In a wake of protests, eye-opening accounts of horrific events and a political storm of hashtags, the latest one comes from the video game industry with the hashtag AsAGamesWorker. Here’s what you need to know.
It’s not uncommon that you hear about a disgruntled developer or two working under the stressful environments of the video games industry. We’ve heard it before, we’ve seen the breakdowns, and we’ve even seen the love they have for the masterpieces the developers bring to life.
But it seems that things aren’t as great as we’d all like to think they are. After all, we constantly forget that video games industry folks are working under constant stress related to crunch development, user feedback and the demands of shareholders, investors and fans alike.
Over on Twitter, these same people, some we may or may not know, are now protesting the state of affairs for employees across the industry. Some are indie developers, while some work at much larger studios ranging from Warner Bros. Interactive and the likes. remember though, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of complains like these. Developers have already detailed a litany of ways they’ve been let down by their employers and we’ve seen how some of the employers handle the problems brought to light.
These problems range from titans such as Blizzard Entertainment, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, ArenaNet and a decent amount of other studios including the almost defunct Telltale who has only recently announced they are shutting doors. The movement was started out by a designer by the name of Osama Dorias, employed at Warner Bros. Montreal.
As you can see above, his complaints are simple. He’s tired of being the short man on the list, he’s tired of how his work is underappreciated by shareholders, clients, management, public image, etc. While this does sound painful to bare, you can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes for these men and women in the industry.
They face low pay, a lack of job security, marginalization of minority groups, a lack of long-term prospects or even career development. It wasn’t all that uncommon to also see complaints ranging from lack of unpaid overtime, exploitative employment practices, or even harassment. Among them comes the lead writer behind titles such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed Liberation and Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry, You can see just a few of the tweets down below.
#AsAGamesWorker I want to see responsible leadership that values experience and new talent alike, that cares about our health and does not believe we are easy to replace. Creative work on a large scale is taxing – it’s time we recognised that to create better environments.
— Jennifer Scheurle (@Gaohmee) October 2, 2018
#AsAGamesWorker, I know that some of the challenges the games industry faces are the challenges of our modern era, faced by us all.
That’s okay. Those challenges are still here, and still deserve to be fixed, for the benefit of us, companies, games, and gamers.
— Steven 🎃Lumpkin Spice🎃 (@Silent0siris) October 3, 2018
While these are all about the working environment, the issues they face and the aspects of being a designer, a writer or an engineer, there’s even a call for the review scores on Metacritic to not matter when a game is considered good or bad.
There’s even been a call out for temporary employees to be treated fairly due to how they are approached as easily-replaceable in our day and age.
But this isn’t the first time we’ve heard such stories get released. We’ve heard it in the past due to working environments and movements that have caused both positive and toxic atmospheres, we’ve even seen the gaming industry attacked by movements that called for transparency and openness.
Earlier this year alone, GamesIndustry.biz’s US editor Brendan Sinclair argued that this year will go down as the Year of the Bad Employer and so far? His statement remains true.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.