Game Design vs Game Development [What Are the 2 Important Differences?]

By: | July 16, 2021 | Tags: , , |
game design vs game development

Game design vs game development. Do you know the differences?

Why do the differences between game design vs game development matter?

By reading this guide, you discover the differences between game design and game development. You also find out the worth of the gaming industry and the career prospects for game designers and game reviewers. You’ll also see an example of a popular 3-D game.

This post is for

  • game designers
  • game developers
  • game reviewers
  • job seekers

Let’s dive in and explore game design vs game development.

Key differences between game development and game design

Video games are made by a developer who can be represented by either one person or a company. Typically, large-scale commercial games are developed by development teams within a computer or console game company.

Triple-A or AAA categorizes games developed by major game publishers with large budgets.

Let’s examine game design vs game development by the value:

According to BusinessWire, the mobile gaming industry is worth 98 billion dollars. The development of an AAA project costs $1,000,000 or more. 

For Russian companies, the development of a medium-sized project costs on average from 100 to 1000 thousand dollars. The cost of developing small Russian projects starts from 10 thousand dollars. 

Game development is usually financed by the publisher, although recently there have been successful examples of financial injections from industries not related to game development.

The development process for an ordinary modern game takes about a year, for AAA projects it can take up to 2-3 years, the development cycle for ordinary casual games takes about 4-6 months, while there is a pipeline development of 2-3 projects at once. 

Game Design vs Game Development: Development Process

The game development process varies from company to company and project to project. However, developing a commercial game usually involves game design and programming.

Did you know the early stages of game development are often characterized by poor graphics quality? This is especially true for various game prototypes.

Usually, before starting any game development, an idea has to be formed and the publisher or developer has to give the green light.

In the more common case: If the developer and publisher are different companies, the idea should be proposed to management, approved, and submitted to the publishers for review.

A working demo can help but is not required for a reputable publisher. If an interested publisher is found, production can begin. Today, the idea of a game is rarely convincing unless the publisher is interested in it.

game design vs game development

Image Credit

The video game industry has taken a huge leap forward over the past decade. A modern game engine in a game animation company allows you not only to create three-dimensional worlds, but to provide them with believable physics of light, shadows, reflections, and HairWorks technology completely allows you to emulate the effect of external conditions on the hair.  


Now you can see the 3-D technology built-in to game development. Although there are many 3-D games, Super Mario 3-D World is one of my favorite 3-D games and is shown in the video.

Game development is a complex process that consists of many points, from the plot to the technical implementation. It also becomes difficult because high competition forces studio management to constantly raise the bar for quality.

Imagine: The first part of Assassin’s Creed was released in 2007, and the second – only in 2009. Now they are released every year and are regularly updated with additions.

This makes professional game designers and game reviewers very much in demand in the job market. We decided to tell in more detail what the behind-the-scenes of the gaming industry is and where you can learn the basics that will help you become a specialist. And the guys from the largest school of computer technologies in Russia, Scream School, helped us in this. 

Related Reading: Game Art Services

Game Development vs Game Design: What is Game Design? 

Game design is understood as the process of creating a game in a global sense: 

  • this includes the creation of lore, plot, and characters; 
  • choice of game engine and program code; 
  • development of game mechanics, animations, locations. 

The game designer is the bearer of the idea, who centrally manages all other departments and evaluates how their work corresponds to the original design. The text is taken from the chic service. 

The game design itself, in turn, can be divided into the following areas: 

– System design – the development of rules within the game and the accompanying calculations.  

– Level design – creating locations, placing mobs, developing ways of passing, taking into account the peculiarities of the gameplay. 

– World design – thinking through spaces, maps, locations, landscape, architecture and how all this dictates the user experience and ties in with the overall idea of the game. Dozens and even hundreds of people can work in each of these areas, depending on the scale and budget of the game. Some projects can be so large that, despite the huge staff, the development process is delayed for several years. 

So game design vs game development is not a difficult question.

Game Design vs Game Development Overview

Game Design Information Source

Game Development 

Design core features of video games. Specify innovative game and role-play mechanics, story lines, and character biographies. Create and maintain design documentation. Guide and collaborate with production staff to produce games as designed.

Video game developers use a designer's concepts and build them into a game. Video game developers write the code for games.

Average Yearly Pay: $91,080

Average Yearly Pay: $130,000 

The data for the video game developer was provided by Zip Recruiter.

Game Design Vs Game Development Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between game design and game development?

The game designer comes up with the vision for the game while the game developer writes code to turn the game into a reality.

What is game design and development?

Both game design and development are necessary components of publishing a new game. The designer comes up with the characters, the plot, the animations, and the locations. The developer writes code to bring the game to life in all gaming formats.

What do you do as a game designer?

The game designer comes up with core features of games such as the storylines for the characters.

Wrapping Up: Game Design vs Game Development

By reading this guide, you explored the difference between game design and game development.

Main differences between game design vs game development: The game designer comes up with the concept for the game such as the characters, location, animations, and storylines. In contrast, the game developer writes code that enables publishers to bring the game to life in all gaming formats.

In sum, the game designer comes up with the vision for the game while the game developer makes that vision a reality.

You also learned that gaming is a 7-figure industry.

You also found gaming to be a lucrative industry for job seekers both as game designers and game reviewers.

Readers, please share so gamers, bloggers, and job seekers discover this post.

Authors: Janice Wald and a Contributing Author

This post was made possible by the support of our readers.

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