In mid-August 2014, a number of game-related news outlets ran a story based on press release data from the IGDA about the most desirable employer in the video game industry.
Eddit Makuch on Game Spot: Valve Is the Most Desirable Employer in Video Games, Study Finds
Jessica Conditt on Joystiq: Devs would rather work for Valve than go indie, IGDA finds
Gamasutra: IGDA: Valve is the #1 place developers want to work
Mike Eaton on Twinfinite: IGDA Survey Reveals Valve to be Most Desirable Company
Destructoid: IGDA survey: Game devs want to work at Valve
GamePolitics: IGDA Survey: Most Developers Want to Work For Valve
Reddit (as of Aug 22, 2014): Valve Is the Most Desirable Employer in Video Games, Study Finds
The press release was based on data from the 2014 IGDA Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS). The curators of gameqol.org have been extensively involved in the design, administration and analysis of this survey and can give you more detail surrounding the findings.
The question “What developer/publisher would you most like to work for?” was asked to 2445 people and 1559 of them gave what we call a valid answer to the question – so something that was not leaving the field blank or putting in gobbledygook. Of those, 151 people wrote in answers that were not specific companies or employers. So people wrote things like:
- I would love to work for any company at this point. As long as I can do art, I’m happy.
- One that pays well and is organizationally mature
- Any with a studio in a warm, southern location
- Any developer/publisher who truly valued my abilities.
In this group it is important to note that 37 people said they were ‘not sure’, 31 said ‘none’, 11 said ‘no preference’ and 24 said they wanted to work for an indie, any indie.
So that leaves 1408 people who actually listed a company name, or said ‘my own company’ or ‘my current employer’. Of these answers there were 204 employers listed, including ‘my own company’ and ‘my current employer’. This last one potentially muddies the data because some people might have listed the actual name of their current employer, but not indicated that it was their current employer. So… we’ll keep that category in here, but we need to interpret those numbers with care because they are likely higher than reported. Similarly some people could have listed a company other than their own thinking they had to make a different choice. Surveys can be a little tricky that way.
You can see the whole list at the bottom of this post. Of those 204 companies, 113 of them were mentioned by only one person.
As reported in the news, Valve comes out on top with 170 people ‘voting’ for it. This represents 12.07% of the valid sample of company responses. What is interesting and not apparent in the raw rankings is that “My own company” comes in at a very close second with 166 responses or 11.79% of the valid sample.
It is a quite a large step down from there to the third ranked company Blizzard which has 5.26% of the responses. Though the press release grouped Activision with Blizzard in the news report, game developers listed Blizzard and Activision separately. So many of you were right when you mused in your comments to the news pieces that it was the Blizzard component that put Activision Blizzard in the third ranked slot. On its own, Activision came in at number 18, representing 0.85% of the company responses sample. Added to Blizzard the percent is 6.11% and still 3rd place.
Another important piece of information that is similar to this Activision and Blizzard distinction is that many developers specified a particular studio or studio location when they listed large developer-publishers like EA, Rockstar, and Ubisoft. For the chart you see here and for the IGDA press release these were grouped together, but it is interesting and informative that developers make distinctions within these conglomerates. These distinctions could be based on a host of factors such as the games made at that particular studio, the particular management or working conditions or culture of particular studios, other ‘star’ developers who might be working there, or the geographical location. This is particularly noteworthy given the many mergers and acquisitions and the many spin-offs that occur in the game industry. Legacy seems to matter.
For those looking for their company, here’s the full list of 204 with number of responses and valid percent for each in addition to the raw ranking:
What developer/publisher would you most like to work for?
|10||Bethesda Game Studios||41||2.91|
|22||CD Projekt RED||6||0.43|
|22||Zenimax Online Studios||6||0.43|
|24||Platinum Games Inc.||4||0.28|
|25||Crowd Control Productions||3||0.21|
|26||Next Level Games||2||0.14|
|26||Take 2 Interactive||2||0.14|
|26||Tale Worlds Entertainment||2||0.14|
|26||Traveller’s Tales / TT Games||2||0.14|
|27||B-TOWN GURU SUPREME||1||0.07|
|27||Cloud Imperium Games||1||0.07|
|27||Elephant Mouse LLC||1||0.07|
|27||Grinding Gear Games||1||0.07|
|27||Hi Rez studio||1||0.07|
|27||Ice Pick Lodge||1||0.07|
|27||Might and Delight||1||0.07|
|27||New World Psychobyte Entertainment||1||0.07|
|27||Planet Forge Games||1||0.07|
|27||Puzzles by Joe||1||0.07|
|27||RAD Game Tools||1||0.07|
|27||Red Hook Studio||1||0.07|
|27||Red Thread Games||1||0.07|
|27||Salsa Bear Studios||1||0.07|
|27||Space Dust Studios||1||0.07|
|27||Space Monkeys Down||1||0.07|
|27||Sports Mogule Inc.||1||0.07|
|27||Starlight Runner Entertainment||1||0.07|
|27||The Chinese Room||1||0.07|
|27||The creative assembly||1||0.07|
|27||The Mixah Game Studio||1||0.07|
|27||The Workshop Entertainment||1||0.07|
|27||Turtle Rock Studios||1||0.07|
|27||VMC QA Studio||1||0.07|
|27||Wizards of the Coast||1||0.07|