Wargaming West wants to add to its Chicago headcount as the company brings its World of Tanks game from the PC to the Xbox, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The Xbox 360 version is in beta now, but the company is looking for additional people to continue development and support. During the next year, the online game developer plans to add 60 to 70 people to the staff of about 95 already working in Chicago.
According to the report, the majority of Wargaming West’s employees are veterans with about 10 years of experience. Experienced technical staff can make $120,000 to $150,000, compared to $60,000 to $70,000 for new hires with master’s degrees. General Manager Denny Thorley said, “A large component of people we need to hire are in Web services; they could come from banking, trading.” Thorley sold his Day 1 Studios in December for a reported $20 million to Cyprus-based Wargaming, creating Wargaming West.
The additions at Wargaming West couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Chicago video game industry tries to recover from cutbacks. Thorley said that the number of people working in game development in Chicago is about 600, half of what it was during the industry’s peak in the mid-2000s. In 2007, Electronic Arts closed it Chicago offices and in 2009 Midway Games filed for bankruptcy and also closed it headquarters there.
Wargaming is one the world’s largest makers of free MMOs, or massively multiplayer online games. With 70 million users registered, World of Tanks is one of the top three online games in the world.
In addition to its Nicosia, Cyprus, headquarters, Wargaming has offices in Berlin, London, Seoul, Singapore, Paris, Hunt Valley, Seattle, Tokyo, Chicago, and San Francisco. The company also has development centers in Minsk, Belarus, Kiev, Ukraine, and St. Petersburg, Russia.