Monday, March 21, 2016

Game Development Crunch Time Needs to be Re-Examined

Remember last week during the Weekly Link Round Up I shared a story from Business Insider regarding the "crunch time" practice that is littered throughout the game development community? At GDC last week announced that the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) would be looking into this, by coming up with more precise data to see how often this situation occurs and develop more practical "crunch time" guidelines for businesses. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it is an archaic system and unfair to a lot of overworked, underpaid staff. Globally. It needs to be addressed.

Kate Edwards, the executive director of IGDA, announced he measures to enhance their current survey system.

"We know it is a persistent problem. Now, what do we do about it?"

VentureBeat interviewed Edwards for more details about the announcement, and what IGDA plans to do to penalize developers if they continue to practice extreme crunch time measures without providing proper compensation. Now what type of action that may be? Well that is yet to be determined. Edwards only mentioned that the companies would get publicly called out for having unfair crunch time practices. Whoopie doo...I don't think EA or Ubisoft would give two cares about their bad behavior going public. They are fully aware of what they do and people still buy their games.

Edwards is looking into creating some type of mechanism or website similar to that would allow developers to review their work experiences to an open public so companies can hold themselves a bit more accountable for their actions. While there are no hard numbers, there is some value in having Glassdoor like transparency for both employers and job seekers - such as providing clarity to employees and to customers alike that the business is practicing overtime pay. And the anonymity of this system would help employees be more truthful. The problem with the current survey is that it does mark out who is responding to what business. People are more likely to fudge and give a fluffed up answer to keep their job, instead of being honest and risk a pink slip.

The IGDA is looking to have the new survey and the changes in by Q3 of this year. With so much data already compiled, it's a good start to the program. But developers need a better punishment system then "we'll call you out publicly." If anything, they need to bump it up to putting their membership into jeopardy. Being in the IGDA offers discounts to some of the biggest gaming events of the year (which if you're a developer can be huge with your budgets), access to business and health insurance, tuition reimbursement, immigration assistance, educational resources, and more. If your company has really crappy crunch time practices and your membership to the IGDA was on the line, then yes - that would convince developers to take another look and retool.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's a start.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

We ask that you please do not include any offensive, sexist, or derogatory language - otherwise your comment will be removed.