Wonder how much money the CEOs and major bosses of Square-Enix, Nintendo or Sony make? Wonder no longer.
Let's be honest with ourselves here: Many people have no idea about the finances involved in game development. You pay $60 for a game, but where does that $60 go? How much goes to the retailer, how much to the distributor, and how much for the licensing fee? How does it compare to buying SNES carts for $75 fifteen years ago? For that matter, how much money do the top executives at the gaming companies make, and how much goes to the grunts modeling and programming the levels?
The answers to the first few questions are still largely murky, for the most part. But new legislation in Japan that requires companies to disclose to shareholders the salaries of any executives pulling down over ¥100 million ($1.13 million) annually.
Nintendo, being a Japanese company, naturally complied. It revealed that its CEO Satoru Iwata pulled in ¥187 million ($2.11m) last year, though just ¥68 million ($0.77m) of that was his salary - the rest included performance-based bonuses. A six-man group of Nintendo board members that included the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, on the other hand, pulled in ¥100 million ($1.13m) in total, which indicates that Mr. Miyamoto's claims of refusing exorbitant salaries in order to remain more in line with his lesser-known coworkers are probably true.
Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer, meanwhile, pulled down a salary of ¥816.5 million ($9.20m) - though, to be fair, Sony is much bigger than just its PlayStation division - while Square-Enix boss Yoichi Wada earned ¥240 million ($2.70m) and Sega Sammy CEO Osamu Satomi raked in ¥435 million ($4.90m).
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is thought to have received $3.15 million in pay last year. However, according to GI.biz, Kotick's salary looks relatively meager next to that of rival EA's CEO John Riccitiello, who made $9.85 million during the same year.
That's a lot of money being thrown around, and it's interesting to note that the salaries seem to have no correlation with the performance of their respective companies. Iwata and Miyamoto are earning chump change compared to their equivalents at other publishers, and yet Nintendo is eating everybody else's lunch.