If you’re looking for a new job making video games, I hope you’re thinking seriously about which cities around the world to include in your search.
Why? Because although there are over 2,000 game development studios around the world, not all cities are created equal. Some stand clearly apart from the rest when it comes to game development. They’re known as “game development hotbeds” because they contain more game dev studios – and more game jobs – than any others.
Wherever you happen to live right now, you’ll want to consider moving to a video game development hotbed. In fact, the city where you find your next job might be the most important decision you make in your entire career. Here’s why.
Why move to a game development hotbed?
Why move to a rain-soaked city like Seattle, Washington, when you could work at a game dev studio in a sunny beach town like Tampa, Florida?
The answer is, because Tampa is home to just 3 game studios, while Seattle is bursting at the seams with over 30 game studios. (Seattle is also brimming with hundreds of delicious teriyaki shops, but that’s beside the point.)
There are a number of good reasons why you’d want to live and work in a game dev hotbed city:
- Career security. Notice that I didn’t say job security. The video game industry can be volatile, and layoffs at any game studio could happen without notice, so job security isn’t always high. But when you live in a city that has a dozen or more other game studios, it’s faster and easier to get a new job if you do get laid off. Developers in hotbed cities often get hired at new jobs within days of a layoff, sometimes without even having to apply. Now that’s career security.
- Concentration of talent. Because hotbed cities have a lot of game jobs, they attract hundreds of highly talented developers. What does that mean for you? It means that, especially if you’re new to the industry, you’ll get to work with – and learn from – some of the most talented developers in the world.
- Size fuels growth. When a group of people start thinking about where to open a new game studio, one of their top considerations is the ability to easily find experienced and talented people to hire. Game dev hotbeds have more developers than anywhere else, so it’s common for new dev studios to be started in a hotbed city. That means more job opportunities for you.
Top countries in the world for game development jobs
While some cities have more game jobs than others, some of those hotbed cities are concentrated in particular countries. Here’s a chart showing some of the top countries for game development studios in the world.
You can see that while the top game development country by far is the United States, the countries of England, Canada and Japan are also chock full of game development companies. Even the Netherlands, at #11 on the list, weighs in at a hefty 49 game studios.
Most of the top game dev countries are in North America and Europe, so it looks to be worth considering a move if you’re outside of those regions if you want to be in a hotbed. Let’s take a look at the top game dev cities in the top game dev countries in the world.
Top game development cities in the United States
If you want to work in the United States, the West Coast is clearly a good place to look for game jobs. California alone offers nearly 100 game studios, and if you combine Seattle and its suburb of Bellevue, then Washington State comes in at 44 hotbed studios on par with Texas (apparently, Austin really is keeping Texas weird.) Oregon State offers 22 studios, Illinois represents for the Midwest at 19 studios, and New York pulls weight for the East Coast with its 16 studios.
Top game development cities in England
As with many things English, it’s impossible to overlook the power of London, which is England’s mega-hotbed with 45 game development studios. But from there, the island is your oyster with choices from Leeds in the north to Brighton on the southern coast. Why not explore? If you end up working late, the doner kebab is plentiful.
Top game development cities in Canada
For several years, Canada has offered healthy subsidies to entice technology companies to start or relocate “north of the border.” That brilliant economic strategy seems to have paid off, as Canada now sits at the #3 spot among countries with the most game development studios in the world. From Montreal, Ottowa, and Quebec City in the east, all the way to Vancouver lying 5,000 kilometers to the west, Canada offers over 100 video game studios located in hotbed cities. I do hope you like poutine.
Top game development cities in the World
The US, England and Canada have a lot to offer you for game jobs. But those are just the top countries for game dev studios – if we break things down purely by city instead of grouping by country, we find a large number of impressive game dev hotbed cities located all around the world.
Long famous for game development, Tokyo, Japan is a heavyweight with nearly 60 game companies including the likes of Bandai Namco, Konami, Hudson Soft, and Square Enix. Not to mention you’re only a few train stops away from Harajuku, where you’re welcome to rock your favorite video game cosplay 24/7.
Seoul, South Korea has become famous for its passionate and highly-skilled RTS athletes. So it’s no surprise that it’s a home to over 20 game studios including industry heavies like Ubisoft, Epic, Taito, and Blizzard. If you don’t usually care to go Gangnam style, you just might be into it after a plate of bulgogi and many little cups of soju.
You’ve got choices!
With even more options like Kiev, Stockholm, or Brisbane, there’s no excuse not to explore the world while still pursuing your game dev career in one of the best ways possible: by relocating to a game development hotbed.
The entire planet is your game world, and it’s time to level up.
List of top game development cities with over 10 studios
Since there are too many video game hotbed cities to fit in a cute little donut chart, here’s a table listing all the cities that are home to 10 or more game developer or game developer/publishing companies.
|City||# Game Development Studios|
|New York City||16|
To assemble these charts, I used raw data from the comprehensive crowd-sourced database at GameDevMap.com and collated by the various dimensions using pivot tables in Microsoft Excel. Thanks so much to GameDevMap for providing such an excellent data source for job-hunting game developers around the world. Please visit GameDevMap.com to explore game studios and publishers from an interactive map-based interface.
Photo: Sira Anamwong / freedigitalphotos.net