Us Western Programmers Have Been Taking Our Salaries For Granted.

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by gary, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. T.B.

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    True. But then again we can be pretty backwards at times. :)
    I was just amazed when some got full time offers for significantly less than I made part time back when I was a student.
    If you're a game developer in Germany, there isn't really a lot of talent that you can hire. You find someone good, you make sure you get them and keep them. Ideally long enough for them to marry so they can't leave for one of those cool foreign studios. ;)
    So I cannot understand the rational behind making a really talented guy an offer like that. And the person I'm thinking about was my junior programmer for close to a year, so I know he's good and I know you can tell from talking to him.

    Well, /rant, I guess. ;)
     
  2. ban25

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    Engineers in Japan are typically making somewhere around $45k with annual bonuses on top of that. They are also working very long hours and many places require working every other Saturday. It's a different work ethic, and honestly, I think it's helped the competitiveness of Japanese publishers. Since much of the cost of a game is in the head count, they've effectively been able to do more work with lower budgets.

    Of course, would I want to work that hard for such little pay? No, but it would certainly be fun to live in Tokyo for a year or two...
     
  3. Silent_Buddha

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    A lot of it is due to the Japanese people generally not wanting to live off handouts (government or otherwise), so would rather work for whatever wages they can get. Something American's should relearn, IMO. Minimum wage in the US is so out of whack that local businesses in my area are virtually extinct and even national Franchises have closed shop as the cost of doing business is too high due to excessively high minimum wage.

    Anyway, back to point, because of that, you don't usually have people waiting half a year+ for a good job to come along while living off the government. Instead they take the first job that comes along and keep an eye out for better opportunities.

    Also, not all things are higher priced than other high cost of living areas (San Francisco for instance :shock:). So while land is incredibly expensive, cars can be had very cheap. IE - don't even think about owning your own land (most "homeowners" rent the land their house is on - they own the house) unless you either inherit it or make well into the 6 digit after tax income range (USD equivalent). But you can easily buy a new car for under 5k with climate control, power everything, and keyless entry. :)

    Food is one of those interesting situations. Depending on what you buy. But on average you can get a decent pre-made meal (rice + pork) from a convenience store for around 4-5 USD. Restaurants are anywhere from 8 (light meal) - 20 (heavy meal) USD for a meal at something equivalent to Denny's or IHOP. But basically when I'm there working I budget about 8-12 USD for lunch and 10-18 USD for dinner. It's not cheap (unless you go the pre-made supermarket/convenience store/fast food restaurant way), but it's not much more than say San Francisco.

    And as noted, there's a lot of titles that are released in Japan that never see the light of day outside the country. Although there's been moves lately to push those products out to China, Korea, Taiwan, etc... Interactive Novel "games," hentai games, parody games, dating sims, "cute" games, Guro games, if-you-can-think-of-it-they-have-it games. Many of which probly won't sell more than 10-30k units.

    Basically try to imagine the gaming industry here making games on a porno budget with similar sell through numbers.

    And Squillian, I can show some pics of where I worked, but I don't work in the tech industry in Japan. Work tech related stuff in the US, but in Japan, I help out my step-father's company (Metal recycling, which includes recycling of computers and electronics). Not an area of work I'm entirely fond of, but the pay is great since I get an under the table cut of whatever I'm working on. I make in 3 months there more than what I make in 9 months in the states, without having to pay the cost of living while there (live with family). Haven't gone in almost 2 years though as I didn't want to put more of a burden on the company while it was struggling to survive during the recession. Went from making a healthy profit each month to losing hundreds of thousands of USD each month. And this was one of the most successful companies in that area. Lots of consolidation in that industry in that prefecture as many businesses went under and sold their companies way undercost to the bigger fish in the area. Finally showing some signs of recovery though so I'm heading back over this year.

    It's an interesting place to visit. You have to be much more careful now days when visiting there however. Lethal violence has skyrocketed there over the past few years. Last time I went there, I arrived shortly after some guy went to Akihabara and randomly knifed people while moving through the crowd.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #23 Silent_Buddha, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2010
  4. MfA

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    Hmm? Murder rate per capita is still incredibly low for 2009 ... I guess media hysteria is universal. I'll bet you that my chance of getting knifed going to a random bar over here is many times higher than visiting Akihabara, unless there are a lot of hidden Yakuza hangouts I'm not aware of there ;)

    BTW, you budget about 3 hours of minimum US federal wage for your lunch and dinner.
     
  5. London-boy

    London-boy Shifty's daddy
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    What is a 'decent' salary these days in the US?
    i.e. What would someone on 50k in the UK compare to in the US and Japan?

    The UK£ has lost so much value in the last couple of years that it's hard to get my head round how to compare salaries these days, especially compared to EU countries. Then again UK£ - € exchange rate is so f**ked up at the moment.
     
  6. upnorthsox

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    Well it isn't minimum wage as someone elluded to above, that'd be 11k a yr if you get 40 hrs a week in that kind of job.

    50k pounds sterling or 50k USD? 50k USD isn't bad outside of California or NYC. 50k pounds sterling? I don't know, I'll tell you when I'm making that :lol:
     
  7. Shifty Geezer

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    Given cost of living variations, I don't think salaries are a good measure. Tax will have a significant impact, as well other costs like housing (stupid in the UK), transport (stupid in the UK), or having to pay for medical insurance (or getting it included in pay package) in the US. A better measure perhaps, although I have no idea how it'd be measured, would be general living quality. eg. What does an average Joe get from their employment regards living conditions, working conditions, time off and luxuries, irrespective what dollar amount is enabling that.
     
  8. ban25

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    Sorry, that's bullshit. I was in Japan when that happened and it was a freak occurrence. If you want to see violence, try Oakland.
     
  9. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    Yeah, moving from the midwest back to the west coast emphasizes that. A $130,000 home in the midwest is pretty nice (depending on where you live a new 3-4 bedroom, 2 bath, basement, garage, .25-0.5 acre lot seemed typical) but won't by anything at all out here. The same house mentioned above is easily 3-4 times more in the suburbs and even more as you get close to a big city like Seattle. Small single lots run more than that in a lot of areas. The cost of living is pretty divergent in the US, at least around big cities and in a number of states (like CA).
     
  10. RobertR1

    RobertR1 Pro
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    Agreed. To be fair, lets give Richmond it's credit also. They did well to set a murder record last year.
     
  11. DuckThor Evil

    DuckThor Evil Anas platyrhynchos
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    Couldn't read further as I was dying on the floor from laughter. Nevertheless I'm interested to hear more about your programmer life. Should be great.
     
  12. London-boy

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    True, so i'll change the question...

    If a theoretical, non-existant guy/girl had enough money to rent a relatively nice 1-bed flat in central London, not exactly counting the pennies for lunch and all that; going out (not crazily) pretty much every weekend; have about 3 or 4 holidays more or less every year; save absolutely nothing and be lucky to spend less than he/she earns each month; have his/her mother endlessly whine about being more responsible every other day...

    What should he/she be asking for if he/she was planning to move to the US and have a similar lifestyle (minus the whining mother)? Say, NY and LA.
     
  13. embargiel

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    1,600 US$ per month? To put it into perspective, a lowly grad student in the States/Canada is probably getting paid only a little less than that. After taxes, if you really only take home 850 US$ a month, then that's less than a grad student's salary.

    Isn't cost of living higher in Japan than in North America? How do they manage seriously? The 9 hour working days are probably better than the working hours in the west though (I'm hearing horror stories about 70+ hours in Western game companies).
     
  14. fearsomepirate

    fearsomepirate Dinosaur Hunter
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    We had a recession every three years during that period. No, thanks.
    I get paid substantially less than that as a grad student.
    I guess the theory is that knowing you would be paid $9 an hour if you had a job compensates for not actually having a job. ;)
     
    #34 fearsomepirate, Mar 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2010
  15. embargiel

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    Really? Based on a personal experience, I know that, in some US public school, a graduate student research assistant is paid around 1300 - 1400 US$ a month, and we're talking after taxes here. Teaching assistants get paid a little less than that, a little under 1,200.

    Where I am right now in Canada (Canadian schools pay their grad students less than US schools), I know students take home around 1050 - 1100 US$ a month, depending on whether you have more funding as a research or a teaching assistant. I know that it might vary from programs to programs, so my figures might / might not be an accurate representative of grad students salaries.

    Anyway, PHDComics posted average salary for PhD students in the States, and the figure seems to match my personal experience

    http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive/phd082109s.gif

    If it is true that an average game developer only takes home about 850 US$ a month, then I would have to say, it is not at all a lot of money, especially considering the Japanese cost of living.
     
  16. green.pixel

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    Many people in Eastern/South Europe need to make it on <=300EUR(~400$)/month...
     
  17. Shifty Geezer

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    But costs in Eastern Europe (depending on where you go) are way, way lower. Housing is a fraction of the price of the UK, as is petrol, and these are two significant outlays. Thus $400 a month there could have the purchasing power of $800 a month in the UK (which incidentally is a pretty non-liveable wage without government provided financial support, so I dare say it's worth more by comparison).
     
  18. green.pixel

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    True, but it is still mere survival wage, or as you say non-liveable one.
     
  19. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    By IMF's PPP estimation for 2009, if the US is 1.0, then the prices of some countries are:

    Australia: 1.13
    Austria: 1.16
    Belgium: 1.20
    Canada: 1.02
    Cyprus: 1.01
    Czech Republic: 0.75
    Denmark: 1.52
    Finland: 1.33
    France: 1.25
    Germany: 1.15
    Greece: 0.98
    Hong Kong: 0.69
    Iceland: 0.99
    Ireland: 1.30
    Israel: 1.05
    Italy: 1.19
    Japan: 1.21
    Korea: 0.59
    Luxembourg: 1.20
    Malta: 0.78
    Netherlands: 1.20
    New Zealand: 0.95
    Norway: 1.44
    Portugal: 0.94
    Singapore: 0.70
    Slovak Republic: 0.76
    Slovenia: 0.86
    Spain: 1.05
    Sweden: 1.20
    Switzerland: 1.54
    Taiwan: 0.52
    United Kingdom: 1.02

    It seems that after two decades of economic stagnant, Japan is no longer that expensive :) Of course, it's still expensive by Asian standard but that's because Japan does not artificially undervalue their currency, unlike their neighbors.
     
  20. Shifty Geezer

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    Is higher better or worse?
     
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