According to the third annual Game Developer Census by Game Developer Research, which covers North American game companies, the games industry employed 44,806 people in 2009. This is an increase of 406 jobs over the 2008 estimate (44,400). Other key points include:

  • Canada now employs 12,480 people in the games industry
  • In 2008, Canada employed 9,500 people in the games industry
  • California has 20,815 developers (46 % of the U.S. total)
  • Washington has over 4,500 game industry employees
  • Texas has over 2,600 game industry employees
  • 8 states (California, Washington, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida, and Maryland) have more than 1,000 working game industry professionals
  • Game tools companies, game contracting/services companies, external PR, marketing, legal, and other business services, and liaison or licensing divisions at larger media companies are not included in the census, however Game Developer Research estimates this number at around 18,000 across North America.

The’Game Developer Census 2009 has data on more than 700 game development companies in North America and is now available as a paid digital download for $2,495. Any questions about payment, delivery methods, or further licensing of the data can be directed to Game Developer Research at research@gdmag.com.

Game Developer Research has released the list of the top 20 game publishers for 2009. Here’s the list:

1. Nintendo
2. Electronic Arts
3. Activision Blizzard
4. Ubisoft
5. Take-Two
6. Sony Computer Entertainment
7. Bethesda Softworks
8. THQ
9. Square Enix
10. Microsoft
11. Konami
12. Sega
13. Capcom
14. MTV Games
15. Namco Bandai Games
16. Warner Bros. Interactive
17. Disney Interactive
18. Atari
19. Atlus
20. LucasArts

Here’s a link to the Ubisoft section of the report so there’s some extra free data.