Gamasutra has published the highlights of the Indie Report, a salary survey of game developers and contractors who identify themselves as independent, including PC, iPhone and other “small production” game creators. The survey showed that in 2009 indies working with teams made almost twice money as much as indie developers who worked alone.
Game Developer Research’s Indie Report is a snapshot of the independent gaming industry that is included as part of the larger Game Developer Salary Report 2005-2010, a 110-page survey of American, Canadian and European game developers and their earnings. The Indie Report portion of the survey was put together from data from 4,050 developers worldwide who identified themselves as “indies.”
Roughly an equal number of indie developers reported working along versus as part of a team, but their respective salaries were drastically different. Indie developers working along reported an average income of just $11,638, while indie developers working with teams reported an average income of $20,248. Salaries of less than $10,000 were excluded from the results.
According to original summary on Gamasutra, the large disparity might reflect the difficulties that one-man teams have in marketing and monetizing their games.
“And, of course,” Gamasutra added, “many individual developers see monetization as a bonus rather than a strict necessity, particularly when they have other non-game revenue sources.”
By contrast, the average salary for someone employed in the mainstream gaming industry was $75,573.
The people who seemed to fare best in the indie category were independent contractors who were hired on a per-project basis. The majority of such contractors were artists, and they reported an average income of $45,137.