Video Game Industry Now Worth $163.1b – More Than Movie and Music Combined

Video Game Sector Growth 2019-20

Estimates indicate that as of 2021 the video games market is now worth over $163.1b worldwide, up 152.b in 2019, from $78.1billion in 2017, with scope to change with the upcoming release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
The video game sector now accounts for more than half of the entertainment market – more than video and music combined. There are currently 2.5 billion gamers worldwide, with China having the most at 500 million, followed by the USA with 167 million, and the EU having 243 million. The UK has 32 million gamers.

Curtis Bailey, Business Development Director at TechNET, said:

“At this stage, it’s difficult to know how much of an impact Covid-19 has had on the entertainment industry. But one thing is clear – with cinemas, theatres, concerts and sports events closed around the world, it seems that for many people, gaming has become their primary form of entertainment. The industry has thrived in the pandemic, and salaries on the whole have increased worldwide.

But it is not just the captive audience which has helped video games to thrive. The escapist element of games, in what has been for many, an extremely difficult year, cannot be overstated either, and neither can the social aspect. In the months we couldn’t see friends and family, video games became an effective and fun means of socializing. The rise of mobile gaming too – now seeing more developer work than the big consoles – has only helped broaden the industry’s appeal. Gaming has become something that is accessible to everyone.

“We only expect the gaming industry to grow following Christmas console launches.”

Which platform do most of the world’s developers work on?

TechNET reveals that more than half of all developers in gaming work on PC and Mac. Smartphone development now sees more roles than traditional console development.

  • PC and Mac – 53%
  • Smartphone and Tablet – 38%
  • PS4/Pro – 27%
  • VR Headsets – 24%
  • Xbox One/Scorpio – 22%
  • Web Browsers – 13%
  • Linux – 7%
  • AR Headsets – 5%
  • Apple TV – 4%
  • Nintendo Switch – 3%

Average Gaming Salaries by Age Bracket 

Age 2019 Av. Salary 2020 Av. Salary % Increase
25 and Under £28,423 £29,161 2.60%
26 – 35 £47,824 £50,885 6.40%
36 – 45 £69,034 £72,071 4.40%
46 – 65 £74,181 £77,074 3.90%

Average gaming salary has grown 4.40% from 2019 and 2020 – £54,865.50 to £57.297.75.

69% of those in the video game sector saw a pay rise in 2020. 16% of workers saw a pay decrease as they moved to remote working, or working less days, in the Covid-19 crisis.

Gender Diversity in the Gaming Sector 

How does the video game sector split by gender across age groups?

 Age Male Female
<25 6% 12%
26-35 47% 57%
36-45 40% 26%
46-55 5% 4%
56-65 2% 1%

Percentage of Men and Women in Senior Roles

Analyzing senior roles in the gaming sector reveals which percentage are occupied by men and women. The research shows men still make up many senior roles, however the gap is decreasing, and with Senior Management positions see men and women with an equal 16% split.

 Role Men Women
Assistant 1% 7%
Executive 21% 19%
Manager 26% 20%
Senior Manager 16% 16%
Head of 19% 12%
Director/VP 2% 2%
Board Director 2% 1%
Owner/Partner 5% 3%

Salary Ranges vs Gender

The study explored what percentage of men and women earn within the gaming industry. Women on average earn more than men in low-to-mid salaries, with men earning more on average above the £56k mark.

£ Women Men
Under 25K 9% 6%
26 – 35k 16% 14%
36k – 45k 22% 17%
46k – 55k 24% 11%
56k – 70k 12% 18%
71k – 90k 8% 15%
91k – 120k 5% 9%
121k – 150k 3% 4%
151k – 200k 1% 4%
201k + 0% 2%

Gaming Jobs Globally

Which regions around the world employee the most in the gaming sector?

  • USA West – 31%
  • Europe – 24%
  • USA East – 16%
  • London – 16%
  • Canada – 10%
  • Rest of UK – 3%

The Top 5 locations globally for gaming professionals and opportunities – California, Guildford (UK), Stockholm, London, Vancouver.

Average Salaries for Video Game Roles UK 2020 

Programming – including gameplay, network, build, tools, release, UI, blueprints, SOK’s, graphics, physics, systems, engine, animation, etc

Programming Average Salary £
Junior Programmer 22,500
Programmer 30,000
Senior Programmer 42,500
Principal Programmer 55,000
Lead Programmer 62,500
Development Director 70,000


Design – including UI/UX, technical, level, game design, etc

Design Average Salary £
Junior Designer 21,500
Designer 29,500
Senior Designer 39,000
Principal Designer 49,500
Lead Designer 57,500
Design Director 65,000


Art – including light, environment, character, weapons, etc

Art Average Salary £
Junior Artist 20,000
Artist 28,500
Senior Artist 40,500
Principal Artist 51,000
Lead Artist 55,000
Junior VFX 27,500
VFX Artist 37,500
Senior VFX Artist 47,500
Principal VFX Artist 57,500
Lead VFX Artist 55,000
Art Director 65,000



Animator Average Salary £
Junior Animator 20,000
Animator 28,500
Senior Animator 40,500
Principal Animator 51,000
Animation Director 55,000



Audio Average Salary £
Junior Audio Engineer 22,500
Audio Engineer 30,000
Senior Audio Engineer 42,500
Principal Audio Engineer 55,000
Lead Audio Engineer 62,500
Junior Sound Designer 21,500
Sound Designer 29,500
Senior Sound Designer 39,000
Principal Sound Designer 49,500
Lead Sound Designer 57,500
Audio Director 70,000

Insight from Industry Leaders

TechNET spoke to industry leaders from partnered brands for further insight into the gaming industry:

Chris Bruin, of Epic Games, discusses good management culture:

“While the gaming industry continues to grow each year, the pressure for the best talent in any disciplines also increases with this growth. As people enter the industry, either as recent graduates or self-starters, or even a job change from studio to studio, the need to be aware of studio and management culture is very important.

“Workers’ rights and responsible management should be something that people keep in mind, either as new entrants or industry veterans, as work-life balance can be easily thrown out during the development cycles, or rampant abuse of an individual or group can be swept under the rug by mismanaged studios. Finding the right studio is important not just for the individual, but the industry as a whole, as who we choose to bring our talents to pushes the industry in a direction in response to the demand. Luckily, having the support to finding that dream job, that can provide a good work-life balance in an environment where individuals can feel safe, is more accessible than ever.

“The industry is still growing, and has a long way to towards being a place that is accepting towards everyone from all walks of life, but I am hopefully we can build an industry together that supports out goals as teams, and individuals.”

Brendon Kelly, of INT./NIGHT mentions how gaming salaries have struggled following the financial crisis:

“As someone who has worked on four continents over the last fifteen years, I can say it’s been a long road back for some from the Global financial crisis. Year on year growth of the games industry has not been reflected in salaries of content creators, but its great to see the trend is moving in the right direction.

“The old adage ‘if you always do the same thing, you will always get the same result’ continues to ring true and from insight such as TechNET provides its clear that now is the time for action. It’s information like this that can let some junior in the games industry push for what they are worth and for what they are – Specialist in a Specialist industry.”

Samra Tangestanian, of Supermassive Games, discusses how recruiters have been beneficial:

“When I started my career in the games industry eight years ago, I never imagined I would get to evolve so much as an artist, working for great companies in different countries, across multiple disciplines. If you are looking to advance your career, the guidance from companies such as TechNET Immersive can give you a real advantage.

“All the opportunities I’ve had so far have been because of recruiters working hard in the background to guide me through the interview and hiring process. Whether you are taking your first step, or looking for a new challenge then the games industry always has something to offer.”

Andrew Brown, of Keywords Studios, discusses how to find the right talent:

“The games industry continues to grow and evolve rapidly and staying at the leading edge becomes ever more rewarding and challenging at the same time. Having the best talent in your organisation, with the right skills and motivation, remains mission critical, and TechNET provide a series of essential insights in this report to complement their abilities to provide great staffing solutions.