Monday, November 19, 2012

Labor Practices in Video Game Design

Making video games, wouldn’t that be a dream job? Being able to develop video games and play them all day. It sounds fun, but is it really? In Nina Huntemann’s article she explains why it is the opposite of what it sounds like. Employees have long hours, small pay and are dependable for the outcome of the game. These are some of the grim working conditions of the video game industry. The video game industry takes most of an employee’s time up and leaves them with a small sense of reward. This is mostly common for the creatives during development of a video game as they become socially, psychologically and physically exhausted. As Nina Huntemann states, “the majority of developers still felt, they needed more time for themselves and their families.”

These working conditions affect the video game industry and the production of games. First, the game itself is hurt by not reaching its full potential in production. This is due to the tough working conditions and stressed out workers within the industry. Employees should not have to deal with “psychological and financial worries”.  This ultimately makes production decrease because you have employees worrying about the wrong things, such as “prolonged unpaid overtime, declining morale and depression and physical and emotional suffering” as Nina Huntemann mentions. Employees should be excited to work on a new game and see their hard work pay off.

A symbolic economy as stated by Havens and Lotz is “the explosion of jobs and industries that involve some form of symbolic manipulation as their central tasks, whether those symbols are audiovisual stories, music, numbers, or consumer research data…those commodities that primarily serve communicative, informational, or entertainment-related functions” (pg. 183). Both Havens and Lotz and Nina Huntemann correlate in that of the practice mentioned as “crunch time”. Crunch time stated in Havens and Lotz is “a period of intense work that lasts sometimes more than two weeks and longer, during which time people work as much as eighteen hour a day and some even sleep at work” (pg. 198). In the case of the video game industry this usually happens when a deadline is approaching and employees need to turn the gears on to get all their work completed. Similarly, “crunch time” in Nina Huntemann’s article means prolonged unpaid overtime. Through this period employees suffer from depression and other related complaints as I mentioned above.
Still want to work for the video game industry?

No comments:

Post a Comment