Game Journalism Business Basics

Video game journalism salary - an overview

How much do video game journalists make, and what kind of salary can you expect if you're a freelance game writer? The answer can vary greatly depending on where you work, what kind of journalist you are, how many years you've been in the field, and how good you are at negotiating contracts.

For most freelance video game journalists, their salary varies from month to month and year to year depending on factors such as big game releases and competition in the industry. For full-time salaried game writers, these numbers are a little more straightforward. Below we'll explore a little bit of both these areas so you can get a feel for how much game journalists make.

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What is the average salary for a video game journalist?

When you take out all of the variables and just look at raw pay, the average yearly salary for a video game journalist in the US is right around $51,000. Adjusting for currencies, that number stays about the same in other countries such as the UK, Australia, or around Europe. This is a relatively high salary when compared to other jobs in the media industry, though it obviously leaves some room for improvement.

Of course, for freelance game journalists this number varies wildly. One informal survey pegged about a third of journalists making between zero and $20k per year, with a quarter sitting somewhere between $20-40k. Only about a fifth of the surveyed game writers made $40-60k, and roughly the same fraction made $65k and up.

Putting all of this info together means about 39% of game journalists make more than $40,000 per year, which is about the same as 20 USD per hour. This survey doesn't control for factors like full- or part-time work, so the numbers will necessarily be skewed. If a freelance game journalists only works part-time but brings in $25k per year, that's the full-time equivalent of $50k.

How much you can make with additional skills or experience?

As with any profession, video game journalism offers opportunities for advancement and higher pay based on experience and skill level. Those who have been working as a game journalist for a number of years find that they are able to command a higher salary than those who are just starting out. This is simply because experienced writers can prove their worth to potential employers and know that their time is more valuable than it once was.

Freelance game journalists arguably have more changes to increase their earnings, as the freelancing life is all about seeking new opportunities every single day. The catch is that when you're on your own, working gigs for a variety of different outlets, you need to constantly push yourself to find more work, better paying work. If you stop applying to jobs you'll stop increasing your earnings and your salary will plummet.

Honestly, if you push yourself, stay persistent, write well, and know what your time is worth, you can carve out a healthy salary as a freelance game journalist. It won't be easy, but then again, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

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