org.

Press contact

Robert Brown / Mitchell Saltzman
Stride PR for the IGDA

IGDA NYC Game Dev Digest – May 2024

Your monthly guide to NYC game dev news, jobs,...

New York - New York City

27 May 2024
Salt Lake City Chapter Event Report – SLC Finish Your Game Jam 2024

Many of us have side projects that languish until...

Utah - Salt Lake City

23 May 2024
IGDA Partners with Game Marketing Experts!

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is excited to...


20 May 2024