How to hire freelance Game developers in 2024

Updated on July 12, 2024
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Kelly Wilson
Written by Kelly Wilson

Strategist and entrepreneur, with experience in hiring developers across various industries. Kelly has established herself as a trusted expert in identifying and recruiting top tech talent. She shares advanced tips on how to identify the right talent, create hiring strategies, develop your tech teams and much more.

Expertise: IT Recruiting, Tech, Marketing

Dive into the world of game development with our comprehensive hiring guide. Discover expert insights, practical tips, and a step-by-step approach to finding and hiring skilled game developers. Explore top talent platforms, assess technical proficiency, and evaluate candidates' creative skills. With our guide, you'll assemble a talented team of game developers who can breathe life into your gaming visions, create captivating experiences, and leave players wanting more.

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Here are the top 5 sites to hire freelance Game developers:

Based on facts publicly available as of 01.01.2024

1. Toptal

Toptal is a matching service that was created with a key focus on tech talent. However, over the years, the company has expanded its expertise and pool of professionals to include some of the best game programmers for hire.

If you want someone who can get started with the project immediately and does a fantastic job at it, picking someone from Toptal would be your best bet. That’s because Toptal has expert freelancers and programmers who have been thoroughly vetted for their professionalism and expertise.

According to Toptal, only 3% of applicants (including game developers and designers) make it through their battery of technical tests and their comprehensive vetting process. You also have the option to have a special project manager from Toptal help you put together a development team.

Key points:

  • Enjoy a risk-free trial for up to 5 days.
  • Completed over 60,000 projects for 25K+ satisfied clients.
  • Trustpilot rating of 4.8 out of 5.

2. Gun.io

Some of the world’s top brands such as Cisco, NBC, and Tesla to small and medium-sized businesses, all turn to Gun.io to hire game developers. The platform does most of the hiring work for you wherein they find, vet, and offer some of the best talent.

Whether you’re looking for someone to develop a video game or someone to do mobile game development for Android and iOS, Gun.io can help. The team primarily operates in the US which makes collaboration across time zones easy and manageable.

A game app developer for hire on Gun.io has to go through seven stages of assessment to ensure that they have the required skills, talent, and technical know-how to deliver top-quality projects.

Key points:

  • Gun.io typically provides a list of skilled developers within five days.
  • Senior tech experts assess and vet developers.
  • Gun.io matches you with global talent from its headquarters in Nashville, TN.

3. Hired

Similar to most other freelance marketplaces, Hired also properly vets the game developers before accepting them on its platform. Additionally, Hired also offers a few more assessments to ensure that you find the best programmers and freelancers for your project.

You can use their pipeline to hire game developers by creating a company profile and searching through a large candidate pool using their own search algorithm. Pick the experts you like, interview them, and get started.

The only caveat here is that this whole process can take up to 25 days and if you’re building a development team then it could potentially take longer.

Key points:

  • Get a dedicated account manager and unlimited job posts with an annual subscription.
  • Hired has an optional talent-matching service for faster results.
  • Candidate profiles include individual skill assessment scores.

4. Gigster

As a platform, Gigster helps businesses to grow and innovate by giving them qualified game developers who can handle projects of all kinds. From augmented reality to creating 3D games, the experts on the platform are qualified to handle it all.

There’s a simple process on Gigster to hire game developers wherein you explain your project and requirements to them and the platform will put together a team for you. The company also offers advanced tools for better productivity, a shared development environment with advanced analytics, and the technology needed to build a world-class game.

Key points:

  • Gigster provides a custom proposal based on your project needs.
  • Hiring options include single developers and fully managed teams.
  • Gigster vetting accepts only 1% of applicants to ensure quality.

5. Fiverr Pro

Fiverr Pro takes the regular Fiverr platform a notch up. Every game designer on this platform is thoroughly vetted and verified to ensure you get the best of the lot. Only freelancers and programmers with the highest ratings and feedback scores make it to the Pro platform.

The only difference between Fiverr and Fiverr Pro is on the latter, game developers and designers study the details of your project and reach out to you. Unlike Toptal and Gigster, this isn’t a matching service. Therefore, to ensure you’re getting the right talent, it’s vital that you write a detailed project description.

Key points:

  • The FP Business Success Team provides guidance and assistance.
  • Vetting considers high-quality deliveries, customer satisfaction, and technical and communication skills.
  • Select your own developers or ask for talent-matching services.

Guide to hiring great freelance Game developers

The video game industry is booming, making it more challenging to secure professional talent for your projects. Therefore, finding the ideal platform to help you quickly locate, assess, and hire game developers is essential.

Finding talent does not have to be difficult. Sites like Toptal simplify the process by offering a quick way to employ world-class game developers by matching ideal prospects to your needs.

With this platform, you do not need to search for, run background checks on, or interview freelancers. Because of their rigorous screening process, Toptal only accepts 3% of applicants. Contractors are ready to work as soon as you approve them, and a no-risk trial period ensures complete satisfaction.

You can also check Craigslist or social media sites to hire game developers. These may be your best option if you have time and would rather handle all the legwork. However, expect finding a qualified candidate to take longer.

Standard job sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Hired are also viable spots is you wonder where to hire game developers. Your results may depend on what you wish to invest in premium services. Additionally, you typically have to study reviews and profiles as well as conduct interviews to find the right person, which can increase the time to hire.

What Is Game Development?

Game development is the process of designing, programming, and producing a video game. Turning an exciting idea into a playable experience requires a complex understanding of game design principles, computer programming techniques, and artistic talent.

The power and impact of gaming are visible in its global market size, which nearly hit $200 billion recently. The release of a highly anticipated game can even outperform large Hollywood blockbuster movies. Video game companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are household brands with products that touch all ages.

Another feature of gaming is the potential to boost brand recognition, educate, or simply earn more money. Worldwide brands such as Adidas, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton collaborate with game developers to create events that draw more eyes to their labels.

Another example is the Sargiato Foundation, which decided to create a campaign to draw attention to the plight of homeless animals. The program led to the purchase of over 300 pounds of food for needy creatures.

Companies are aggressively seeking the best talent, with firms hiring software engineers, project managers, and other professionals to create the best gaming experiences possible.

What Is a Game Developer?

A game developer is a person or a team that designs and creates video games. They work on the overall look, feel, and play of a video game from programming, design, audio production to visual development. They usually have experience in software engineering and computer graphics as well as being fluent in coding languages such as C++, Lua, HTML5 and many others. Game developers often specialize in specific genres of games, but can develop any type of gaming product.

What Does a Freelance Game Developer Do?

Top game developers may work with various experts to create their products. Character designers, coders, story writers, and animators are a few of the roles to fill for creating a complete gaming experience.

When you hire game programmers with a high level of expertise, you can streamline the process and ensure the smooth functioning of overall game mechanics. Experienced developers also often have access to high-end hardware and software tools that would otherwise be unavailable to amateurs.

Programmers often specialize in particular programming languages that serve different hardware and software requirements. A few of the top languages are:

  • C++
  • Java
  • HTML5
  • Python
  • Lua
What Do Game Developers Do

A more accomplished programmer may have experience in C++. Newer coders will likely be familiar with Lua, which works well for simple mobile games. If you need a game for iOS, you probably need a programmer adept at using Swift.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the growth in software developers outpaces most occupations and even many other technical fields. The increase in employment sits at just over 25%.

This reality means it can be a challenge to vet and hire talent. Fortunately, matching services can locate ideal candidates in as little as a couple of days.

When Should You Hire a Dedicated Game Developer?

Hiring freelance game developers is a huge help for both SMBs and larger enterprises. Firms often hire talented programmers for interactive gaming software, educational games, virtual reality developments, arcade simulations or mobile game development. These games can be part of marketing campaigns to build brand identity or to create a fun way for customers to interact with products or services.

Immersive 3D experiences with realistic physics and integrated AI systems can provide feedback and instructions that adapt in real-time. With augmented reality taking a more central role in commerce and entertainment, hiring the right freelance game developer can put your brand experience light-years ahead of the competition.

Additionally, you should hire freelance game programmers adept at designing and coding user interfaces that maximize accessibility and convenience for players of all ages, skill levels, and physical abilities.

How To Find Game Developers for Hire?

When seeking to hire professional game developers, you have a few options. Bringing on full-time team members is ideal for web and tech teams intending to keep the team in-house. Employers wishing to grow their development squad without the drawbacks of bringing on permanent employees may opt for part-time staffing instead.

Independent contracting is popular for the freedom it offers the workers and hiring companies. The cost savings, flexible hours, convenience, and terms of employment make it attractive. Hiring remote game developers is a cost-effective option for finding qualified candidates worldwide.

Hire Top Game Developers

When hiring game designers, you should review their portfolio of work and understand the type of games they can produce. You may find it beneficial to get to know them personally. Then you can understand who your hire is and if the person matches your project's tone and objectives and your team's spirit.

Draw up a project description that makes abundantly clear what the assignment involves. Last-minute surprises that were not part of the initial contract or description create frustrated teammates. This gives you a poor reputation, making it harder to attract top talent in the future.

A trial period may help you gauge actual output. You will better understand the individual's working style and whether outcomes match expectations.

What Skills Should You Look For To Hire the Best Game Developers?

Businesses need to be diligent in seeking and recruiting qualified game developers. Beyond having comprehensive coding knowledge, they should possess several soft skill sets.

You should hire game developers with aptitudes in:

  • Writing efficient code and debugging programs
  • Excellent graphic design capabilities
  • Proficiency in creating interesting storylines
  • Experience using sound editing tools
  • Robust animation techniques
  • The ability to work collaboratively

Seek candidates that demonstrate a strong command of these attributes so your projects will maintain peak quality standards.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire Top Game Developers?

This career is so desirable that training is now accessible in the halls of higher education. The top designers easily make over six figures yearly plus bonuses. The average income sits at $101,000, but individual earners vary substantially above and below that figure.

Typical pay for developers depends on their education and experience. Game programmers do similarly well, with salaries starting at $44,000 and going up to over $120,000 for senior team leads.

This data does not mean companies always have to pay top dollar to hire. For example, Gameplay Developer recommends hourly rates between $20 and $30. This range puts workers between $44,000 and $60,000 yearly.

By isolating the skills and qualities you require for a project, you can avoid selecting someone overqualified for the job. Freelancing gives opportunities to capable newcomers who need more experience before they can command top dollar.

Tips for Writing a Game Developer Job Description

If you use a freelance site or a job board to hire game developers, you need to master the art of writing a strong job description. A game developer job description should clearly convey the future candidate’s qualifications, skills and responsibilities. Writing a strong job description gives your team a higher chance of landing the right person.

Once you have a short list of potential developers, you have to evaluate them in a fair and unbiased way. You should aim to assess using multiple methodologies to get a better idea of each applicant’s strengths. Consider different interview styles, such as behavioral interviews, to evaluate problem-solving abilities.

Common Interview Questions To Ask When You Are Looking To Hire a Game Developer

It is always a good idea to go into an interview prepared with a list of essential questions for the job. Good interviewers should ask about the game developer’s technical skills, problem-solving ability and soft skills. An interview can also give you a better idea of the candidate’s work habits.

One sample thing that you should ask is, “Explain your game development process from concept to finish product.” The person you interview should be able to detail the steps required for programming and designing a game. They should indicate an understanding of the entire development process for coding a game, the testing procedure, design elements and launch.

Next, you should ask, “What is your experience with game development programs?” A strong candidate should have experience with gaming programs that are common in the industry. Look for expertise in C++, GameMaker Studio, Unreal Engine, Godot and Adobe software.

The last question that should be on your list is, “How has feedback helped you improve a game design?” Game developers need to use feedback from testers and other people involved in the design to improve gameplay. A developer should be able to give an example of a time when they incorporated feedback into game updates and made the final product more successful.

How Can You Find the Best Sites To Hire Game Developers?

Hiring the best game developer for software development is not going to be an easy task. Unless you’re aware of all the minute details and have a great hiring experience, you most likely will find it challenging to navigate the complexities of hiring a quality game developer. This is why all these sites can help you along the way.

The gaming industry is on a boom with 63% of the developers creating games for PC and has been over the past few years. There are various reasons for this. Some of them being the continued growth of the gaming industry as a whole. As video games become more accessible and gain a larger following, more businesses are considering how game programming can help their business needs.

Game design is about the gaming experience. Good game developers take your idea or concept and develop, program, and engineer a great game that engages the user and produces great results.

When it comes to hiring talented game developers with years of experience, matching services such as Toptal, Hired, and Gun.io, are great solutions. Not only do they promise top-quality candidates, but they also save you a lot of your precious time.

On the other hand, freelance marketplaces such as Upwork and People Per Hour that allow you to take the lead on hiring by going through different profiles and picking the ones you like the most. If you have a lot of time to spare, then these can be great choices.

Hiring Sources for Game DevelopersBenefits of Source
Freelancer SitesLow cost and large user database
Developer Hiring FirmsHigher chance of recruiting skilled workers
Job FairsIn-person interactions and instant interviews
Word of MouthRecommendations from other colleagues
UniversitiesFresh perspective from new hires

Find the best game programmers for your next game project

Ultimately, which sites you use to hire game developers depends on a various factors, such as:

  • The timeline are you looking at for hiring team members
  • ​The type of game developers you need, such as full-time, part-time, contract, or freelance
  • Do you need a console game developer or a mobile game developer
  • How much hiring experience you have with game development services or video game developers
  • Do you have the necessary technical know-how to vet the candidate and the necessary programming languages such as Unity3D, Unreal Engine, Javascript, Java, or PHP
  • What level of experience those game developers need
  • Does your project management support remote work or not
  • What kind of budget do you have for web development and game development
  • How important quality is to your project(s)

Hiring Game developers - FAQs

Are Game Developers in Demand?

The global gamer community increases in numbers yearly, along with the popularity of virtual reality systems. These facts indicate that the demand for high-quality game developers should increase more than 25% by 2031.

Why Should You Hire a Game Developer?

There are 3.09 million active video gamers worldwide in 2023, and the number increases yearly. The video gaming industry is worth almost $200 billion. Today’s gamers expect high-quality graphics and sound, immersive experiences, and challenges. Game developers turn an idea into a playable experience through expert design and programming, using constantly upgraded technologies.

Many companies capitalize on the gaming trend to increase brand awareness, while others produce complex games to generate profit. It often takes a variety of talented game developers to create games that people enjoy and want to keep playing.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Game Developer?

While a game developer’s annual salary ranges from $50,500 to $180,000 in the U.S., the average salary is $115,155 or $55 per hour. Skill level, years of experience, and location are contributing factors. Hiring a freelance game developer often saves money without sacrificing quality.

Where can I find freelance Game developers?
Some of the best platforms to hire are:
  • Toptal
  • Gun.io
  • Gigster
  • Hired
  • Fiverr Pro

See the complete list of sites to hire Game developers.

What is the most popular gaming technology?
The most popular gaming trend is the use of mobile devices. Nearly 90% of all gamers play on handheld units, with the estimated number being over 150 million.
What are the different stages of game development?
Game development comprises seven stages: planning, pre-production, production, testing, pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. The process often requires an organization to hire game developer teams to complete all phases successfully.
What are the different gaming technologies?
Gaming technologies include games on consoles, on mobile devices, over the cloud, and with virtual or augmented reality. Recent advances include gesture controls, voice recognition, facial recognition, and high-definition graphics.

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