A Qualitative Assessment of Video Game Programmers: Ego vs Job Desirability

This is the result of years of rigorous interviews while I was “embedded” with game programmers from many different backgrounds. I found that SPU (the PS3 coprocessor instruction set) programmers by far have the largest ego, but not necessarily the most desirable job. Shader programmers have the perceived “coolest” jobs in the industry but don’t have quite the same ego as SPU programmers. PS3 game programmers believe they are better than Xbox 360 programmers, but Xbox 360 programmers have a more desirable job because their games reach a wider audience. PSP game programmers are a bit of an anomaly because they believe the work they do is very challenging, but no one in the industry particularly wants to make PSP games. Mobile, Flash, and iPhone programmers are at the bottom of both ends of the spectrum: their jobs are neither desirable or carry much ego.