The Game Developers Census released at the end of October showed the number of game developers working on staff in the game industry in North America. Results show more developers work in the industry now than ever, leading to questions about who, exactly, is swelling those ranks and in what positions. But is it recession-proof?
The census indicates that there are 13% more people employed in the industry than last year, with the highest increase in Canada. If you live in the US and work in the game industry, there’s nearly a 50% chance you live in California. This statistic describes the Writers Cabal to a tee — half of us lives in the Golden State.
Where are the extra developers finding work? According to the census, they’ve been added to next-gen games as well as to MMOs and virtual worlds. Good news for writers, especially in the case of MMOs! Developers may be getting the message that hiring specialized writers makes for better games. Purely anecdotal evidence suggests more companies are hiring writers on staff. Where do you think the additional developers are employed?
Yesterday, while my handyman was fixing one of my windows, we ended up talking about the entertainment industry. He repeated the old standby that entertainment was recession-proof, because ten dollars for a movie was still affordable. I replied that just because people were willing to buy doesn’t mean the company had a business plan that worked — some rely on independent funding or advertising, which are affected by the economy.
The census suggested that the down economy hasn’t had an impact on the industry itself, but I think we’ll only know that when the next census comes around. Brash Entertainment recently laid off some workers due to a “tough economy,” although the tough economy they could be referring to poor sales on their games over the last year.
What do you think? Do you think the game industry will escape entirely unscathed from the economy, or do you know of companies that have already had to adjust their financials?