Nov 3, 2022 - Technology

Video game companies start listing salaries for jobs in NYC

Video game screenshot of a man parachuting over what looks like New York City

Grand Theft Auto IV. Screenshot: Rockstar Games

A new pay transparency law in New York City is offering an unprecedented, if narrow, look at what people in the video game industry make and how different companies pay.

Driving the news: As of Tuesday, any company in New York City with at least four workers is required to post “good faith” salary ranges in its listings for jobs in the city.

  • Affected companies include NBA 2K publisher Take-Two Interactive, GTA-maker Rockstar Games and a slew of other notable gaming outfits that have some presence in the city.
  • The only catch is that the game industry has a small footprint in the region.

Why it matters: Pay rates in the gaming industry are rarely made public, despite efforts by some developers and indie studios to make compensation more transparent.

Details: A sampling of NYC gaming jobs reveals pay ranges for roles tied to making games, marketing them or managing teams.

  • Rockstar Games’ NYC listings — the most extensive that Axios found — include a product lead for the Rockstar Games Launcher ($163k-$184k), a voice-over director ($123k-$144k), a physics programmer ($121k-$142k), a cheat software analyst ($103k-$120k) and an associate dialogue designer for its games’ open worlds ($50k-$57k).
  • Take-Two’s NYC listings include a senior systems engineer working with its Ghost Story Games studio ($121k-$142k), a director of people ops ($170k-$198k) and a director of marketing for its Private Division label ($170k-$198k).
  • Epic Games’ NYC listings — the highest-paying that Axios found — include an operations manager for content policy and escalations ($159k-$206k) and a senior product manager on Unreal Engine ($187k-$242k).
  • Twitch’s NYC listings include a developer advocate ($145k-$195k) and a software engineer for proactive safety ($158k-$214k).
  • Activision lists a “measurement lead” role for its sales team ($77k-$114k).
  • Ubisoft lists a part-time job running game demos at events ($15/hr plus overtime).

Between the lines: The game companies listing salaries in NYC jobs largely don’t for their open roles in places where laws don’t require them to.

  • The listings tend to note that role’s salary will vary based on regional cost of living. Twitch publishes alternate, lower ranges for NYC jobs that might be filled in other regions.

What’s next: Similar pay transparency laws will go into effect in California and Washington state at the start of the new year.

  • That’ll relegate NYC’s listings to just a sneak preview.
  • Those states include thousands of game industry jobs and large offices for the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Activision, EA, Riot, Bungie and more.

Go deeper: Pay transparency shakeup could mean salary pushback

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