1. Faceless, Overworked, Underpaid Programmer/Artist/etc.
A self-described “video game industry widow” on Gamewatch.org, which we referenced earlier, describes her husband’s deteriorating health as he is forced to ignore sleep and his family to keep up with the unruly demands of game development:
“When he interviewed he was told that OT was rarely required. Well, we are now in 6 months of 6 day work weeks with mandatory 12 hour days (actually 14 hour days these past few weeks). No comp time, no overtime pay, no bonuses, nada. Apparently if you make more than $455 per week (23k a year) you are "exempt" in TX.”
There’s a shit-ton of pressure on the men and women who build the games that we sit on our couches and enjoy (or critically bash from our desks). Some companies are great, and it isn’t uncommon to hear heartfelt praise from employees, but we’ve also heard a great number of horror stories like the one from our poor “widow.”
Above: According to an anonymous commenter, developing year after year of sports title updates is not fun. How unexpected.
The following is an excerpt from a post about EA Tiburon on Coderific, a site which allows programmers to rate their employers. Bearing in mind that everything on the Internet should be taken with a dump truck of salt, this can at least be taken as an example of the kind of tension which exists between employees and employers in the games industry:
“Their recruiters promise you the sun and moon and a fat benefit package, but you'll want to take your own life within six months. They talk abour work/life balance. Just try to have a life. They won't tell you to work 16 hour days and every weekend. It just sort of works out that way. Derivative titles based on last year's version, and next year you'll be working long, soul destroying hours to increment a '2007' to '2008' on some over-hyped sports title that frankly gets worse every year. Don't like the game teams? Work on a 'central technology' team and be permanently in 'crunch mode' (everybody's deadline is your deadline) pointlessly reinventing wheels forever. Miss a deadline, it's your job. No job security at all. Move to Orlando and discover there's no other employment of this type within 100 miles, so you'll have to MOVE AGAIN when they get tired of you.”
We can't definitively say that the negative criticism outweighs the praise of game industry employers, but it does seem like we hear more bitching than we do joyous recommendations. Perhaps that’s just because there’s more motivation to bitch than there is to praise, or perhaps it’s evidence of widespread anger and disillusionment within the games industry.
Did we miss something? Have we misrepresented your awesome job? Or maybe we weren’t hard enough on it. Maybe you just think we’re a bunch of assholes and would like to tell us so. Good, tell us all about it in our forums. Either that, or distract yourself with more Top 7 lists of things we've noticed about things.
Jun 23, 2008