Software Games Survey | Video Game Compensation Survey | Croner

Software Games Survey

The Croner Software Games Survey-North America is the benchmark compensation survey of the entertainment software industry, for software gaming jobs in North America. This leading-edge report provides compensation data for jobs in all gaming platform types — including mobile, social, console, PC, cloud, handheld, MMO, casino, and virtual reality games

The Survey has provided market data about positions in companies that publish and/or develop software for entertainment in North America for 30 years.  Its scope and content have evolved each year to reflect current conditions within the industry, including the addition of the International Survey for companies based inside and outside the U.S.   Major industry players and emerging companies, rely upon the Survey results to make informed decisions about how to pay video gaming jobs –  using salary differentials to benchmark compensation, establishing job architecture, setting rational pay levels and pay structures and making informed decisions about bonus plans and equity plans.

The 2020 Croner Software Games Survey – North America Results provides data for total rewards of 30,000 employees in 57 companies in the U.S. and Canada, for 522 positions.  

2020 Croner Software Games Position Grids

Sample Position Information – Exec, IC, Sales

Participant Companies

2020 Participant Companies

United States

Activision Blizzard, Inc.
Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.
ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America, Inc.
Bonfire Studios, Inc.
Bungie, Inc.
Capcom USA, Inc.
Certain Affinity, Inc.
Cloud Imperium Games, LLC
Crystal Dynamics
Electronic Arts Inc.
Epic Games, Inc.
 Facebook, Inc.
Glu Mobile Inc.
Hasbro, Inc.
Hi-Rez Studios, Inc.
Iron Galaxy Studios, LLC
Jam City, Inc.
KingsIsle Entertainment Inc.
Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.
Madison Square Garden Company
Microsoft Corporation
MobilityWare, LLC
Mountaintop Studios, Inc.
Niantic, Inc.
Nintendo of America Inc.
Perfect World Entertainment, Inc.
Phoenix Labs
Pipeworks Studios
Pocket Gems, Inc.
Polyarc, Inc.
Proletariat, Inc.
Retro Studios, Inc.
Riot Games, Inc.
Schell Games
Scopely, Inc.
SEGA of America, Inc.
Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC
Sony Music Entertainment
Square Enix, Inc.
Storm8, Inc.
Striking Distance Studios, Inc.
Supercell Oy
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Tencent America LLC
Ubisoft, Inc.
WarnerMedia, LLC
ZeniMax Media Inc.
Zynga Inc.


Activision Blizzard, Inc.
Blackbird Interactive Inc.
Certain Affinity, Inc.
Eidos Montreal (a Square Enix Company)
Electronic Arts Inc.
FUEL, EA Sports NHL / UFC, Motive Montreal, Motive Vancouver
Epic Games, Inc.
Facebook, Inc.
Glu Mobile Inc.
Jam City, Inc.
Ludia Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Nintendo of America Inc.
Phoenix Labs
Relic Entertainment Inc.
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
WarnerMedia, LLC
ZeniMax Media Inc.
Zynga Inc.

Position Grids & Job Families Reported

To view a pdf of the complete list of positions reported by family and by level, please click here: 2020 Croner Software Games Position Grids

Job Families:
Senior Management
Studio Management
Line of Business Management
Production Management
Product Development - Creative
Live Ops Producing
Product Management
Technical Product Management
Game Directing
Systems Design
Game Design
Combat Design
Content Design
Mission / Quest Design
Technical Game Design
Economy Game Design
Level Layout Design
Incentive Game Design
Content Design
Combat Design
Mission / Quest Design
Writing / Story
Narrative Design
Sound / Audio
Technical Sound / Audio Design
Software Engineering
Technical Art
Concept Art
Effects Art
User Experience Design
User Interface / User Experience Art
User Interface Engineering
Technical Animation
Art Outsourcing Management
Artist Management
Video Editing
Trust and Safety
Technology and Infrastructure
Trust and Saftey
Server Engineering
Platform Engineering
Database Engineering
DevOps Engineering
Engine Software Engineering
Tools Software Engineering
Audio Engineering
Graphics / Rendering Engineering
Security Engineering
Release Engineering
Release Management
Technical Writing
Digital Assets Management
Quality Assurance
Quality Assurance Engineering
Quality Assurance Analysis
Quality Assurance Testing
Mastering Lab
Customer Support
In-Game Support
Operations Generalist
Brand Marketing
Product Marketing
Digital Marketing
Customer Relations Marketing
Community Architecture
User Acquisition
Channel Marketing
Influencer Marketing
Creative Services
Creative Services - Graphics / Marketing Multimedia
Creative Services - Writing
Creative Services - Project Management
Public Relations
Trade Show / Events
Esports League Operations
Esports Player Relations
Esports Shoutcasting
Esports Events / Productions
Data and Analytics
Market Research
User Experience / Usability Research
Business Competitive Research
Gameplay Analytics
Data Science
Data Analytics
Business Intelligence Engineering
Website Development
Distribution and Partnerships
Business Development
Distribution and Partnerships
Sales and Marketing Management
Sales Management
Field Sales - Regional
Field Sales - National
Advertising Sales
Programmatic Sales
Sales Analysis
Sales Administration
Account Management
Sales Marketing
Advertising Operations
Legal Services
Information Technology
Financial Planning and Analysis
Finance - Royalty Accounting
Human Resources
Technical Recruiting
Recruitment Sourcing
Internal Communications
Social Responsibility (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
Learning and Development
Outsourcing Administration

Policy Data Collected and Reported

The Full Report of Results covers Policies and Practices, including the following sections:

Participant Profile

Ownership and Business Model Overview
Types of Software
Geographic Distribution
Work Force Sizes
Start of Fiscal Year
Last Fiscal Year Revenues
Turnover Rate

Short-Term Incentive Plans

Prevalence of Short-Term Incentive Plans
Changes to Short-Term Incentive Plans
Short-Term Incentive Plan Eligibility
Short-Term Incentive Plan Design Features

Product Development-specific Incentive Plans

Prevalence of Product Development Incentive Plans
Changes to Product Development Incentive Plans
Product Development Incentive Plan Eligibility
Product Development Incentive Plan Design Features

Dealer / Distributor Sales Incentive Plans

Prevalence of Sales Plans
Changes to Sales Plans
Sales Plan Features
Cost of Dealer / Distributor Sales Compensation

Long-term Incentive Plans

Ownership Categories for Long-Term Incentive Plan Analysis
Prevalence of Long-Term Incentive Plans
Changes to Long-Term Incentive Plans
Long-Term Incentive Plan Eligibility
Long-Term Incentive Plan Design Features
New Hire and Ongoing Grants
Stock Option Plan Vesting
Restricted Stock (Units) Plan Vesting
Long-Term Incentive Award Sizes - Publicly-traded Companies
LTI Award Sizes - Percent of Total Shares Outstanding Granted in Privately-held Company

Deferred Compensation and Selected Benefits

Deferred Compensation - Retirement Plans
401(k) Plan Characteristics
Employee Stock Purchase Plans
Time off
Insurance Programs
Other Selected Benefits

To view a sample plan design table, please click here: Sample Plan Design Table

Position Data Collected and Reported

To view sample position data, please click here:
Sample Position Information - Exec, IC, Sales

The Compensation Data Report covers the following compensation elements for each position:

  •     Number of Incumbents Reported
  •     Number of Companies with Match
  •     Geographic Composition
  •     FLSA Status
  •     Total Average Supervised
  •     Incentive Plan Elgibility
  •     Incentive Plan Type
  •     LTI Elgibility
  •     LTI Awards Received
  •     Base Salary
  •     Target Total Cash Compensation
  •     Actual Total Cash Compensation
  •     Actual Cash Awards as % of Base Salary
  •     Annualized NPV of LTI Awards
  •     Total Direct Compensation
  •     Paired Comparison Postion Match Analysis for Base Salary, Actual Total Cash Compensation and Total Direct Compensation
  •     Differentials of average pay between organization levels by job family category

Data Cuts Reported Where Applicable:

Console / PC
Cloud Gaming
Social Networks
Handheld Devices
Casino Games
Virtual Reality

Business Model
Publisher with Studios
Publisher / Developer

U.S. Region Differentials reports for all positions excluding executives and Canada, compensation
information for each of six defined U.S. regions.
U.S. Selected Sub Region Differentials reports for all positions excluding executives, sales and
Canada, compensation information for selected sub regions.
U.S. Metropolitan Differentials reports for all positions excluding executives and Canada,
compensation information for selected U.S. metropolitan areas.
Canada Province Differentials reports, for all positions in Canada excluding executives, compensation
information for Canada provinces.
Canada Metropolitan Differentials reports, for all positions excluding executives, compensation
results for selected metropolitan areas.
Revenue Differentials reports, for Chief Executive Officer, compensation results by revenue category to assist participants in determining scope-related compensation.
Headcount Differentials reports, for Chief Executive Officer, compensation results by revenue category to assist participants in determining scope-related compensation.
Tenure Differentials reports compensation results for incumbents who have been with the company
sufficient time to earn a full year of incentive awards.

Tools for Analysis (provided in separate tabs in Compensation Data Results Excel workbook):

  • Methodology and Terminology
  • U.S. Chief Executive Officer Revenue Regression
  • Paired Comparision: Position Match Analysis
  • Titles Matched

Custom Cut of Data For an additional fee of $550, the participant company may select a subset of companies from the full participant list for a custom cut of data. A minimum of ten companies is required.


Participation Fees

The 2021 Participation Fee is $10,200. The fee includes the 2021 Full Report along with the Interim Salary Budget Supplement.

Custom Cut of Data for Participants
For an additional fee, a participant company may select a subset of companies from the participant list for a custom cut of the data set. A minimum selection of ten companies is required.  A custom cut of the data set for "All Incumbents" is $550. A custom rerun of the data set including all data cuts is $950.

Purchase by a Non-participant of the Current Published Report -
By signing a Participation Agreement for the 2021 Survey and paying a 50% non-refundable deposit toward the 2021 participation fee, a company may purchase the current published Survey data without having participated.  There are two purchase options:

Purchase Option #1: 2020 Full Report of Results $19,400

  • The 2020 Full Report of Results is available for purchase is $19,400 plus a non-refundable 50% deposit of $5,100 towards the 2021 participation fee.
  • Total payment required to receive the 2020 Full Report of Results is $24,500. ($19,400 purchase price plus $5,100 deposit towards 2021 participation.)
  • In order to receive the 2021 Full Report of Results,  your company's survey submission would be due in August 2020 along with the second half participation fee payment of $5,100 due in August 2021.

Purchase Option #2:  10 Positions selected from the 2020 Compensation Data Report $4,850

  • Compensation data only, for up to 10 positions, from the 2020 Full Report is $4,850, plus a non-refundable deposit of 50% towards the 2021 participation fee.
  • Total payment required is $9,500. ($4,850 purchase plus $5,100 deposit towards 2021 participation.)
  • As a committed and signed Participant for 2021, your company's survey submission would be due in August 2021 along with the second half participation fee payment of $5,100 due in August 2021.  This will entitle your organization to receive the 2021 Full Report of Results.


Survey Schedule

Survey Planning Meeting: May 6, 2021
Questionnaire Distribution: Early July
Data Effective Date: July 1
Completion Deadline: August 15
Full Report of Results Published: Late November
Report of Results Webinar: Mid December 
Salary Budgets Survey Supplement: August Questionnaire Distribution, Results Published in September



The Croner Company conducts this Survey as an independent third party to ensure the confidentiality and consistency of the data provided. All data are held in strict confidence and are reported only in summary form. No attribution is made to any specific data from any participating companies. The Croner Company aggregates data using DOJ "Safe Harbor Guidelines" to ensure full regulatory compliance of the Survey report. Survey reports are distributed only to participants and all participants are required to sign an agreement that confirms they will abide by our confidentiality standards.

Register to Participate

To register your company for participation in this Survey or to ask questions about participation, please contact us at +1-415-485-5521 or