Valve Is the Most Desirable Employer in Video Games, Study Finds

In new study from the IGDA, Half-Life and Steam company beats out Activision, BioWare, Ubisoft, and Naughty Dog, as well as self-employment.

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Which video game industry company is the most attractive for people looking for a job? According to a recent study, that award goes to Half-Life and Steam company Valve. The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) today published the results of a 2014 survey of more than 2,200 developers, with Valve taking the top spot, above even "my own company." That's right, more people would rather work for Valve than for themselves.

Valve's Doug Lombardi tells GameSpot, "It's awesome."

Below are the results of the IGDA's study, which was based on data from the group's annual developer satisfaction survey. For the study, the verbatim question put to developers was, "What developer/publisher would you most like to work for?" It's not hard to see why Valve might be a desirable choice for people breaking into the business or looking for a new opportunity.

Valve is a major player in the industry, but unlike the others listed here (except for "my own company"), Valve is privately owned. This means it is not subject to the same pressures as publicly traded companies; after all, once a company goes public, management is tasked with growing shareholder value. People at Valve also don't have bosses, can take as much vacation time as they want, and desks are on wheels to encourage constant dialogue and collaboration between employees.

You can read more about Valve's unique culture in the company's employee handbook [PDF]. The company's structure has not been universally praised, however. Last summer, former hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth blasted Valve for feeling "like high school." She also said at the time that, though Valve doesn't have bosses in the traditional sense, there exists a "hidden layer of powerful management."

The most desirable developer or publisher employers, according to the IGDA study:

  1. Valve (Half-Life, Steam, Portal)
  2. My own company
  3. Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Skylanders)
  4. BioWare (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Star Wars: The Old Republic)
  5. Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance)
  6. Current employer
  7. Nintendo (Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong)
  8. Naughty Dog (The Last of Us, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted)
  9. Double Fine (Brutal Legend, Psychonauts, Broken Age)
  10. Bethesda Game Studios (Fallout, The Elder Scrolls)

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