Last year, it was decided that a new California law would require video game publishers to post salaries in their job listings to increase transparency in the job market. That law is now in effect, although several publishers and developers seem to be attempting to find loopholes by posting huge salary ranges for specific roles, likely in an attempt to keep specific salaries vague.
First shared by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, one such company posting wide salary ranges is Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard, much to the surprise of almost no one. Schreier shares two job listings, each one for a very specific role, both of which are listed with salaries ranging between $134,000 – $247,900 and $80,800 – $149,400 respectively.
It's not just Activision Blizzard at it either, as several other companies based in California are doing their damn best to make sure the salaries they're now forced to list are obscure as possible. For example, even though Schreier says the studio is known for paying employees quite generously, Los Angeles-based Riot Games has also listed similarly large salary ranges for certain roles.
It's a similar story for Redwood City-based Electronic Arts, which has posted salary ranges of between $129,050 – $204,600 and $157,450 – $245,500 for two senior roles. This would be fairly normal if you were factoring in experience, but Schreier also notes that these salary ranges are specifically posted for tiered positions, meaning there probably shouldn't be almost $100,000 difference in salaries between two senior developers.
One of the more baffling examples in this entire thread is courtesy of Netflix. While not strictly a game developer, the company is looking for a game director, and has posted a job listing with a salary range of $150,000 to $500,000. Again, experience will play a key role in how much a potential game director could earn, but that range doesn't really help anyone trying to figure out how much game directors are typically paid.
That's pretty much the point when studios post huge salary ranges though. Obscuring how much money a role should typically make someone gives a developer or publisher much more control in the way it pays its employees. It gives them the upper hand in wage negotiations if an employee is unsure what the typical wage is, which is likely why the law to make things more transparent was introduced in the first place. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have done much good.
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