The Bandai Namco logo over a shot of Stormveil Castle from Elden Ring

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Bandai Namco Announces Significant Pay Raise For Developers

February 28, 2022

By: Joseph Allen

 
 

Bandai Namco has announced it will be raising its base developer pay rate in April. Employees will get a raise of more than $5k per annum, with the starting salary also increasing significantly for graduates and entry-level employees.

Why is Bandai Namco raising its base pay?

According to a Bandai Namco press release (for which we're using reporting by Automaton Media alongside machine translation), Bandai Namco is raising basic salary for employees by around 50,000 yen per month, which works out at around $5,000 per year. In addition, the starting salary is increasing from 232,000 yen (around $2000) to 290,000 yen (about $2500). The press release says this is in line with Bandai Namco's new "connect with fans" mission, part of which involves promoting "diverse human resources in various fields". Studio pay is becoming more of a hot topic, as publishers and developers like Team17 contend with staff alleging awful pay and bad working conditions.

 

Elden Ring, Little Nightmares II, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Project Cars 3, all Bandai Namco games
You've probably played one of Bandai Namco's many popular games; they're responsible for Elden RingDragon Ball FighterZ, and Project Cars 3, among others.

As well as raising base pay, Bandai Namco says it's also allowing employees to choose where and when they work "according to their purpose" (again, we're using machine translation here). There are, however, a few unknowns at play. Notably, Bandai Namco's press release doesn't make any mention of international employees; the amounts are all in yen, and any reference to non-Japanese employees is absent from the text. Of course, Japanese employees aren't named specifically, and mentions of "diverse human resources" and connecting with gamers "around the world" could suggest a global policy shift for Bandai Namco. We've contacted the studio for comment and clarification on this.

Gaming is an industry grappling with its human resources

Bandai Namco is raising its employee pay at a time when many companies in the industry are grappling with improper human resources management. Some stories have positive elements; last year, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer 38 Studios was able to pay back some of its employees for a percentage of their unpaid wages after the studio went bankrupt in 2012 (albeit not everything that was owed, and not to everyone). Others, however, are less positive. The Materia Collective, a music publishing outfit, has come under frequent criticism for its inability to properly compensate its artists, while in late 2020, Life Is Fuedal: MMO shuttered its doors after publisher Xsolla withheld payments from developer Bitbox.

 
 
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, a re-release of the 2012 RPG
Pay is at the center of many of the gaming industry's conflicts, including unpaid wages from Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Bandai Namco needs to tread fairly carefully right now; the world's eyes are on it after the hugely successful launch of Elden Ring. It's also very much not clear whether the company intends to raise pay across the globe or whether this is just an incentive for its Japanese development wing. Still, giving employees a pay raise is a good thing, and hopefully, more studios will follow suit and improve conditions for their employees overall, too. We'll bring you more on this as soon as we get it.