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Rockstar Employees Badly Overworked, Say Wives

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the sleep-is-for-the-weak dept.

Games 633

juicegg writes "Wives of Rockstar Games employees in San Diego recently published an open letter on their Gamasutra blog. The authors say that Rockstar employees are seriously strained by unending crunch periods of 12-hour work days and 6-day weeks. High levels of stress are leading to serious psychological and physical problems for some of the employees. They charge that studio management uses arbitrary, deceptive and manipulative practices to get employees to work more unpaid overtime hours at greater intensity — despite over $1 billion in Grand Theft Auto revenue. Among the blog comments, some current and past Rockstar employees are confirming problems with the studio. 'Ex Rocker' writes: 'What makes R* crunch periods different then any other studio is that they tell you the game has to be finished in 6 months, so let's start our final push to get this awesome game out there! 6 months turns into 1 year, 1 year turns into 2.' Other comments reveal worker hopelessness and general mismanagement at the San Diego studio. This turmoil is affecting development on upcoming games as well." Read on for responses from Rockstar itself and other members of the industry.An anonymous reader adds, "Everyone is talking about the fact Rockstar Games has addressed the accusations that it has forced developers at Rockstar San Diego into unpaid overtime to finish imminent titles. But I've noticed that a former GTA3/Manhunt designer (Chris Kruger) has a comment in this piece published Thursday about crunch in studios, suggesting the problem goes beyond Rockstar San Diego and is company-wide.

He says in Develop's Jury-style debate that the damage caused by excessive overtime can upend the out-of-work relationships developers have: 'Crunch is totally damaging, but much more so to the individuals involved. An almost failed marriage in my case. To the company the cost of crunch is very hard to define but any benefit at all is easy to measure. That's why it's such an easy decision to make for most companies. Unless there is a push back and the cost is made clear, it won't change. In my view self regulation doesn't work, and the only real solution is external regulation or utter agreement from the vast majority of staff on how to approach the matter.'

There's no easy way around the topic, but crunch is clearly damaging. When will the management at game studios address this troubling issue properly?"

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12 hour work days? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30870978)

Slackers. That still leaves you half the day for sleeping and eating!

SD Sux (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871096)

San Diego at first glance seems like a paradise - nice year-round weather, healthy citizens, beautiful beaches, a strong tech sector, the occasional Comic-Con...but don't move there.

The place is a mess driven by greedy power-hungry conservatives. It's the number-one place of retirement for FBI agents and a place where steroid-addled Blackwater employees proudly wear Blackwater T-shirts stretched over their massive backs. The Catholic mafia of judges has a deep historical entrenchment there, and the right-wing Christian conservatism is fueled by the vast military presence of Camp Pendleton and Naval Region SW.

Because of that presence, San Diego is the test-bed for a prototype police state as evidenced by the network of cameras and industries such as NSM Surveillance [nsmsurveillance.com] . In fact, I have personally witnessed the police using a helicopter to scare away a few hippies out on the rocks at Sunset Cliffs. Not to mention that the authorities are busting legal medical marijuana shops on the basis of marijuana being illegal as defined by federal law(and yet, they don't try that shit in L.A. or San Francisco).

The universities are waaay overpriced and overcrowded with conservative Asians and other douchebag business majors from states like Iowa. Those douchebags, coupled with the huge number of military, decide to stay in San Diego when they graduate or leave the service. That causes problems with overcrowding and skyrocketting property costs - hell, they're even trying to gentrify Barrio Logan. The douchebag loft-buyers snatch up whatever they can in east San Diego, then they bitch about them having bought condos in fucked up parts of town. Also, yuppies, yuppies, yuppies. There are also lots of immigrants who settled out of the military and then brought their whole families into the country. Their nieces and grandmas are the ones getting those jobs, not you.

This is ridiculous. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30870998)

'What makes R* crunch periods different then any other studio is that they tell you the game has to be finished in 6 months, so let's start our final push to get this awesome game out there! 6 months turns into 1 year, 1 year turns into 2.' Other comments reveal worker hopelessness and general mismanagement at the San Diego studio. This turmoil is affecting development on upcoming games as well."

He could be describing Electronic Arts. Look, the game industry has been run this way for the better part of thirty years. I worked as a coder for a couple of game companies back in the mid-eighties ... and I left for the reasons described in the summary. Never looked back. As much as I enjoyed that line of work, management practices were abusive even then. The irony is that there's no real reason for it other than poor management. We know how to manage software projects well, we know that pushing programmers too hard does not result in any real savings. The problem is managers that use simple metrics like lines of code written per day to determine a developer's value. That's how you treat piece workers in a factory ... and guess what, piece work is generally illegal. There's a reason for that.

Jam up your development staff the way these outfits do, and you get poor quality code. It is inevitable, Mr. Anderson. The usual chain of events involves increased QA costs, continual rework, missed deadlines and lost customers. Yet they persist in this obviously defective approach, which to me indicates that upper management is hiring sadists to run their development teams.

Re:This is ridiculous. (5, Insightful)

AtomicSnarl (549626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871176)

The problem is managers that use simple metrics like lines of code written per day to determine a developer's value.

Hear hear! For all the "Management Science" out there, what actually does work? The Waterfall method is hugely limited in software development, and upper management without a clear view is crippling. I was once part of a project where six teams had each developed their own printer drivers for their modules because management neither thought of it or noticed the duplication. Team isolation prevented sharing as well, so six freshly re-invented wheels.

What is it they are crunching on anyway? Did somebody's new skin break the display engine? Did fixing a wall error crump edge detection or LOS calculations? Did a weapons tweak make the ballistics engine puke? Was there a pent-up demand for crawling ants lighting on a display instead of just a glow? Where are the edges of accountability for these things, and which manager is (not) paying for their miscues?

Granted, starting with a well behaved engine or other project module is always going to be risky when you push it to do new or different things. The upper echelons should be aware of this in their design plans. But flogging the oarsmen when you're completely off course is the wrong way to go -- fix the navigator!

Re:This is ridiculous. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871486)

I was once part of a project where six teams had each developed their own printer drivers for their modules because management neither thought of it or noticed the duplication. Team isolation prevented sharing as well, so six freshly re-invented wheels.

Noticing that duplication isn't a job for "Management", it's the job of your project's "Architect" (a decidely technical, non-management position). The *only* way this could be the fault of "management" is if you had a six-team project and *didn't* get an Architect.

Re:This is ridiculous. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871530)

In fact he could be describing any company working in any industry. I guess people still think game development is something glamorous, something like it was as a teenager when you had lots of fun ideas (or at least ideas that were fun for you). Fact is that it's an industry like any other. And maybe it should be too - look what happened to Duke Nukem Forever after 10 years. They missed the general professional guidelines. Sure it probably was tons of fun having strippers doing their thing in motion capture room and running the place as more developer hippy place, but the product never finished.

Maybe Rockstar is too much on the other edge, but doing a huge game like GTA requires pushing people to work on it.

Which is one of the reason I never really continued more into game development - at least I can still enjoy doing it at home for my own fun.

How to get management to listen (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871000)

When will the management at game studios address this troubling issue properly?

They'll address it when people stop standing for it. If their developers quit, and they can't find replacements, then things will change.

Unfortunately, my experience in the industry has taught me that most developers are willing to put up with enormous amounts of crap so as "not to rock the boat".

Re:How to get management to listen (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871114)

Unfortunately, my experience in the industry has taught me that most developers are willing to put up with enormous amounts of crap so as "not to rock the boat".

Unfortunately, most developers are too brainwashed | chickenshit | dysfunctional to unionize. "Oh, but our job is different." "We're not blue-collar workers!" "We'd lose our independence!"

There, fixed it for you.

There's nothing stopping workers from unionizing except themselves.

Re:How to get management to listen (1, Flamebait)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871200)

And then we can have the same great representation that the auto industry workers have, ensuring that their jobs are safe and profitable. And we can start approaching games in the same useful and productive ways that teachers approach teaching their students.

Sounds great! Where's the piece of paper for signups? I want to know so I can burn it.

A union is a monopoly by another name, and anyone who thinks that unions have anything to do with good products, good business, or sane long-term strategies is a fucking moron. Unlike auto construction or teaching*, video games can be done by tiny independent self-owned teams, and there's nothing stopping people from quitting and forming their own game studio.

* of course this is largely thanks to the teacher's union itself

Re:How to get management to listen (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871280)

Unlike auto construction or teaching*, video games can be done by tiny independent self-owned teams, and there's nothing stopping people from quitting and forming their own game studio.

The coding team's size can be small, but to be competitive you're still going to need an army of artists.

Re:How to get management to listen (5, Interesting)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871348)

Braid had one artist. AI War had no artists. World of Goo had one artist. I don't know how many artists Osmos had, but I'm guessing it's one or fewer. Machinarium claims to be six, but most of them are under "Additional", and I suspect the bulk was done by two people.

I worked on a full commercial PS2 game, Everquest: Champions of Norrath. We had seven artists and five coders.

No, we weren't going to be able to make something like God of War 3 or World of Warcraft, but don't underestimate the strength of small teams. If you spend a tenth as much on development, you only need to sell a tenth as many copies to break even.

Re:How to get management to listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871402)

A union is a monopoly by another name, and anyone who thinks that unions have anything to do with good products, good business, or sane long-term strategies is a fucking moron.

In this particular case, you could substitute "management" wherever you had used "union" in your diatribe and be even more accurate.

Re:How to get management to listen (2, Insightful)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871420)

Yes, of course there's a lot of bad managers out there (see Sturgeon's Law) but there are also very good ones. The same is, naturally, true of unions, except that unions are far harder to remove if they turn bad than managers are.

Assuming the top leadership of the company is sane, of course, and if it isn't, you have bigger problems on your hands anyway.

Re:How to get management to listen (-1, Troll)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871238)

Unfortunately, most developers are too brainwashed | chickenshit | dysfunctional to unionize. "Oh, but our job is different." "We're not blue-collar workers!" "We'd lose our independence!"

There's nothing stopping workers from unionizing except themselves.

No, they know unions are bullshit. BULL FUCKING SHIT I SAID IT

They know that the unions WILL turn against them, cut good things like flexible hours and telecommuting, etc

So no

Re:How to get management to listen (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871392)

They know that the unions WILL turn against them, cut good things like flexible hours and telecommuting, etc

Does this happen in the USA?

Re:How to get management to listen (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871444)

Saying unions are bad is like saying government is bad, or society is bad, or bosses are bad, or fat/sugar is bad... or any other binary worldview statement ...
The bad stuff is found in the extremes. Too much unions = total focus on employees = bad. No unions at all = total lack of focus on employees = bad.

Re:How to get management to listen (-1, Troll)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871494)

I agree with you but I think you're missing the point.

I'm saying unions are bad like cancer is bad.

There are other ways of dealing with the situation that don't involve unions.

Maybe for showbiz people it works...

Re:How to get management to listen (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871242)

No way man, not this developer. Unions just give you someone else who is 'in charge' of you. Not only do you have to pay union dues, half the time those union dues are spent on political purposes you don't agree with and have no say over.

Unions are about power-struggles. Unions are great in industries where workers have no way to answer the power of the boss. It gives them a chance to end on equal footing. In the programming industry, I DO have a way to answer the power of the boss: I find another job. And it works way better for me than a union ever would.

Now, you may not like that solution and would prefer a union; that's fine. But some of us have our own reasons to not want a union, and just because we disagree with you doesn't mean we are brainwashed | chickenshit | dysfunctional.

Re:How to get management to listen (4, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871458)

You find another job? You make it sound so easy!

The auto-workers can do the same thing. They can just "find another job", and it's so easy anyone can do it!

Unions have a place, but they too can become a monopoly. Would you be OK with joining a union as long as there were multiple programming unions, competing in how they represented employees and negotiated contracts? IMO, Unions should be subject to the same anti-trust laws that corporations are. There's too little competition.

Re:How to get management to listen (5, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871548)

If you're going to effectively refute the charge of being brainwashed, perhaps you should cite some of your actual experience with unions.

My experience with unions doesn't jibe with your description of them. I was a union member in a west coast school system that I developed software for, and the dues were trivial and I never once had a union official telling me what to do. About the only thing you got right was that the union did attempt to influence local politics, but guess what? Most companies do that as well, and they sure as hell don't ask their employees what they think about it.

What I got out of the deal was decent pay, decent hours, and full health care coverage and a really nice pension plan.

This is not to say that unions don't have drawbacks as well, but everything involves a tradeoff. For a good picture of what life was like without unions, see the 19th century. Or, apparently, Rockstar.

Re:How to get management to listen (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871244)

You don't have to unionize to fix this problem. You just have to quit and go somewhere else if the terms are not acceptable to you. Obviously plenty of IT shops are not like that. The one I work for is not, for example. There are occasional crunch periods, generally not more than 2 or 3 weeks each year. I also don't make the rockstar salaries, but I consider my pay to be completely fair for the job I'm employed to do. If I didn't, why on earth would I work there, when there are thousands of other choices?

Look, it's a two way street. I'm offering a job, you want a job: if we agree on the terms, great! If not, great too - we each go our separate ways. Nobody is *making* you take my offer, and nobody is *making* me take yours. We're both free to enter or not enter into some agreement, and we're both free to leave it at any time. That's how the true value of labor is determined: based on where the supply and demand curves intersect.

Re:How to get management to listen (4, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871542)

You don't have to unionize to fix this problem. You just have to quit and go somewhere else if the terms are not acceptable to you.

Indeed - and it seems to be particularly a problem in the games industry, rather than development in general.

I guess the problem is that there's a larger supply of people willing to work for crap conditions in the games industry, because of the attraction of it being "fun". Although then again, I remember a recent story in the UK where the games industry were whining about a skills shortage [bbc.co.uk] . Of course, they had to cheek to blame the Universities. The reality is that there are plenty of us with the skills to work in the games industry, we just go elsewhere where the pay's better, and we're not treated like shit.

Re:How to get management to listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871390)

Unfortunately, most developers are too brainwashed | chickenshit | dysfunctional to unionize. "Oh, but our job is different." "We're not blue-collar workers!" "We'd lose our independence!"

Because everyone knows that union shops are hot beds of innovation where hard work is rewarded and sloth is not tolerated!

More seriously, by the time conditions were bad enough at a gaming company that a union was certified, the company would have likely either already closed or would be on the ropes. Game dev studios tend to have very short lifespans.

Re:How to get management to listen (2, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871558)

I know I can personally negotiate a much better contract than any union can on my behalf.

The *only* time I'll support unionization if it joining the union is not a condition of employment-- i.e. if it's completely voluntary. Anything else I see as un-American and despicable.

(Of course, unions would never allow that since it would demonstrate my first point very nicely.)

Re:How to get management to listen (5, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871180)

They don't even need to quit! Just refuse to work the overtime!

Most places require some reason to fire people. Not working overtime for free isn't a valid reason. Nor will most managers be willing to have to go to the effort of finding a replacement and dealing with ramp up time.

Re:How to get management to listen (0)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871374)

It's the wives complaining...

You have a wife who complains and whines enough to publicly whine in an open forum to your employer about your work practices.

Imagine what it is liked when you forget to take the garbage out, or come home late from the pub.

I'm sure these guys are *glad* to have an excuse to be away from their wonderful wives.

Re:How to get management to listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871524)

Unless you live in California, like many game developers, including Rockstar San Diego. Employment is At-Will.

Re:How to get management to listen (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871386)

When will the management at game studios address this troubling issue properly?

They'll address it when people stop standing for it.

They'll address it when they get the memo [igda.org] (assuming they take time to actually read it).

Re:How to get management to listen (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871534)

True. But I know of exactly one company [relentless.co.uk] that seems to have read that memo.

And while it's only anecdotal evidence, they don't seem to have suffered as a result.

Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but... (5, Interesting)

realmolo (574068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871006)

Why don't these programmers just QUIT? I can't imagine that those guys would have a problem getting essentially ANY programming job they wanted. "Member of Grand Theft Auto programming team" looks pretty good on a resume.

They should quit and get into creating applications instead of games. Yeah, it's not nearly as sexy, but the pressure is MUCH lower. And the pay is probably better, too.

Re:Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but (5, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871062)

There's a reason EA and Rockstar take young 20 year olds just out of school, and expect them to be gone by 30. Kids buy into the myth of 'work hard, play hard', don't know what quality of life is, and haven't yet had a shitty work experience to stand up for themselves.

Re:Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871406)

That's called "churning", and many employers do it because workers are simply not valuable. New trucking school students are treated the same way.

"Kids buy into the myth of 'work hard, play hard', don't know what quality of life is, and haven't yet had a shitty work experience to stand up for themselves."

They have nothing to stand ON, they can be replaced by those willing to compete. Until they acquire value, acting as if they have it is a (nice if you can pull if off) bluff.

Re:Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871116)

Agreed, they are being ripped off. Thing is, a celebrity company looks good on your CV... the problem is that celebrity companies know that, and exploit it. It's harder to write "Member of GTA programming team" on your CV if you didn't leave on amiable terms - and they may not let you do that.

Re:Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but (4, Insightful)

rennerik (1256370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871148)

Why don't they just quit? In this economic climate I think many people are thankful they *have* a job. Thinking about quitting is the last thing on their minds.

But that's not necessarily just it. It's actually the same reason the don't become application developers as you mentioned: they love games. Absolutely LOVE them. They live by them, they breathe by them. Game developers are a special breed... game development is complicated in and of itself, when compared to just regular application development. It takes dedicated, hard-working people under an enormous amount of stress to bring a title to fruition.

And many developers, regardless of workforce pressures, will continue to work for a studio because that's how much they love games.

There are a few articles on this written by some ex game devs who lost/came close to losing their marriages/home life/etc because of stuff that EA was doing. I can't find a link to them so if someone can it may help to understand the point-of-view of many game devs.

Re:Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but (3, Insightful)

tmesis892 (781077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871428)

Why don't they just quit? In this economic climate I think many people are thankful they *have* a job. Thinking about quitting is the last thing on their minds.

I used to think like that and stayed with Oracle much too long putting up with management's BS. Now I work for Google for a few months and couldn't be happier. Google is hiring developers aggressively "in this economic climate". Opportunities are there, you just need to look for them.

Re:Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871228)

"Member of Grand Theft Auto programming team, quit at start of crunch period"

The people who'd hire them would expect to abuse them the same way.

Re:Rockstar is the evildoer in this situation, but (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871306)

Why don't these programmers just QUIT?

They're so overworked THEY DON'T HAVE TIME!!! Most are working on their letters of resignation, but they only have enough break period type one letter, and most weeks that's taken up by going to the bathroom or eating.

developers developers developers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871024)

to take a cue from an old John Lennon song, Programmers and I.T. personnel are the niggers of the corporate world.

cry me a river... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871026)

Once game development is a boring or uncool as say, J2EE or cobol development, the sweatshop reputation may fade. Until then, good luck.

It's not like these people couldn't get another job, say, writing insurance software or something if the hours were *really* a problem.

Welcome to Capitalism (4, Insightful)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871030)

That's the way it is - it's profitable for the company with no downside.

The only option is for employees to show that it will cost them in the long run through turnover and training new employees.

Alternately, unionization or government regulation are the only other options.

Re:Welcome to Capitalism (-1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871102)

Capitalism also means you can search elsewhere if you don't like the working conditions.

Advocating unions or government regulation makes you sounds like a socialist. Until you enter the world of monopoles and unfair trade practices, the market will take care of itself and should be left alone.

Re:Welcome to Capitalism (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871254)

Advocating unions or government regulation makes you sounds like a socialist.

Oh god, anything but that! The horror! Way to buy into the buzzword of the day.

When companies demonstrate they can treat workers with respect (which includes reasonable working days), I will stop bashing on the corporate model. Many corporations, however, fail to latch onto the fact that by respecting their employees will do more in the long run than treating them like shit and causing a huge turnover rate, forcing them to pay money for training on new workers.

Yes, I am aware that a company's sole purpose is to return as large a profit as possible within the bounds of law to the shareholders; however, this doesn't preclude the ability for companies to treat their workers like human beings for once, and that means paying them a living wage along with a few benefits. If they can't do this, then as far as I'm concerned they shouldn't be in the fucking business. Shareholders need to demand more from their companies instead of whining about their own pockets which are probably lined with enough Benjamins as it is already.

Re:Welcome to Capitalism (1, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871276)

Advocating unions or government regulation makes you sounds like a socialist.

Is there a problem with that?

Re:Welcome to Capitalism (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871468)

You're clearly not American.

Re:Welcome to Capitalism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871540)

Yes, seeing as how the government and unions here rape things until they die bleeding from the ass. Can't speak for any other country. You need to look at cases individually. Anyone who only says "unions are good" or "unions are bad" is a fuckhead ideologue of the sort we need to breed out of the species as fast as we can.

California is going to be a desolate wasteland in 10 years or so because of the magic combination of government employees and unions. The politicians and union leaders here are the foulest, most amoral sacks of pig shit on the planet, with the exception of the regular citizens who cheer for them. *Those* people are lower than slime molds.

Re:Welcome to Capitalism (-1, Flamebait)

haruharaharu (443975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871426)

Advocating unions or government regulation makes you sounds like a socialist. Until you enter the world of monopoles and unfair trade practices, the market will take care of itself and should be left alone.

The wall street meltdown was just over a fucking year ago. Exactly how short is your memory, or do you just like to screw yourself by advancing republican talking points?

Re:Welcome to Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871482)

Except that this behavior in this industry has been going on for thirty years. Fuck off, PAULTARD.

If they're working on GTA all the time... (3, Funny)

ScottySniper (1699386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871032)

Maybe they'll go on a killing spree with a supercar they got from their mobile phone.

Re:If they're working on GTA all the time... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871078)

Maybe they'll go on a killing spree with a supercar they got from their mobile phone.

I don;'t know about any supercar, but you push an unstable personality too hard in this society and you're taking your life in your hands.

programmers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871054)

> When will the management at game studios address this troubling issue properly?

The day that programmers stop being yes-men and saying to their managers they can do it. I've been with EA 5 years. I know the drill. Once your team wises up and only signs up for what it can deliver, the crunch goes away.

Step 1: Be upfront and straightforward. Don't promise what you can't deliver.
Step 2: Dont' work more than 40 hours. Just leave after that.
Step 3: Profit.

Re:programmers (4, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871218)

    That not only applies to game development. That applies everywhere. Don't promise deadlines that you can't comfortably achieve.

    I've been pushed to give impractical goals. I can't even count the number of times that I've been thrown an idea (not a plan), and been pushed for a deadline. "Will this be done in a month?" You simply can't give an answer to that. One job, it was with some unusual hardware. The pieces slowly rolled in, and each one presented it's own set of problems that set my personal timeline back. I keep my own personal set of expectations, but I won't promise these as a real life timeline. The expected timeline is usually 3x as long, with a list of caveats attached. If everything goes smooth, great. It'll be finished in 1/3 the promised time. If it doesn't? Well, you should have enough room to work in (hopefully). Sometimes a hard problem becomes an impossible one. A recent one involved a hardware fault, and the vendor reproduced it, but wasn't able to solve it. That required going another route, which pushed that step back to the beginning.

    You have to work what is practical for you. If you can do 50 hours/week, do it. If you may want to actually have a social life and not get burnt out before you're 30, do the 40 hours and go home. Unfortunately, this can give the sign that you aren't willing to work hard enough.

Re:programmers (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871282)

can I say 'THIS' a million times?!

This is not just for EA, it's for everybody.

Top developer mistake: UNDERESTIMATING development time
2nd place: being 'yes men' and get taken by the manager's attitude.
3rd place: taking your boss seriously
4th place: not standing up for BS like CMMI etc.

Re:programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871332)

I agree... As a young engineer I tried to prove myself by trying to finish up early and what happens is that they give you more and more until burnout. Once you wise up, you just deliver your 40 hours and leave. When they ask you how long a task takes, you frame it within the fact that you now no longer work longer than 40 hours a week no matter what they expect. If they demand you work "longer" then you still just tell them the amount of work that can be done in 40 hours and sit on your ass the rest of the "extra" time. Bullying engineers only works on the young inexperienced ones.

Re:programmers (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871434)

Step 2: Dont' work more than 40 hours. Just leave after that.

I did that while I worked for Sony, early in the noughts. They fired me after less than a year and a half. I was unemployed for 20 months, and very nearly lost my house and car. My salary has never yet recovered to average levels for my age and experience.

That's why they work their 12 hour days. There's a regular Slashdot poster with a sig that says "Debt is slavery." It's no joke.

Re:programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871552)

Overworked for 6 months straight and decided to cut back to 40 hours/week (most others have been overworked for 10+ months). Took 2 weeks to be told by management that my lack of getting everything done was unacceptable, maybe I have time management issues that need looking into, and wondering if I'd be happier with a different job.

Let's try this again ... (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871058)

What the heck? I was logged in and it posted me A.C. Anyway ...

He could be describing Electronic Arts. Look, the game industry has been run this way for the better part of thirty years. I worked as a coder for a couple of game companies back in the mid-eighties ... and I left for the reasons described in the summary. Never looked back. As much as I enjoyed that line of work, management practices were abusive even then. The irony is that there's no real reason for it other than poor management. We know how to manage software projects well, we know that pushing programmers too hard does not result in any real savings. The problem is managers that use simple metrics like lines of code written per day to determine a developer's value. That's how you treat piece workers in a factory ... and guess what, piece work is generally illegal. There's a reason for that.

Jam up your development staff the way these outfits do, and you get poor quality code. It is inevitable, Mr. Anderson. The usual chain of events involves increased QA costs, continual rework, missed deadlines and lost customers. Yet they persist in this obviously defective approach, which to me indicates that upper management is hiring sadists to run their development teams.

This is why I discourage anyone... (1)

betelgeuse68 (230611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871080)

When they say they want to get involved in the games industry.

Old News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871086)

Didn't this same story run two or three years ago? Game developer's wives complaining about their overworked husbands? I'm sure I saw this in 2007.

Yes It Is Old News. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871340)

I found this article about EA from 2004 [latimes.com] . It seems like the very same thing.

I don't know Abu, it seems fake.

EA still like this (5, Interesting)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871094)

A friend of mine was, at 29, a 10 year veteran of EA and in team management position. He left when his boss met him coming in one morning and said "Hey! Look, we redid your office! Isn't it awesome? Look, the couch folds out into a bed!" He said this sort of thing was well understood at EA to mean that he wasn't spending enough time in the office, and quit.

Re:EA still like this (4, Funny)

nycguy (892403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871196)

I'd take that as a hint that it was time to start boning the secretary...

Re:EA still like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871364)

Or the other managers... not everyone is straight you know... then again, I suppose I could have a male secretary... hmmmmmmm. Do you think decorating said bed with leg spreaders and shackles would conflict with office policy?

Re:EA still like this (4, Funny)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871476)

"Hey! Look, we redid your office! Isn't it awesome? Look, the couch folds out into a bed!"

"That's great! Now I can ask my wife to move in here with me, and we can finally spend some quality time together!" :)

Not that I'm a cynic but.... (4, Insightful)

rimcrazy (146022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871108)

Having worked 28 some years in the semiconductor industry grinding out chips for PC's the story sounds SOOOooooo familiar.

"It's just this time...honest....just give up your entire personal life.... your wife and kids will love you for it cause we are just going to rain cash and kudo's on you"

Fast forward 2 years later...

"Ok, so my wife left me, my kids hate me and now your telling me my bonus went to the CEO and his butt buddies on the board because they needed something to light their cigars with and now your laying me off because we missed the market because you couldn't make up your friggin mind what you wanted and we all killed ourselves for you for nothing? Do I understand this right?"

Sux don't it?

I feel fortunate to have stashed just enough away to moon them all Ace Ventura style and walk away. Those in this kind of mess really have to ask themselves what is REALLY important. Those that run places like this which is 90% of corporate business these days don't give a rat's ass about you. Employees are an expense to be reduced not an asset to be valued. Think you are not replaceable. Put you hand into a bucket of water and pull it out and see how fast that hole fills up. That is the reality. If you really like that work more than life itself, then that is what you should do but if not..... you might just want to look around.

Not just programmers (0, Offtopic)

Gushi (210940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871110)

This is the same situation as in the American Biotech industry. Most companies are small with high burn rates and the whole industry is built around squeezing every bit of time and energy out of employees and then discarding them. Its easy to just say, "Get another job" but its not always that easy. Some of us have friends and family that we actually like to see and living the gypsy lifestyle moving from one job location to another doesn't make that easy on friends, family or children. Furthermore, some of us got where we are by being specialized, and once discarded its not easy or quick to find the next...

Project management... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871112)

I'd suggest crunches are a symptom of bad project management, but there is apparently no project management in the first place. So it's simply incompetent, panic-driven management. Industry-standard, really.

And not this is not standard behavior (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871118)

And no this is not necessarily standard behavior. Historically at least one other very large and very successful developer/publisher compensated for its cunch time hours with appropriate sales based bonuses. Nearly all workers and wives believe they are treated fairly. In more recent times industry lawsuits led this developer/publisher to move to hourly compensation that includes overtime. It is amazing R* did not also make such a move.

--
Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone and iPod touch, scientific and bill/tip calculator, fractions, complex numbers, RPN

Easy problem to solve (5, Interesting)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871120)

Only one of those over stressed people would need to report that to the DOJ. The laws on over time pay are laid out pretty clear, and this if true is not at all legal.

The employee that reports it is guaranteed to get 300% of the income they legally are entitled to, as will all the others that come out in the DOJ investigation who wish to join.

Then there will be tons of fines towards the company measuring in the tens of millions of dollars.

I always love to see the excuses why particular members of management are allowed to remain on the payroll after costing the company tens of millions of dollars in illegal activities.

Unless the employees do not wish to start legal action. Which means there is no problem at all.

Others have filed lawsuits (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871288)

Only one of those over stressed people would need to report that to the DOJ. The laws on over time pay are laid out pretty clear, and this if true is not at all legal.

A few years ago there was such a lawsuit against a game developer. It prompted various game developers, affected and unaffected by the lawsuit, to switch from salary with no overtime to hourly with overtime. Since it is in California and high profile with deep pockets I'm very surprised that R* did not.

--
Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone and iPod touch, scientific and bill/tip calculator, fractions, complex numbers, RPN

Re:Easy problem to solve (2, Informative)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871290)

Only one of those over stressed people would need to report that to the DOJ. The laws on over time pay are laid out pretty clear, and this if true is not at all legal.

Except that those laws unfortunately don't apply to programmers [flsa.com] .

Re:Easy problem to solve (1)

haruharaharu (443975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871312)

I guess you've never been in an abusive relationship.

Re:Easy problem to solve (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871362)

Uh, are you an idiot? Hourly paid employees do have rights. The DOJ cares about them. Do you work at Walmart?

"Exempt" employees are deemed "management" and therefore have to "do what it takes" to get the job done. This is typical for software developers, but most office workers too. If the exempt employee doesn't like the conditions, it is up the him/her to solve the problem - talk to your boss, figure out comp time (usually illegal), work out a bonus structure that doubles your salary on completion, or quit.

It really is that simple. The DOJ doesn't care.

When I left "employee" and became a contractor, my client implied that I should work more hours than I billed. I raised my rates and still billed every hour. I was hoping they would fire me, but they didn't. When that contract was up, I raised my rates for the new contract, they paid it, so I guess I was worth it. I hardly ever worked/billed more than 45 hours a week. For a few weeks, during "crunch time", I would work and bill 60 hours, but never more than twice a year. After crunch, I took a 2 week vacation.

Finally, after 10 years of raising my rates, they demanded I become an employee or my contract wouldn't be renewed. I left. Thanks for all the "f0ck you money, guys!"

Re:Easy problem to solve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871366)

Only one of those over stressed people would need to report that to the DOJ. The laws on over time pay are laid out pretty clear, and this if true is not at all legal.

The employee that reports it is guaranteed to get 300% of the income they legally are entitled to, as will all the others that come out in the DOJ investigation who wish to join.

Then there will be tons of fines towards the company measuring in the tens of millions of dollars.

I always love to see the excuses why particular members of management are allowed to remain on the payroll after costing the company tens of millions of dollars in illegal activities.

Unless the employees do not wish to start legal action. Which means there is no problem at all.

Unfortunately this will not help. These employees are considered "Exempt" to overtime compensation laws according to the FLSA (IANL) just look up "Exemption for computer-related occupations under the FSLA", they meet all the required criteria. It's sad and unfair, but it's the law. Likely pushed through by a lawmaker owned by a group of software companies.

It is entirely LEGAL in most states (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871382)

The federal DOJ has nothing to do with it.

It's at-will, exempt employment. In most states, as an at-will, exempt employee you can be asked to work 16 hour or even longer shifts, 7 days a week, and if you do not like it your only recourse is to quit. That's why it's at-will. The employer has no contractual obligation to retain the employee, and the employee has no contractual obligation to continue working for the employer.

Re:Easy problem to solve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871414)

Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime.

http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/screen75.asp

Executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees: (as defined in Department of Labor regulations) and who are paid on a salary basis are exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA.

Unionize. (1)

REALMAN (218538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871124)

I smell a Video Game Industry Union coming. Since The Supreme Court decided that Corporations are persons with rights over and above any actual people it's no surprise that this kind of treatment is becoming the norm.

Union, Yes! (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871130)

Those guys need to unionize. They need The Animation Guild [animationguild.org] , Local 839, IATSE. The Animation Guild represents Hollywood cartoonists at Cartoon Network, Fox, Disney, ILM, MGM, Universal, Warner, etc. Here's their current standard contract. [animationguild.org] They get the traditional time and a half for overtime after 8 hours or five days, double time after 6 days.

That's what prevents "crunches". The film industry has "crunches", but they cost the production money, so considerable effort is made by producers to avoid them.

The jobs performed by Animation Guild and IATSE members are very similar to those of many game developers, especially on the art side.

The best time to organize is during a "crunch". Management isn't in a good position to face a strike.

Re:Union, Yes! (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871232)

Then the press release would read, "Rock Star is proud to announce the opening of our Rock Star Mumbai Studio."

On the up side, at least the developers would have more time to spend with their family....right?

Exactly. Where is the Digital Developers Guild? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871284)

I was about to say the same thing. If not the Animation Guild (which may not have relevance for programmers, for example), perhaps another union should be set up for the gaming industry. The movie and television industries have unions for various facets of production:

DGA - directors
WGA - writers
IATSE- production people
Teamsters-- transportation
AFTRA -- news, radio, sports and weather; variety shows, etc..
SAG -- screen actors
MPEG -- (the other one) Motion Picture Editor's Guild
etc.

After that EA letter floated around a few years back, I thought surely a union was going to result, but apparently not. People always say "well everyone wants to work for the gaming industry, they'll just replace you with someone else"... really? And people don't want to be movie directors and actors

The gaming industry is not in its infancy any more. It makes more $ than the movie industry. Modern Warfare 2 made what, a billion dollars? About what Avatar is making?

I know there's been an anti-union trend over the last few decades, but there's a Democrat in the white house now. The fact that this industry isn't unionized yet is confusing to me. What's going on? Are developers just a bunch of nerdy pushovers? Do they believe threats about moving jobs overseas? Are they by nature independent and/or competitive and the idea of working together just not in their nature? You could say the same about Hollywood...

This is why I left the games industry. (3, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871144)

It's not just Rockstar. They're all the same.

I worked in games for years before I finally managed to get out and get a job as a freelance contractor. The last company I worked for was the worst - not through malice; just incompetence.

Now, one particular time we were overloaded with projects. I put in my hours. I put in extra time when I decided it was needed. The result was that I got criticised at appraisal for not putting in stupid amounts of overtime.

They did apologise for the heavy workload and promised they'd do somethign about it for futiure projects. Next project there were demands to work every weekend and work late every night.

They gave lip service to work-life balance, but if anyone actually wants to apply this policy, they get nervous.

just walk away (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871432)

"It's not just Rockstar. They're all the same."

I agree.

No worker is truely a slave. You chose to get hired. You can choose to walk away.

I gladly was willing to make less money to have a family, family time, and a life. I switched from dot-com to healthcare IT.

Once I was established at IT at the healthcare company, I switched to a 'coordinator' that works between IT and customers. Kept the same salary. Oh, and now I even telecommute a few days a week, too.

Suprisingly, there are jobs out there that pay well, and do not require 60+ hrs/wk.

Re:This is why I left the games industry. (1)

genjix (959457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871554)

Same story here.

Crunch period (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871178)

more commonly know to devs as 'project mismanagement compensation period'

If it was still doing that stuff, I'd wear a T-shirt that said 'I am not a slave FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU' with an angry scrawl face emblem.

Organize stupid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871186)

When people are overworked to the point of collapsing, when you put in 80 hour weeks and still can't feed yourself properly. When your boss does his best to make you feel small, you organize.

The conditions these jerk offs are working under are 1 million times better than anything industrial works get. They are being greedy little shits themselves. If they weren't so greedy, they would all just walk out. They would organize. They however, won't do that. They want that shiny car, they want that big house in the burbs, the big fucking tv, the 2.5 kids. They expect it all, and nobody has the heart to tell them, that just isn't how it is.

Simple solution you dolts. Don't like the work ethic of your employer, find a new one! They are treating you that way because you LET them treat you that way! If they ask you to work for free, tell them fuck no. You certainly wouldn't see a machinist, a welder, or any skilled tradesmen work a single minute for free. Our services are valuable, we know that, and if you won't pay for it, we'll go someplace that will. You all have the same option, and it's only your own greed that keeps you working like a dog. I do not feel sorry for these wives or their husbands, neither should you.

Re:Organize stupid (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871262)

But look who's complaining. It isn't the programmers! It's the wives! And years ago when EA_Spouse made the public complaint it wasn't the programmer, it was his (or her) spouse!

The developers are being exploited, but they don't seem to realise!

Continuous crunch means only one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871188)

A crunch here and there, a weekend spent few times a year is OK.

A continuous crunch-time often means only one thing: bad management and bad planning.

Maybe management does not believe realistic plans. Maybe project managers do not tell the correct estimates, in order to look good.

If I were the owner of Rockstar Games, I'd do some serious introspection of the business practises. I'd lay off the people who fuck things up bad enough so that continuous crunch is a necessity. Otherwise, the future of that company is lost.

General Industry Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871204)

Honestly, this is a problem across most of the major industry companies right now.

Having worked on multiple projects, it's pretty much an epidemic of the industry to have poor planning, unrealistic schedules, poor staffing ramp-up (often they try to do too much with too little), and try to squeeze as much out of the development team as humanly possible.

I find it a bit sad that a AAA game can spend the ridiculous amounts on marketing and 3rd party licensing, yet refuses to pay overtime or reward the talent which actually creates the game.

Honestly, my feeling is that the industry really needs to deal with this or else they are going to have significant issues developing talent in the industry as a whole. At the moment, many people are leaving the industry after a fairly 'short' period of time, suffering from burnout and the ability to get positions in other industries which pay 2-3 times as well for less hours.

It is a bit sad how unwilling most companies are to compensate people for their time. Often--as many posts have referenced--they are riding the time of younger additions to the industry who are early 20-somethings willing to work their asses off to ship a game. However, the industry is quickly losing their late-20s/early-30s employees with families and a desire to not spend 60+ hours at work every week for frankly poor pay for a job which requires such specific skills.

The industry is really getting a large skill-sap, and myself and many of my friends have definitely encountered that in our recent projects. While the companies themselves may not see the issue replacing 10 years of experience with a 21 year-old intern--the quality of the work and the product has really been suffering.

At the end of the day, you can only quit--which is a route many people have been taking of late. Myself, I am expecting a child soon and most likely will be making an exit unless I end up somewhere with employee-minded proceedures I will likely simply go back to the tech industry and get paid over twice as much for the trouble of dropping 20 hours a week off my schedule.

Semiconductor industry the same... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871222)

Same for me as an EEE in the semiconductor industry.

60-70 hour weeks are common.

Some life.

Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871240)

So why are Americans so hostile to Unions again? Short of quitting (and that may not be an option for people with families to support), negotiation is the only solution, and to negotiate you have to have something to bargain with, and that thing is called a strike.
Personally I would never tolerate such a situation. There's a limit to what the company you work for can demand of you, and this kind of paid (and apparently sometimes unpaid) slavery is going way over the line.

Welcome to the entertainment industry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871252)

I hate to break it to them but those are normal hours in the film industry. Back in the 80s it was much worse. We often worked two days and at time three days straight. When you were on a deadline 7 days a week and 12 to 16 hour days weren't unusual. In the 80s overtime was all but unknown for non union work. Enforcing overtime and a flood of younger workers changed things somewhat in the 90s. On set things haven't changed much. The problem is you are talking several hours or prep and at least an hour of wrap. If you do an 8 hour day you get 5 hours of actual shooting. Trust me 12 hours behind a desk aren't the same as 12+ hours of constant motion. One of the biggest changes is a lot of people used to do it out of love but now it's become just a job. It was actually more fun back when we were doing 80+ hour weeks and loved what we did.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871274)

Yet another software company most likely lacking proper project management. The lunatics are running the asylum...

Sounds like.. (3, Funny)

cyberfunk2 (656339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871296)

That's funny.. working at R* sounds just like being a grad student.

so why is Rockstar losing money? (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871302)

Take Two the parent company is losing money for 2009. a lot of money. revenues are down and there is a big loss for the year. and the company is burning a lot of cash. at the current burn rate there is a good chance of Chapter 11 in 2010.

Do you know what's funny?!?! (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871318)

I hear this: "My bosses are morons that make everybody do crunch time, etc"

Makes me wonder: guys, LEAVE, everybody at once, right now! And make your own company. And treat developers like they should be treated.

If your bosses are morons it shouldn't be too difficult.

Their wives? (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871354)

One must wonder if they are in the position they are in because they are the sort of guys that have to have their wives do the complaining for them.

Apparently Rockstar hasn't changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871430)

Sounds like Rockstar hasn't changed much since my husband left. For those who wonder why people don't just quit, a lot of it is tied up in the promises of big bonus. Sometimes the end of project bonus is actually a significant amount of money but not always. However, if you are contently told that if you hold on for 2 more weeks or 1 more month then you'll get your bonus, you hold on. Then the project is extended. Also when you are working 12-14 hours a day with no weekends or holidays, it's pretty hard to look for other jobs. Any extra time you do have is spent trying to keep your relationships in some semblance of order or making sure you still own clean underwear. There aren't a lot of older game programmers. They burn out and/or decided that they don't want to miss their children growing up to ensure the blood splatters just right. The wheel gets re-invented a lot because seasoned professionals are replaced with shiny new grads.

Steven Levy reported the changeover in "Hackers" (4, Insightful)

rbrander (73222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871460)

Required reading for the Period It All Changed is Steven Levy's book "Hackers". He focused on Sierra On-Line, which started off programming Apple ][ games in assembler, with founder Ken Williams as programmer/guru to houseloads of teenage programmers that were making up to a quarter-mill a year (in 1983 dollars) for inventing Frogger and the like, because Williams gave percentages of what the game made to the developers.

This changed at remarkable speed to a market where the owners of capital got everything but "what the traffic will bear" in terms of how little programmers would work for.

And young people doing something that gives them a buzz (and, let's face it, fellow addicts, writing an elegant algorithm, solving a knotty problem, producing a slick-looking result on-screen, especially in a problem area where the output is intensely visual...there's no buzz like it) will work for pretty much nothing.

And, no, my "owners of capital" term isn't the start of some socialist screed. The critics are right: the workers can just walk away any time they come to their senses. The profit split may resemble a 19th-century company town by a coal mine, but "Labour" here isn't some hapless bunch of illiterates with no options; they just have to accept that they're being "paid" in buzz, and any time they want to switch over to money, they can go program payroll systems.

There's some buzz there, too, believe it or not, you find elegant algorithms, and user interfaces that match the human intuition and expectations hand-in-glove, in lots of places. And you're home by six, good paycheque warm in your pocket.

There are satisfactions, too, in being part of actually building the Real World, not just amusing people with fantasy ones.

Move on up out of a games team (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871498)

Games teams are for single 20 somethings. As they become married, and parents, they should move into central teams where the pressure is less and their experience benefits the most games. Sure it's not as "cool" but by then you shouldn't care about that sort of thing.

Could be worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30871500)

What's the problem? 6 12 hour days a week is only 72 hours. The current 'guidelines' for resident doctors is 80 hours/week, and no more than 30 or 36 hours in a row. If residents can make life-or-death decisions on that little downtime, why can't developers write code with even more time off?

Wow damn (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871526)

This is just hitting /.? It's been all over the nets for 2-3 weeks. Perhaps /. could stand to hire some of R*'s management :P

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