How much South African game developers earn - "Not a smart move if you care about making money"

Hanno Labuschagne

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How much South African game developers earn - "Not a smart move if you care about making money"

Game development companies in South Africa have produced several successful titles over the past few years - including the likes of Boet Fighter and VR hit Gorn.

The field encompasses a wide range of job opportunities for game designers, producers, studio heads, lead programmers, and art directors.

According to Game Industry Career Guide, the United States has the largest game development industry in the world.
 

jackshiels

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It's true. Published quite a few games/IPs myself - its a very volatile industry.

Pity, cos the skill set involved in game dev is actually very diverse and cutting edge. It makes more sense to take your AI training to the commerce sector, though.
 

hj007

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Being a musician is actually an incredibly good comparison.
 

koeks525

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It is articles like this that make me laugh at people calling Cape Town the next "Sillicon Valley" or people saying IT is the next "medicine". Truth is, most companies are simply not paying what they should be paying. That, and the benefits and perks do not compare. There is a small number of companies that balance benefits, salary and career development opportunities.

“For a graduate fresh out of university, you could probably expect anywhere between R12,000 to R18,000 a month to start off with.”

It is better to sit at home and do nothing than to be earning that much. You'll have more problems in your life with such a horrendous salary. If I was earning that much, I would have resigned ages ago and went home.
 

Beyond.Celsus

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“For a graduate fresh out of university, you could probably expect anywhere between R12,000 to R18,000 a month to start off with.”

It is better to sit at home and do nothing than to be earning that much. You'll have more problems in your life with such a horrendous salary. If I was earning that much, I would have resigned ages ago and went home.
Um, WHAT?
R12k starting salary and you would rather stay at home?
Know what the average salary is in this country? Half that.
Talk about spoiled rotten.
 

koeks525

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Um, WHAT?
R12k starting salary and you would rather stay at home?
Know what the average salary is in this country? Half that.
Talk about spoiled rotten.

I would have chosen to stay at home and do nothing than to work for a measly 12K; it would mean less problems and a happier life. A low salary like that has so much potential to lead to far severe problems, such as serious debt, depression, despair. I cannot imagine someone on a salary that low in Cape Town or JHB.

And the same companies will wonder why people choose to leave or resign as soon as the chance comes by.
 

gertvanjoe

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Um, WHAT?
R12k starting salary and you would rather stay at home?
Know what the average salary is in this country? Half that.
Talk about spoiled rotten.
I think it was stated more metaphorically. To put things in perspective, I started a paid apprenticeship 16years ago and started out my career with R2000 less after my training
 

Beyond.Celsus

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I think it was stated more metaphorically. To put things in perspective, I started a paid apprenticeship 16years ago and started out my career with R2000 less after my training
Still a very dumb thing to say that it would be better to sit at home and earn nothing compared to earning R12k a month which, where I come from, is a bloody lot.

Know what happens to most people who sit at home rather than earn R12k?
They don't have a home.
 

Beyond.Celsus

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I would have chosen to stay at home and do nothing than to work for a measly 12K; it would mean less problems and a happier life. A low salary like that has so much potential to lead to far severe problems, such as serious debt, depression, despair. I cannot imagine someone on a salary that low in Cape Town or JHB.

And the same companies will wonder why people choose to leave or resign as soon as the chance comes by.
I'm guessing you still stay at home with your parents and have no bills to pay
 

gertvanjoe

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Still a very dumb thing to say that it would be better to sit at home and earn nothing compared to earning R12k a month which, where I come from, is a bloody lot.

Know what happens to most people who sit at home rather than earn R12k?
They don't have a home.
True. Seems like game devs are as much a labour of love as teaching is. That is, unless you get in at the big names
 

Barbarian Conan

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I would have chosen to stay at home and do nothing than to work for a measly 12K; it would mean less problems and a happier life. A low salary like that has so much potential to lead to far severe problems, such as serious debt, depression, despair. I cannot imagine someone on a salary that low in Cape Town or JHB.

And the same companies will wonder why people choose to leave or resign as soon as the chance comes by.

Sure, if your significant other has a decent job and pays the rent and fibre....
 

koeks525

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Still a very dumb thing to say that it would be better to sit at home and earn nothing compared to earning R12k a month which, where I come from, is a bloody lot.

Know what happens to most people who sit at home rather than earn R12k?
They don't have a home.
I'm guessing you still stay at home with your parents and have no bills to pay

Absolutely. I would have no shame in doing that. There are good companies that would pay way more than that, whilst allowing the fresh graduate to develop and grow. Companies that pay graduates less than 20K are simply not worth the time, regardless of the "opportunities" they claim to present.
 

konfab

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It is articles like this that make me laugh at people calling Cape Town the next "Sillicon Valley" or people saying IT is the next "medicine". Truth is, most companies are simply not paying what they should be paying. That, and the benefits and perks do not compare. There is a small number of companies that balance benefits, salary and career development opportunities.



It is better to sit at home and do nothing than to be earning that much. You'll have more problems in your life with such a horrendous salary. If I was earning that much, I would have resigned ages ago and went home.
Key trick is to not spend too much on your degree.

If you got a comp-sci degree from Unisa to get the skills for said job, you will pretty much earn all that you spent on it within 1 year. Add in that if you are out of university, living with your family is still a pretty good option.
Getting work skills is critical when you come out of university. Academia is a bit out of touch in terms of keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff in industry.

After 2 years, you will have workable skills and they would have to increase your salary else leaving becomes extremely lucrative.
 

Barbarian Conan

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Funny how I have only now in the last few years reached a salary just above R12k after tax and I am not Depressed, desparing or have massive debt. My life is pretty decent actually

It depends on your job. Where I am now work is OK, the people are great and we don't really work overtime. I would work here while looking for other work at a R12k salary while learning a bunch of cool stuff.

I've also worked under worse managers who are compete dicks, who shout and you and expect weekend work. Then I would rather stay at home if my R12k pm income wasn't necessary.
Well, I would have understood if someone wanted to do it. I don't like quitting under difficult circumstances even though it's bad for my mental health and not worth it.
 

koeks525

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Funny how I have only now in the last few years reached a salary just above R12k after tax and I am not Depressed, desparing or have massive debt. My life is pretty decent actually

Well congrats on you. I did not say everyone earning that figure would be guaranteed such problems; I meant issues like that could very easily arise.

If I sat at home, took on a few projects on the side, I would have made more than the 12K these companies are offering. This also stems from companies knowing "people are desperate for jobs, and they can get anyone to work a job at any price". If I were the company, I wouldn't talking to the press about how we offer fresh grads 12K a month, especially for such a specialized role.
 

rietrot

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I don't see any successful games? Boet fighter was funny, but there's no real games developed in SA.
 

wizardofid

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Started out with game development, 15 plus years ago, started out messing about and getting to grips with various aspects before settling as a freelance 3D artist, as a self taught person in the industry.Given the opportunity, I would have definitely taken a course as self taught takes a bit longer then a well constructed course.

However I suspect that courses generally focuses on specific tools and such, in this regard I am certainty more robust in the amount of tools, work flows and such over the years.

Having to figure things out on your own, is a lot of fun, but quite frustrating.Working freelance in the industry requires hard work, I mean seriously hard work 10-12 hour days. Eventually it will start paying for it self, and you can start building a rep ect.

Earning dollars definitely has it's perks, which means you can be far more flexible pricing wise then other artists, this as a result has scored me quite a few contracts over the last couple of years with several game engines.

I would much rather work as a dog for my self, then be worked like a dog by some one else, especially in this industry where your job isn't even remotely secure, hours crap, tight deadlines, and limited artistic expression.

I love my artistic expression and the freedom of doing exactly what I want.
 
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