The pencils are down, the data is tabulated, and now, I’m delighted to bring you the complete 2010 IGDA ARG SIG survey results. The slides are embedded below, with analysis of a few highlights following.
The survey was split into two basic sections. The first was demographic information for players and developers, and the second was a survey of salary and other work conditions for professional ARG developers. A lot of the results confirmed what we already knew or suspected, but we found some were pretty big surprises, as well.
The demographic data was a little surprising, and not in a good way. For players and developers alike, women only make up about a third of the population. It’s better than the representation found in traditional game development, but not as close to gender equity as our industry reputation might indicate. Likewise, the ethnic diversity found by the survey wasn’t what I had expected, and I’m personally very disappointed by this. I’d love it if we, as a community, could brainstorm some ways to welcome a more diverse base of players and developers into our fold.
The professional information confirmed what I’ve long suspected already. The majority of work in our field is done by freelancers working for a flat per-project rate, and the rates themselves are across the board. We come from several different disciplines, with half our respondents coming from a background in games or new media. There are also very few people earning their sole income this way — but there are definitely some. And probably because so much of the work is done on a freelance basis — or possibly an unusually biased sample — a full 60% of our respondents said they own their own studio, agency, or other legal business entity.
The actual work is, as one might suspect, highly varied — over half our respondents said they’d participated in game and narrative design, writing, consulting, and production or project management. The one thing the fewest of us do is acting, and a third of us have done that, too.
I’ve also put the original Excel document on SlideShare, if you’re interested. I’ve edited the document from the original in two ways; I’ve removed timestamps on some replies in order to prevent any privacy issues via cross-tabulation; and I removed the many, many countries with zero responses to make the data easier to understand.
Thanks to all of you who participated. Let’s do it again next year!