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How Much Money Does a Game Writer Make?

A lot of people think that becoming a game writer is a lucrative profession. After all, it’s often said that games can sell for up to $60 per copy, and with thousands of copies often being downloaded per day, it’s not difficult to see how someone could make a tidy sum of money from this source alone. However, although it’s a lucrative industry, it’s not really all it’s cracked up to be. As it turns out, game writing is actually a moderately lucrative profession, but it’s one that has a ton of inherent risks. Here’s a breakdown of how much money you can expect to make as a game writer, including both salary and bonus.

The Paychecks Aren’t What You’d Expect

One of the main attractions of pursuing a career in game writing is the prospect of earning a lot of money. After all, it’s not uncommon for game writers to earn six-figure salaries, and with many top-notch games releasing each year, the demand is certainly there. That being said, despite what you might hear, six-figure salaries are certainly not the norm for game writers. In fact, the standard salary for a first-time game writer is probably more like $35,000 to $40,000 per annum. So while it’s not a bad career choice, you won’t be making bank. It’s also worth noting that while you might expect to earn a high six-figure salary right out of school, the chances are you’ll need to work your way up from the bottom. After all, it doesn’t do any good to be the best, most highly-regarded game writer in your class if you can’t turn up anywhere to perform. And the good news is that even if you don’t get a big head start in the industry, there are lots of opportunities out there for beginners, which means you can slowly work your way up the ladder.

The Rewards Come In Many Forms

One of the things that sets game writers apart from other professions is the fact that their work doesn’t always (or even mostly) produce a quick financial return. The fact is that while games can be a lucrative source of income, they can also be a lot of work, and not all games are created equal. Take World of Warcraft for example. Yes, the game undoubtedly earns a healthy chunk of change for its developers and publishers, but the work that went into crafting that game was probably more than compensated for by the time it sold a few thousand copies. In other words, not all games are created equal, which is something that developers and publishers take into consideration when deciding how much they’ll pay you to write a custom game. And it’s not only about the money, either. The fact is that the process of creating a custom game can itself be quite rewarding, even if you’re not exactly sure why. Sometimes you’ll get an idea for a game and you’ll wonder if anyone else has ever thought about doing it, but for the most part, you’ll find writing custom games to be quite an absorbing pastime.

The Industry Is Growing

Another thing that sets game writers apart from other professions is the fact that the industry itself is continuing to grow. Yes, technology has allowed for more efficient use of time, so while certain professions like architecture and engineering are experiencing slower growth, others, like programming and writing, are experiencing significant expansion. And that’s good news for you, the individual, because as the industry grows, so does the demand for talented individuals. In other words, even if you don’t want to become the best, most famous game writer in the world, there’s still plenty of room for you to become an expert in your chosen field and to work your way up from the bottom.

The Risks Are Worth Taking

On the other hand, there are also a ton of risks involved in pursuing a career in game writing. Just like any other profession, the demand for skilled labor means that there are fewer jobs available, and if you do decide to go into game writing, you won’t have any idea what you’re getting into, especially if you don’t have a significant amount of experience. To begin with, the number of experienced game writers is quite small, so there’s bound to be a lot of competition, and as you might imagine, quality is pretty high. In other words, while the demand for talented labor is there, the supply isn’t, so competition is always going to be fierce. Even after you’ve proven yourself to be a capable writer, you’ll still have to look for work, and it isn’t always easy to get started. The competition is so high that sometimes it’s hard to know where to look for work, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience. Another risk is that the market for games is constantly changing. Just when you think you’ve got your foot in the door and can start making decent money, the industry will introduce a new device or platform that catapults you back to the beginning of your climb. In other words, while the industry is always expanding and evolving, it can also be quite unstable, so it’s important to always be looking for the next big thing.

Additional Considerations

As a game writer, you’ll need to consider a number of other things as well. To begin with, you’ll need experience in a team environment. Not only does working in a team help you develop your skills, it also helps you get your work done for other people, which is extremely valuable in today’s world where so much of our work is automated and/or digital. In other words, while it’s definitely possible to be a successful game writer without having any experience at all, it’s not the done thing, and being a team player and having good interpersonal skills will definitely help you stand out among your peers. Another important consideration as a writer is to make sure that you’re always expanding your knowledge. Even if you’re doing extremely well for yourself and would never need to look for work, it’s still important to keep abreast of the latest developments within the industry and to continue learning new things.

So, what are you waiting for? Careers are hard to find, especially in the current economy, but if you do your research and are willing to put in the effort, there’s no question that you can find something that suits you. And if you want to be the best, most highly-regarded game writer in the world, getting started now is certainly the way to go. Just make sure that you’re aware of all the risks before you begin. Otherwise, you might end up regretting your decision to pursue this particular career path, especially if you don’t end up enjoying it as much as you expected to.