The compensation for lawyers is much better than it is for indie developers.
Game Developer magazine has released its 10th annual Game Developer Salary Survey to show just how much game developers were making in 2010, and it looks like it was a good year for developers. The average salary rose by 7%, with those on the business and legal side of production topping the earnings charts with an average salary of $106,452. Most business and legal professionals also reported that they received additional compensation for their work. Producers had the second-highest salaries and made an average $88,544, a $13,000 increase from last year.
At the other end of the spectrum, an entry-level Quality Assurance job is the lowest paid position in the AAA industry, with an average salary of $49,000, a number that’s up from $37,905 in 2009. Indie developers, meanwhile, reported average earnings of $26,780, and independent contractors made around $55,493.
Salaries for the rest of the industry are as follows:
Art & Animation: $71,071
Game Design: $70,223
Audio Professional: $68,088
So that’s what you can expect to get paid if you’re hoping to get into the gaming business. If money is an issue I’d suggest looking into law school or pondering a different career path altogether.