The bad labour conditions of the AAA game industry are something that I have known about for quite awhile, I wrote even a bit about it a couple of posts ago. So when I read Ian William’s call to action I wasn’t surprised by the facts. This, in itself, is worrying. We have known about the conditions for a long time and yet it continues.
I (and I guess many others) have long since decided that indie is the way to go. We would rather have creative control and less money than be crushed by a company that treats us as mere cogs in a machine.
When playing these titles, its hard to remember that people have shed sweat and tears, have been kept from seeing their families and literally worked themselves sick. Its something that I forget during the hype and something that probably never crosses the mind of the average consumer.
Because no one gives a fuck about the development story.
And the big companies like it that way. They don’t what to have to change their practices because they believe that these conditions allow them to produce games in the most effect way, despite what the research shows. It allows them to maximize their profits; they don’t give a fuck that their employees are burning out, they will just find new ones to replace them.
These cut-throat conditions cultivate an attitude of ‘love it or leave it’:
This is the idea that working in this industry is a blessing that should be cherished regardless of the conditions. This is a shitty attitude that prevents change and silences those trying to enact it.
These conditions also limits the industry to those able to work these crazy hours. Parents, carers and people with health conditions don’t have a chance in the current conditions. As Williams (2016) states, these conditions are “so tightly tailored for single men aged 30 or younger”.
Unfortunately, it seems that these conditions are here to stay unless these AAA companies change their attitude and policies. Even this seems unlikely without some sort of large-scale protest, strike or paradigm shift.
This means workers standing up for their rights, the companies seeing their employees as actual human beings and the consumers understanding that their are actual people behind that creation of the games they love.
Robinson, E. (2005). Why Crunch Modes Doesn’t Work: Six Lessons. Retrieved:
Williams, K. (2016). It’s Time to Talk About Labor in the Games Industry. Retrieved: