During the turbulent year of 2022, the video gaming market generated $184.4 billion in revenue while the number of active players reached over 3 billion. These numbers only fuelled the demand for talented game developers among tech companies that want to create ground-breaking video games. Yet there is the question – how to find and hire game programmers with a dedicated attitude to your product?
At Alcor, we specialize in recruiting Senior/Lead software developers with various skills and tech stacks. With more than 10 years of experience in this area, we know the hiring process inside-out and help tech product businesses build their development teams. In this article, I’ll share with you several resources where you can find game developers, the benefits & challenges of hiring your own game development team, its cost, and provide the most efficient and secure way to recruit the best game devs for your business. Let’s dive in!
Game Developer Market Trends
According to StackOverflow, 3% of software engineers around the world are game developers. Considering that there are 31.1M software engineers globally, the number of game developers might equal about 933K. As a rule, these programmers must be well-versed in several coding languages such as C++, C# & Java, game engines, 2D/3D modeling, as well as possess strong game design skills. Regarding the soft skills, requirements for game developers do not differ from other engineers – analytical mindset, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, & communication, etc.
Experts in the tech field state that the game development industry is experiencing a lack of IT talents with game development skills, while job openings remain high. And the demand for these specialists promises to be sufficient in upcoming years. For instance, one growing and auspicious trend in the game development industry is blockchain-based gaming, which is likely to reach $65.7 billion by 2027. Other thriving trends are cloud-based gaming, crypto gaming, AR, VR, eSports, and others. Notably, streaming is expected to grow the most among game development platforms by 2025, followed by mobile ones.
How to Find Game Developers?
First and foremost, there’re plenty of resources and places where you can find your dream game programmers. Let’s take a peek at the most popular ones.
1. Game developer communities
Communities, forums, and blogs gather thousands of programmers from different areas of game development. Reddit is one of the most beloved platforms among them. Subreddit r/gamedev, for example, has more than 1M of game developers who post and discuss development-related content. On the r/playmygame subreddit, with more than 85K members, software engineers even share their games, so you can see what your potential candidate is capable of. Other popular platforms are LinkedIn groups and the Game Development Stack Exchange forum.
2. Freelance platforms
Another way to find game development talent is through freelance platforms such as Upwork, Toptal, and others. Here, you can find specialists with various skills, qualifications, and experience. You can also check the candidate’s work history and read the feedback from their clients. However, this approach usually works only for finding project-oriented and temporary employees.
3. Job boards
If you’re looking for game developers, job boards also serve as a popular resource for this purpose. On these platforms, you can advertise your job openings while potential candidates apply for them. Yet to attract cool game programmers, a job ad must be catchy and appealing, reinforced with good EVP. Moreover, a company needs to have a strong employer brand to differ from competitors and be a desirable place to work for talented game engineers.
A referral program is one more way to get a good candidate if you’re in search of game programmers for hire. As mentioned, game programmers have big communities and connections, so you can introduce a referral program to your current employees to recommend potential candidates for open positions.
5. Game industry events
Game development events also attract plenty of programmers, designers, and visual artists, including career seekers. They take place in different locations around the globe during the whole year and provide great networking opportunities, industry insights, and even offer job fairs. Several well-known ones include the Game Developers Conference (GDC), Unite by Unity Technologies, Gamedaily Connect USA, and PG Connects (if you need to hire a mobile game developer).
6. IT recruitment companies
IT staffing agencies can also help you find and hire a game app developer. Usually, these companies have big teams of experienced headhunters who have many years of practical experience in hiring professional game engineers, a deep understanding of game tech market in the chosen location, access to different recruiting platforms & communities, as well as an extensive network of verified game devs.
Benefits of Hiring a Game Development Team In-house
As you can see, there are various ways of finding game professionals. However, not all of them help you get a specialist with a result-oriented vision and passion for your ideas. Let’s see how hiring game developers for your in-house team can benefit your business.
One of the prime advantages of hiring your own team is having greater control over the game development process. It enables quick responses to rising changes and aligns the game-building process with your business objectives and standards. Apart from it, it reduces the risks of any data leakage and strengthens your IP rights protection.
If you decide to hire a game development team in-house, you’ll get committed software developers who aim at delivering excellent gaming solutions. As a part of your team, these programmers will be involved in your company’s culture, values, aims, and thus, understand your product well and put in the extra effort to achieve the company’s goals, despite their location.
Unlike outsourced/outstaffed developers or freelancers, in-house game devs have a different approach to work. While the former move from project to project, focusing on the output, the latter prioritize the outcome, putting user’s and business needs in the first place. In the long run, it creates enhanced value for the product and reinforces the company’s brand image.
Challenges of Hiring a Game Development Team
Whether you want to find PC or mobile game developers for hire, there are certain obstacles you can face during the recruiting process. Here are some of the toughest ones along with efficient solutions to go round them.
Challenge: High competition for game developers
Both big companies and start-ups looking for a skilled game developer for hire create fierce competition for the best talents. As of April 2023, there are 1900+ open vacancies for game programmers on Glassdoor, while Indeed offers 3300+ career opportunities in the field. Frequently, talented specialists decline job offers only because they have never heard of the company, even if it proposes an exceptional job offer.
Solution: Build a strong employer brand
Every game developer strives to work with an ambitious company that values its employees. Hence, to attract your dream game programmers, and stand out in the IT employer’s market, a powerful employer brand campaign is a must-have, especially if you decide to expand abroad. An attractive employer has a clear company culture, positive reputation, engagement and recognition programs, and opportunities for professional growth. This is what one of our clients, Tonic Health, used while expanding to the Eastern European tech market.
During cooperation with Alcor, the company managed to build its own development team in Eastern Europe with no rejections of job offers. Thanks to a strong employer brand campaign, every second candidate heard about Tonic in the local employment market. Apart from tech recruitment and employer brand promotion, we also helped the company with accounting, payroll, and legal systems.
Challenge: Salary demands
When you look for professional game developers for hire, the salary issue may question potential cooperation with a programmer. Big competition for skilled specialists raises the bar of salary expectations, and very often software developers give their preference to the employer that offers higher wages.
Solution: Consider offshoring destinations
Competing in salary races is not an easy feat, eminently with huge tech companies. That’s why many IT entrepreneurs from the USA and Western Europe choose to hire a game developer in financially attractive locations to cut down on costs (yet still get competent software engineers with relevant experience). And one such destination is Eastern Europe.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Game Developer?
Generally, there’re 3 key factors that impact the game developer’s salary. The first one is the experience level – the more expertise a dev has, the higher the wages. For example, entry-level game programmers tend to earn 20%-25% less than mid-level specialists. Another factor is a set of desired skills and knowledge, and higher remuneration comes with more profound tech competencies. The third crucial factor is location, as different countries offer rather contrasting wages. Let’s compare the average annual salary of a game dev for hire in the US, as well as some Western and Eastern European countries.
Annual base pay
Sources: Talent.com, Glassdoor, SalaryExpert
As you can see in the table, Polish developers charge 43% less than their American counterparts. Weighing up some Western European salaries with Eastern European remunerations also shows a noticeable difference: Bulgarian developers earn 20%-45% less than their German colleagues. Due to this, tech companies consider Eastern European countries as their destination to hire a video game developer and cut down on costs, yet not sacrificing software quality.
Eastern European countries appeal to IT companies not only because of their beneficial salary rates, but other factors such as the vast talent pool of skilled tech talents, high education level, business-friendly taxation system, and good command of the English language. It’s also worth mentioning that the game development industry in these countries has been moving into top gear in the last couple of years. For example, in Slovakia the game development sector generated $75 million in 2020, while the number of Slovak developers who work in the industry rose by 21% over the last year.
At the same time, the Polish video game market is worth 470 million EUR having around 440 game development studios: some of the world-knowns are Cd Projekt Red, Techland, CI Games, and others. Romania also doesn’t trail behind neighboring countries – the total value of the game industry was $312 million in 2022, which is 17% higher than in 2020.
Finding and recruiting talented game developers requires exceptional expertise and attitude, especially on foreign markets. As an option, you can consider partnership with an IT recruiting agency to assemble your team of programmers.
Hiring their own team of software developers with the help of a local IT recruitment provider was Dotmatics choice. This company already had offices in America, Ireland, and New Zealand, and the next destination for its business expansion was Eastern Europe. Dotmatics decided to collaborate with our company, Alcor, to execute a plan of hiring 30+ software engineers within a year.
We involved our 40+ IT researchers and headhunters, providing the client with full-cycle IT recruitment. To find eligible candidates, our team used premium HR sources, social media, networking, and our huge internal database. After selecting the best candidates, we started the interviewing process yet the final decision was always by the client. As a result, we helped Dotmatics hire a team of 30 software engineers and some of the positions were closed from the first candidate! Today, the company works with its programmers with no intermediaries, thus has complete control over team management and software development.
At Alcor, we help IT companies build their own development teams in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and other countries in Eastern Europe. Having more than 10 years of experience in IT recruiting, we helped such companies as People.ai, Gotransverse, Ledger, and others. If you also want to hire remote game developers or programmers with other skills and tech stacks, Alcor is here for you!
Contact us to receive a free analysis of your positions!
It includes the salary ranges and availability of the requested developers in Poland, Romania, and other countries in EE (as well as time-to-hire metrics and other KPIs for your case).