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Best Cities for Video Game Development Jobs

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This article is part of our Video Game Job Hunt Guide. Read the full guide to learn how to write a strong resume, build a winning portfolio, ace your job interviews and more.

Video game developers walking through a Japanese city

Once you open your mind, there’s no telling where your video game career might take you.

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.

What Where
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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.
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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.

Top countries in the World for game development, based on number of game developers or developers/publishers: United States, England, Canada, Japan, Germany, Poland, Sweden, France, Spain, Australia, Netherlands.

Top countries in the World for game development, based on number of game developers or developers/publishers

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

Top game development cities in the United States, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers: San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Santa Monica, Bellevue, Irvine, Portland.

Top game development cities in the United States, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers

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

Top game development cities in England, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers: London, Guildford, Brighton, Cambridge, Liverpool, Lemington Spa, Leeds.

Top game development cities in England, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers

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

Top game development cities in Canada, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers: Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City.

Top game development cities in Canada, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers

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.

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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.

Top game development cities in the World, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers: Tokyo, London, San Francisco, Austin, Montreal, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Paris, Seoul, Kiev, Brisbane, Chicago, Stockholm.

Top game development cities in the World, based on number of game developers and developers/publishers

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.

What Where
Jobs by Jobs2Careers job search

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
Tokyo 58
London 48
San Francisco 46
Austin 44
Montreal 40
Los Angeles 34
Seattle 32
Vancouver 29
Toronto 24
Paris 23
Seoul 22
Kiev 20
Brisbane 19
Chicago 19
Stockholm 19
Moscow 17
Singapore 17
Copenhagen 16
New York City 16
Shanghai 16
Warsaw 16
Madrid 15
Santa Monica 15
Barcelona 14
Melbourne 14
Bellevue 12
Guildford 12
Utrecht 12
Dundee 11
Hamburg 11
Irvine 11
Portland 11
Berlin 10
Cambridge 10
Helsinki 10
Istanbul 10
Krakow 10
Osaka 10
Prague 10
Redmond 10
San Diego 10
Sao Paulo 10

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

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52 comments on “Best Cities for Video Game Development Jobs
  1. Girish Shetty says:

    Bumped on your article as I was researching on places for my son’s education. Thank you for the detailed info and this could help me plan my son’s career in game designing. I am based in Dubai, UAE and my son now in class 10 wants to pursue his career in game design and graphics. Which university you would recommend in this case and the program that could benefit his career. Since this is for an international student, we are looking for a good economical college and that which is friendly to international students too.

    Appreciate your suggestions

  2. Nice article.
    There are however some missing studio in the listing for Paris. According to the AFJV (French Agency for Video Games) 89 studios on Paris (Source: http://www.afjv.com/annuaire_studio.php?d=75 )

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Hi Fabien, thank you for linking to the Paris game studios list. This article pulled data from gamedevmap.com, which is a crowdsourced database, so it may be missing some data or may not be up to date for every city. I’ll be pulling fresh data to update this article soon. Thanks again!

  3. Tony Chan says:

    Thank you for the awesome information. I was trying to figure out all the best places to market my podcast through Facebooks ads so thank you. It’s great to see that Austin is still one of the top city. I plan to move there soon once I find a job. I’m extremely determined.

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