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

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
6,019
Exactly. Now compare this to real games.
There’s also Toxic Bunny, Chase (stunt racing), and Desktop Dungeons (that I know of, at least).

Generally speaking though, the pattern does seem to be mostly Indie games, and the studio histories tend to follow a pattern of a lot of failed attempts, and in a few lucky cases, a mild hit that doesn't appear to be repeatable.

Free Lives seems to be the current success story (due to BroForce) - not sure how their newer games are doing though.
 
Last edited:

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
6,019
It seems to me that the best case scenario in SA is to work remotely for an overseas studio and get paid in a strong foreign currency.

In my experience, knowing quite a few game developers worldwide (some of them very successful), the point at which their prospects diverge and trend downwards is when things become more about belonging to the “cult” of game development rather than actual game development. I.e., they spend more time talking about making games and “giving advice” than actually making games themselves.

It is an exploitive industry (I agree wholeheartedly with the musician analogy), but as for music, I am glad that those who are truly dedicated to their craft do what they do.
 

wizardofid

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
6,728
Exactly. Now compare this to real games.
Wait huh ? Real games, dude, these games pulled in more money then you will earn in your entire life time.

Broforce, earned the developers close to 30 million rand with in the first few months of release.

Stasis, this kicks ass.


Dude you don't even remotely know what you are talking about, so keep quite, or so us exactly how it should be done.


Just in case you think I am talking shyte.

As a South African Developer I have currently two products, in the steam best sellers list, one top 20 and the other top 50, this is as a 3D artist a DLC at that and not even a game, death valley I sold, to the company and Cold War pack is under license for 5 years.

best sellers lists.jpg



Two other projects I did contract work with is also on the steam best sellers list, AGK classic and RPG world.


Here I developed the content and an entire demo level for a game engine.

Have a look at seven years worth of progress. :)
 

rietrot

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
21,134
Wait huh ? Real games, dude, these games pulled in more money then you will earn in your entire life time.

Broforce, earned the developers close to 30 million rand with in the first few months of release.

Stasis, this kicks ass.


Dude you don't even remotely know what you are talking about, so keep quite, or so us exactly how it should be done.


Just in case you think I am talking shyte.

As a South African Developer I have currently two products, in the steam best sellers list, one top 20 and the other top 50, this is as a 3D artist a DLC at that and not even a game, death valley I sold, to the company and Cold War pack is under license for 5 years.

View attachment 868311



Two other projects I did contract work with is also on the steam best sellers list, AGK classic and RPG world.


Here I developed the content and an entire demo level for a game engine.

Have a look at seven years worth of progress. :)
That's geat if they or you have a few successful indie games.
 

wizardofid

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
6,728
That's geat if they or you have a few successful indie games.
Dude these aren't indie games, they were published by established studios, while indie developers at the time, they are fully fledged studios now. Broforce has between 2 and 5 million copies sold, that is more then some triple A games.

Here is another
 

TheRoDent

Cool Ideas Rep
Joined
Aug 6, 2003
Messages
4,782
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.
Network engineering is more profitable for an individual and requires way less math, and "luck". It's a shame. But let's go ! 4th Industrial Revolution!

Game development is hugely complex, with advanced math and other skills required. Been there done that, and agreed. It's more like artistry than industry. Such a pity.
 
Last edited:

Johnatan56

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
27,407
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
For a job requiring tertiary education in the technology field, plus Cape Town, earning R12k is horrendous.

I know I had a friend that started off at R16k four years ago in web dev and we all told him to move as he was being quite underpaid, we got him an interview and instant hire at R22k within a week at a place a friend worked at (still not that great for the field).

Everything is relative, I'd also refuse any job offer at R12k back when I started, I can't think of any friends that finished a STEM degree that earned that low.
 

koeks525

Expert Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2012
Messages
4,752
For a job requiring tertiary education in the technology field, plus Cape Town, earning R12k is horrendous.

I know I had a friend that started off at R16k four years ago in web dev and we all told him to move as he was being quite underpaid, we got him an interview and instant hire at R22k within a week at a place a friend worked at (still not that great for the field).

Everything is relative, I'd also refuse any job offer at R12k back when I started, I can't think of any friends that finished a STEM degree that earned that low.
Thank you for sharing this story. This happened to me, started off as a dev at R18K, resigned within my probation time and moved a great company, which pays well, has a good work culture and opportunity/tools to grow. Never doing that again, to work at a rate which is "below the line".

These companies know they can "get anyone to work at any price", which is why they can get away with horrendous pay rates.
 

gamer16

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
12,425
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.
Nee ah ah, nie lekker jy nie.

And go home? What home? No work no pay, no pay no food, No food you die china.
 

koeks525

Expert Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2012
Messages
4,752
Nee ah ah, nie lekker jy nie.

And go home? What home? No work no pay, no pay no food, No food you die china.
Absolutely. I would stay at home, continue studying, or take up side projects. That, or stay at home and only leave once the right offer presents itself. As mentioned above, I (most likely) could make more than 12K if I were to stay at home and take up "side" projects. At 12K a month, in CPT or JHB, you not working to live, you working to settle bills and rent... it'd be tricky putting money aside for savings and investments.
 

Napalm2880

Expert Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2007
Messages
2,202
Network engineering is more profitable for an individual and requires way less math, and "luck". It's a shame. But let's go ! 4th Industrial Revolution!

Game development is hugely complex, with advanced math and other skills required. Been there done that, and agreed. It's more like artistry than industry. Such a pity.
Network engineer here - well at least that was the dream. After using a good portion of my parents pensions for studying, I landed a job in Cape Town refilling printer cartridges, doing desktop support and climbing in the roof to install wifi hotspots at R9500 per month. After paying R1000 towards medical, R700 towards parking - at work!, R4500 for rent, I spent the rest of the month on the bones of my arse while my chartered accountant friends were smashing R35k per month.

The truth is that IT people are severely underpaid upon entering the job market. If you have a tertiary education with no experience you're in the same salary bracket as a grade 10 with an A+.

To make things worse, many organisations think that an inflation linked increase at this level is 100% ok. It took close to a decade of job hopping to get my salary to a level where I could afford a mid sized house and a car.
 

Johnatan56

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
27,407
Nee ah ah, nie lekker jy nie.

And go home? What home? No work no pay, no pay no food, No food you die china.
Based on your area of Alberton: https://www.privateproperty.co.za/to-rent/gauteng/east-rand/alberton/927?sorttype=1
R12k should be okay to live off of, you have stuff as cheap as R2.5k.

Try and get something on the atlantic seaboard in CT and you're looking at R7k starting for a tiny bachelor flat:

So I'd have to choose between an insane commute (which also costs quite a bit, and if train it can end up losing your job due to time, and depending on the train line/taxi route, and good luck to you if you fall outside of the demographics of the poorer area) and quite high rent. I shouldn't have to worry about paying 60% of my salary for rent min. when I have done a degree in a field that is in high demand.

And I keep iterating this point: game development is not easy, it's quite a highly skilled career, as mentioned in the article, you'll easily manage double the salary moving into anything other than game development.

Game development is not a good field to enter as FT, there are very few that make it, and you will be abused with consistent overtime. Moving into pretty much any other career path in IT will net you a better salary or better hours.

Network engineer here - well at least that was the dream. After using a good portion of my parents pensions for studying, I landed a job in Cape Town refilling printer cartridges, doing desktop support and climbing in the roof to install wifi hotspots at R9500 per month. After paying R1000 towards medical, R700 towards parking - at work!, R4500 for rent, I spent the rest of the month on the bones of my arse while my chartered accountant friends were smashing R35k per month.

The truth is that IT people are severely underpaid upon entering the job market. If you have a tertiary education with no experience you're in the same salary bracket as a grade 10 with an A+.

To make things worse, many organisations think that an inflation linked increase at this level is 100% ok. It took close to a decade of job hopping to get my salary to a level where I could afford a mid sized house and a car.
You were doing desk support and installing WiFi hotspots, how is that a network engineer? Careful with titles, businesses love to give those instead of a higher salary.

I also assume that was in the mid 2000's or at least <2010, take inflation into account with your salary.
 

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
6,019
The truth is that IT people are severely underpaid upon entering the job market. If you have a tertiary education with no experience you're in the same salary bracket as a grade 10 with an A+.
It really depends on the course and the type/sector of IT work. The variance is massive, and unfortunately one needs insider information to really get good guidance.
 

Johnatan56

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
27,407
It really depends on the course and the type/sector of IT work. The variance is massive, and unfortunately one needs insider information to really get good guidance.
Within CT, I'd say most in IT are underpaid as salaries have not kept up with inflation, especially as the CPI is not aligned to basically anyone who earns enough to pay taxes.
 

gamer16

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
12,425
Based on your area of Alberton: https://www.privateproperty.co.za/to-rent/gauteng/east-rand/alberton/927?sorttype=1
R12k should be okay to live off of, you have stuff as cheap as R2.5k.

Try and get something on the atlantic seaboard in CT and you're looking at R7k starting for a tiny bachelor flat:

So I'd have to choose between an insane commute (which also costs quite a bit, and if train it can end up losing your job due to time, and depending on the train line/taxi route, and good luck to you if you fall outside of the demographics of the poorer area) and quite high rent. I shouldn't have to worry about paying 60% of my salary for rent min. when I have done a degree in a field that is in high demand.

And I keep iterating this point: game development is not easy, it's quite a highly skilled career, as mentioned in the article, you'll easily manage double the salary moving into anything other than game development.

Game development is not a good field to enter as FT, there are very few that make it, and you will be abused with consistent overtime. Moving into pretty much any other career path in IT will net you a better salary or better hours.


You were doing desk support and installing WiFi hotspots, how is that a network engineer? Careful with titles, businesses love to give those instead of a higher salary.

I also assume that was in the mid 2000's or at least <2010, take inflation into account with your salary.
Nou hoe is dit my kak?
 

gamer16

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
12,425
And that's why you earn R12k as your cap.
Luckily its more than that, although not a lot, still need the increase for the latest promotion. If you want to live in an expensensive area like CPT dan is dit mos jou kak, I'm sure it also has less high up places where you can get a decent bachelors without getting stabbed in the nek
 

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
6,019
Within CT, I'd say most in IT are underpaid as salaries have not kept up with inflation, especially as the CPI is not aligned to basically anyone who earns enough to pay taxes.
Yeah, the currency devaluation and CPI misalignment have been brutal in SA. My point of reference is that most of my fellow graduates were around 12k/m or so back in the late 90’s with 20k/m at the high end.
 
Top