Hiring Game Developers in 2024: A Guide to Building Your Dream Team

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Unlike many technologies today, games do not discriminate against any generation. They bring joy to people of all ages, genders, and demographics.

Baby boomers had Ataris and arcades. Millennials – who grew up in a digital revolution of sorts – had everything from GameBoys to Playstations. Even Gen Z has the best versions of the oldest games and a Nintendo Switch to play them.

Now, with mobile phones becoming an almost standard accessory to the pocket and purse of nearly every individual, games have yet another platform.

Whether they be on smartphones, computers, or a sleek and shiny counsel, games are nowhere near outdated. And the game development industry continues to thrive.

Given this popularity, businesses should be all the more interested in investing in game development long-term. Read on to learn more about hiring game developers for your next project!

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What Is Game Development?

Game development is the act of creating, designing and programming games. A game is any scenario in which a player can interact with content in a meaningful enough way to manipulate elements.

There are many steps in the game development process.

First of all, somebody must come up with a concept. This can vary in difficulty depending on the complexity of the game. Some games are heavy on the plot while others focus on action. Many games find a balance between these two qualities.

For the actual gameplay, game developers have a variety of options. For example, developers can make a mere 2D game with side-to-side play or something more immersive like a first or third-person shooter.

Game developers will usually have a storyboard at this junction. Storyboarding is where creative professionals sketch out ideas for characters and scenes. These characters and scenes typically involve certain challenges.

Along the way, game developers must think of how reward systems, level particulars, and player engagement works inside the game. 

After coming up with the story, developers must design, build, and test the game. This involves working with the mechanics of the game via programming and live video gameplay. Finally, developers release the final product.

Games are often developed by large studios. But single individuals make games as well. Game developers use game development engines, usually referred to as game engines, to build games. 

Unity and Buildbox are some of the more popular game engines. Many game developers choose to do 3D modeling for different game elements like weapons and inventory items through software such as Blender. They then import their creations to Unity.

What Does a Game Developer Do?

Game developers can be both front-end and back-end. They tend to be highly efficient programmers specialized in a number of computer programming languages.

C++ is the gaming standard. It’s more difficult to learn than other languages. But many game developers are masters in C++ because it allows for more autonomy in game design as well as better performance.

Many AAA game titles such as Halo, Far Cry, and Call of Duty are written in C++.

A logo of C++ language coming out of a box with AAA and a clock icon, possibly representing game development or AAA game industry programming.

Java is a very versatile programming language, making it second in line for game development. Java is particularly useful for Android as it is the native language for Android apps.

But Java is also similar to C++ and game developers may have knowledge of both languages for general video game development.

JavaScript and HTML5 are helpful and widely used when it comes to games that run on websites or web applications. In combination, they stimulate effects and enhance the appearance of a development project.

It’s also worth mentioning that many modern games use a mix of technologies. Some games leverage popular game engines, and others write their own custom game engines from scratch. Far Cry used the Dunia game engine, which was created alongside the game itself.

Game developers are responsible for gameplay mechanics, level creation, character building, audio assets, and of course, developing the story itself. 

Game Developer Roles

Game development includes three principal occupations:

  1. Software engineers work with code directly and program the game.
  2. Content creators are a collection of 2D artists, animators, 3D modelers, musicians, and writers who work to make the game more marketable. To do this, they must make sure that all the elements and characters in the game look and sound good, and perform better than mere placeholders.
  3. Game designers have jurisdiction over the creative vision of the game and work with software engineers to see it through.

7 Advantages of Game Development

If you want to develop an application and are not sure what route to go, games are a good start. In the past ten years, the industry has had exponential growth.

There are a few factors that will ensure its growth for the future.

1. Larger Investments

By 2022, the gaming industry is expected to amass $196 billion in revenueThe video game industry has taken huge leaps throughout the years, and now millions are being poured into complex game development with a return twice and thrice the investment.

Major tech companies are getting involved as well. In late 2020, Microsoft started offering cloud streaming services through its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate memberships. Google launched Stadia, a cloud gaming service, in late 2019.

Once other industries realized that the gaming industry is bigger than the music and movie industry combined, they wanted a piece of the pie. And you can have some too.

2. Technological Progression

Technology is always improving for the better and some of the newest innovations over the past couple of decades directly contribute to the gaming industry’s growth.

Virtual reality immediately comes to mind. With virtual reality, gamers can have truly immersive, 3D gaming experiences. This interaction can be developed further to include voice and gesture integration.
As mentioned, cloud gaming is now a steadfast market with lots of potential for growth. Though Stadia has been getting heat as of late, cloud technology such as GeForce Now and Playstation Now has been mighty successful.

An infographic with a rocket, lightbulb, dollar coin, and shield on an upward trend line, symbolizing startup growth, innovation, funding, and security.

3. Merchandise Appeal

Fangirling is not exclusive to Twilight. If there’s a game, and it’s popular, cults will follow – the friendly kind, that is. Avid followers of any game provide businesses with an easy way to gain extra capital through the sale of merchandise.

4. Consumer Base

Especially with the advent of mobile games, you see the market demographic for the gaming industry expanding. People from all avenues of life are playing games, young, old, even toddlers with iPads.

The bottom line is that the video game industry is growing with no end in sight. You don’t need to pour millions into game development at first, but you could get millions back whichever way.

5. Free to Start

Many of the most popular game engines are free, leaving beginner and expert game developers to use the environment as they like. There is often a catch though, but a reasonable one.

For example, Unity has a personal and professional version. After a business makes more than $100K a year off their Unity game, they must start paying for Unity Pro at $125/month.

6. Startup Friendly

You learned earlier that some people choose to build games all by themselves. Now, this isn’t necessarily a recommendation. But if one person can develop a whole game on their own then a few choice game developers can get you where you need to be.

7. Transferrable Skills

Game development requires many of the same skills as any other type of development. When skills are transferable, not only do you have more flexibility when managing your expectations for developers but you’ll also have a larger pool of applicants.

Why Hire a Specialist Game Developer?

Game development is a long and complex process. With an industry of this size, there’s no question that you’d want to leave game development up to extremely dedicated and talented professionals.

Keep in mind that game development actually takes place in several stages:

  • planning;
  • pre-production;
  • production;
  • testing;
  • pre-launch;
  • launch; and
  • post-production.

Every other stage is loaded with testing for bugs. Not to mention, the game design itself includes figuring out mechanics, modeling, and prototypes.

The fewer people you have on your team, the greater workload you’ll have for yourself. This means you’ll have more stress and a greater chance of burnout.

It’s even more important that you work with people that actually know what they’re doing. This is the only way to get a worthwhile return on your investment.

How To Hire a Game Developer

Once you decide to tailor your business plan for game development, one of your first steps should be finding developers to close the deal.

Game developers are a general niche. And you might first need to narrow down what game engine would be most beneficial to you. Then you can find developers who specifically work with that engine.

You’ll find the most luck looking for Unreal developers and/or Unity developers. Game developers flock to these engines because of their high functionality. BioShock and LaraCroft, respectively, are examples of their famous titles.

A good way to vet game developers is by requesting to see a portfolio of previous games they have worked on and/or contributed to. You can measure the games based on performance and creativity.

How Much Does a Game Developer Cost?

Game development, like most types of software development, can be a lucrative field. The average game developer, based on ZipRecruiter data, earns $101,644 annually, and salaries reach as high as $167,000. On the other hand, game developers can make as low as $35,000.

A bar chart depicting the salary range for Game Developers in the United States with a national average indicated, representing compensation trends in the gaming industry.

Inflation in South America has a grand impact on the strength of local currencies in the region. In effect, offshoring game developers to South America will be noticeably less expensive than hiring developers in the United States. Developers in South America make around $100,000 and a mid-level developer will only make $76,000.

Political and economic duress in Eastern Europe leaves the region in similar circumstances. A senior game developer in Eastern Europe would cost $100,000 per year on average.

If you only plan to hire developers for the short-term and not a full year, it may make more sense to look at hourly rates. The following chart will help you understand the average hourly wage for different types of software professionals.

A table displaying software developer hourly rates by job title for various regions including Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the United States, with rates ranging from  to  depending on the role and region.

What Are the Skills Needed for Game Developers?

Game developers must combine an array of diverse skills to meet the needs of a fully functional game. These skills might look like the following:

  • Critical and analytical thinking skills
  • Proficiency in at least two game engines including Unity
  • An understanding of the development process for team-oriented projects
  • Expertise in programming languages such as C++ or Java
  • Familiarity with new industry developments like virtual reality

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Game development is a strong industry with more than enough room for any startup to become well-adjusted and successful. Software engineers, content creators, and game designers come together to create something that is truly enjoyable. Games are being deployed in a number of industries and are fueling new technological advancements in the process.

Contact Trio to hire qualified game developers for your next project!

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With over 10 years of experience in software outsourcing, Alex has assisted in building high-performance teams before co-founding Trio with his partner Daniel. Today he enjoys helping people hire the best software developers from Latin America and writing great content on how to do that!
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