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ea_spouse

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[Dec. 15th, 2004|02:18 am]
ea_spouse
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve
the political bands which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth,
the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature
and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions
of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

- The U.S. Declaration of Independence




Welcome, and thank you for visiting. If you are here in search of the original "EA_spouse" article, you can find that here. The following is my update as of 12/15/2004.

So much has happened in the past month, I find it difficult to grasp. One essay written months ago set off a powderkeg of response, not just from the game industry but from the entire software development community. Truly, the power of the Internet is astounding, and all other things aside, we live in a positive age when so much information can be shared so easily and quickly.

The thing that lifted this up into public view, though, was not my essay so much as the response to it, so I will keep this brief. I have left the original essay and comments intact, and you can find them below. To supplement the original essay, I have organized my own comments and links to others' commentary into a FAQ. I have also put together a press page that links to all of the news stories related to this blog.

I am pleased and a little flabbergasted to announce that "EA: The Human Story" was nominated for Joel Spolsky's Best Software Essays of 2004. More details on this as they come.

I also would like to announce the initial inception of Gamewatch.org -- don't visit it yet, there's still nothing there. =) But there will be. It is my intent to start a non-corporate-sponsored watchdog organization specifically devoted to monitoring quality of life in the game industry. As much as I would like to extend this to the entire software industry, games are what I know, and where I need to stay right now. However, this project will be as open-source as I can possibly make it. All code written for the maintenance of the site will be available to the public, and all financial information for the organization (which will be a volunteer one) will likewise be made public. While GameWatch will occasionally run articles, its primary purpose will be to provide a reporting site where employees from any company in the industry can come to share their experiences. Our goal is to hold up and reward those companies that operate ethically, the better to ensure that top talent can seek out employment where they will be respected and best provided with the resources to do their jobs, namely family time, sleep, and sanity. Employees will be able to post anonymously or publically, as they so choose, and will also be offered an in-between option to register with the site but have only their testimonial posted, not their name or contact information. Registered testimonials will be given a greater weight than anonymous ones, but both options will be available. We will also provide forums for advice and discussion for all game industry affiliates, including existing employees, veterans, and aspiring students.

If you are interested in helping out with Gamewatch, please contact me with 'Gamewatch.org' or similar in your subject line. In particular, I would also like to announce a logo contest for Gamewatch. Simply, I'm looking for a one or two-color vector graphic (black with single-color highlighting, or simply black and white), approximately 200x200 pixels, on the GameWatch theme -- a couple of ideas we've tossed around are a caricature of an English Bulldog or Doberman Pinscher with a controller in its mouth, or some variant on an actual wristwatch theme, but do not by any means feel restricted by these suggestions. I will accept entries at ea_spouse@hotmail.com for one month, until January 15, 2005, and then a winner will be selected. I will pay the winner $20.00 -- $25.00 if the entry is provided in a standardized vector graphic format (Adobe Illustrator .ai, for instance). It isn't much, but it's what I've got -- and the artist will of course be credited on the GameWatch website.

For those interested in discussing Gamewatch.org as a concept and in its details, I have added a page here for that purpose.

All of this aside, the most important thing I have to say is -- thank you, to everyone who has visited this page, and especially those who took the time to contact me with an interest in our story. And especially especially to the spouses and EA employees who voiced their support and declared their own willingness to help our industry fulfill its potential. We're not done yet, but we've made a great start, and that is entirely due to the outpouring of response that flooded the Internet over the past month. Thank you.

Edit: Hello all. I'm sorry about this, but I've turned on screening for anonymous comments in this thread and the Gamewatch one. We have a troll who has been spamming comments every few hours or so, and I just don't have time to keep coming in here and deleting them. Rest assured if you post anything that ISN'T vulgar, I will unscreen it as soon as I see it. Hopefully the troll will lose interest soon and I can lift this.
Edit 1/4/2005: Turning screening back off, since things seem to have calmed down a bit. Thanks, all, for your patience.
Edit 2/24/2005: Modified contact link to reflect my new gmail address, ea.spouse@gmail.com.
linkReply

Comments:
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 04:02 pm (UTC)

You've got it wrong.

Though what has been done could not have been accomplished without such support as you have, it is you that we should be thanking. You took the first steps, and where they have brought us is quite remarkable. Where they are taking us now, can only be the greatest of places.

We are in your debt.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ea_spouse
2004-12-15 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: You've got it wrong.

I think that the publicity was more a matter of right-time-right-place; in some respects what I've said has been said before, it just didn't take off because the environment wasn't quite primed for it. But thank you for your kind words. =)
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Good Lord... - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Good Lord... - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Good Lord... - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Good Lord... - (Anonymous) Expand
yo ho ho - (Anonymous) Expand
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 06:02 pm (UTC)

Get ready for a lifestyle change!

I hope you understand that your husband, the bread winner, will soon find that because of your actions, he in no longer employable. Have him practice these lines: “Would you like fries with that?” Also, he might want to look into obtaining the user’s manual for a Fry-King or Fry-O-Lator.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 06:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Get ready for a lifestyle change!

How do you know that he's the bread winner incidentally? Or do women not get to work in your worldview? And how would anyone know who her spouse is anyway,

Luckily, not everyone out there is a total callous idiot like you. Some people think that treating staff like human beings pays off in the long term (and that it is anyway the morally correct way to behave).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
From: ravidrath
2004-12-15 07:34 pm (UTC)

Excellent...

Excellent - expect my application soon.

I hope that you're talking to the IGDA, because a partnership between GameWatch.org and the IGDA could help a lot in allowing the IGDA to create its QoI workplace certification program.

Also will be sending this link around so that the media covers this, too. :)

-Peter
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ea_spouse
2004-12-15 07:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Excellent...

Thank you again, Peter. =) Your regular contributions to the discussion and the information you provided throughout it are very much appreciated.

I am talking to the IGDA, and I'm hoping that we can combine efforts to some degree. I did feel it was important for a future watchdog organization to be independent -- the IGDA is a great organization, but its primary focus is "the industry" and sometimes that gets divorced from the notion of the actual people who work there. But a partnership as you mention would be mutually beneficial, I think.
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Lookin' Good! - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Lookin' Good! - (Anonymous) Expand
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 08:22 pm (UTC)

Yay

I hate EA. They are the Walmart of gaming. Die.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jynxshot
2004-12-15 08:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Yay

yeah, they sort of are, but like Wal Mart, it's not the lower level employees who should be blamed.

Liberate EA! For a game company with such power, I'd hate to see it go down like that. They control too many licenses and franchises, it would affect the industry greatly if they fall.

Liberate the employees and bring decency back to our favorite hobby.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
Re: Yay - (Anonymous) Expand
From: pyro01
2004-12-15 09:42 pm (UTC)
You're going to have to do something to make sure that people who post actually do work there, so you can have actual quality reliable information, not just people trying to bring down other companies that they never worked at.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 11:55 pm (UTC)

Discretion

That may pose a sticky problem - some sites require an email from your work address to join, something that certain potential posters would be adverse to. This organization will have to find some way to confirm a persons' employment credentials to keep things relevant and honest, I think.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: otakud00d
2004-12-15 10:20 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Sooner or later, EA's going down for this and other shady things it's been doing, such as the NFL Exclusivity deal.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: otakud00d
2004-12-15 10:22 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah. I'll definately apply to that site in a few years' time, that is, once I get out of college and get into Game Design.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 10:45 pm (UTC)

Come one, come all!

Come one, come all! Post your comments and anything else that will help ID you. While you are on-line, better check those "help wanted" ads for telemarketers, because when we are done with you, that's the only job you will be able to get!
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 11:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Come one, come all!

What-marketers? Oh right, the querrilla/grizzly kind that feel threatened by others having a voice. If your job security depends on EA not getting anymore bad press, you need to take your own advice, chief.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 01:59 am (UTC)

I know you´ve had enough, but here goes more

I thought I should just post some nice words and compliments to help get you going, but I realized you probably already received tons of that, so I gave up.

But what the heck, I´ll just spill those out, maybe it´ll make me feeling better too.

Although I´m lucky to be in a better company right now, I do feel bad for the state of the gaming industry, and I probably won´t spend my life in this company, so I´ll face the rest of the industry sooner or later, or be forced to switch industries. So I´ve been watching the ea_spouse stories with interest.

Let me just say what a great, great step you are taking. One that will greatlly change your life and probably many of our lives too. Reading your words, whether agreeing with them or not, in just incredibly aspiring.

I hope we´ll soon be shown to your true identities, both your´s and your husband´s. For you deserve to be known and recognized, and thy names shall be remembered in the future of this industry.

We thank you.

Fabio 'Petrucio' Stange - Game Programmer
Hoplon Infotainment - Brazil
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ea_spouse
2004-12-16 08:56 am (UTC)

Re: I know you´ve had enough, but here goes more

Ah. To break anonymity, or not to break anonymity, that is the question. To be honest I shudder at the notion of getting as much attention personally as the name ea_spouse has gotten in the game community. But I do want to say that I am incredibly impressed and touched at the number of people who have come forth with their names on this page; it does make me feel bad for not sharing my name with you. Unfortunately going public is something that could have permanent ramifications for both of us, and we would both rather be seen as ourselves by future contacts, rather than "ea_spouse" and "ea_spouse_spouse". =P
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 06:16 am (UTC)

not just the game industry, not just America

Dear ea_spouse and everyone else,

I do not live in the US and I do not work in the gaming industry but I am a computer programmer. I have a sop story of my own about what happened to me earlier in the year and I have been looking for a place to post the story in such a way that it could have an effect.

Maybe if I knew what the company was about I would never have joined. So seeing that you intend to start this website really makes me feel good about the state of things.

Friendly regards
p!
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 08:15 am (UTC)

Pretty good

Without any offense intended towards anyone....

You have become a Rosa Parks of sorts. One little person making a change. Or at least starting a change. Good luck to you all.

(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 10:38 am (UTC)

Re: Pretty good

Uhm....more like a Norma Rae or a Karen Silkwood, but I see your point.
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Re: Pretty good - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Pretty good - (Anonymous) Expand
From: ea_spouse
2004-12-16 08:51 am (UTC)
Hello all. Just a quick note that I did remove a couple of comments for spamming. You'll probably be able to figure out which one it was, I left the ones that had answers to them and just removed the ones that were at the end of threads. Future note: still not censoring, but if you post the same thing over and over again, I will delete the redundant ones. That is all.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 12:32 pm (UTC)

Union

Why don't you guys just form a Union. If things get too bad you can all stand together and tell the EA etc. to take a hike for their ship date. It is difficult to take action against a whole team.

This would be the worse case, normally a Union would be constructive and help the company find a way to keep employees happy whilst seeking profit etc.

I have no idea about Union law in US, but I do know that a teamster can kick crap out of my computers when setting up a GDC and not worry about his job ;-)

Unions they are independant from any one person, personalities are not involved to the same extent, and everyone knows what agreements are in place. It doesn't mean you a red russian from the 60's, it just means you stand for a decent pay in return for work done, who can argue against that ?

Anyway best of luck to you,

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 07:32 pm (UTC)

EA-Spouse DRUG CONX

Gamewatch.org is registered to Santiago Valencia, and has been since Feb of 2004. Mr. Valencia hails from Bogotá, Columbia.

So, does EA have a shop down Bogotá way? No? Exactly what do they do in Bogotá? Cocaine is the main industry, with a little Black Tar tossed in for fun.

Maybe EA-Spouse is not so worried that her "partner" remains employed is because they are in this country for purposes other than employment as a code monkey?

Could it be that EA-Spouse is Mrs. Valencia? And Mr. Valencia does a little import business on the side? What is the nature of your citizenship, EA-Spouse?

And, EA-Spouse, what is your relationship to RedFutura.net? You claim to be the poor wife of some over worked and under paid code monkey at EA, but your bonafides don't add up.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 07:40 pm (UTC)

Re: EA-Spouse DRUG CONX

I agree. I think it's time ea_spouse came clean with a few more facts. Something isn't quite "kosher" here, things just don't add up. I work at EA, and have no such issues, I know of no one else who does, except a few ex-employees who have other issues. And like the other guy a few posts up, if any of this where true, the press would have grabbed this and spun it up. What have we seen? NOTHING!!!

You know, ea_spouse, there are other game shops out there.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 05:03 am (UTC)

There is also another EA blog

http://bsfromts.blogspot.com
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 07:01 am (UTC)

Re: There is also another EA blog

Have you ever phoned EA techserv after 5.30pm or at the weekend? If you think they will be there then you live a different world to us, one where 'there is no spoon'.

Anyway, whoever it is seems to be largely talking to themself which makes this blog way more interesting.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 06:34 am (UTC)

GameWatch.org verification suggestion

For Gamewatch.org an excellent way to verify the identity of people is to create a ChaosEngine account and ask people who have verified industry email addresses to send you a private message. Although I'm not affiliated with TCE, you could ask them to forward all your PMs via email for automatic processing. TCE is fairly stringent with its access. You can also be vetted by other TCE users (in case your employer tries to block email to TCE). The web site is http://www.thechaosengine.com

And another thing, are these people who are 'trash talking' us for posting on this blog for real?

I work at EA and these shameful work practices are indeed prevalent.

These imbeciles must be either be:

a) very naive employees who think they are actually helping EA by posting such puerile drivel here
b) fanboys (game industry wannabee who laps up anything we discuss in the public forum)

If they're ancillary staff and not on a game team then it is very possible they may not work any significant amount of overtime. They may even have their 'head in the sand' enough to not realise how much occurs because they're always out of the office by 5pm.

EA_Spouse, I applaud your courage.

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller


And just to save you some time, Paster Niemöller doesn't work for EA or in the game industry.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: todpunk
2004-12-17 07:23 am (UTC)

Re: GameWatch.org verification suggestion

Two rules of social mechanics are in play here, I think:

1) People are afraid of change. When bad things are the norm, and someone stands up for change, you'd be surprised how many oppressed individuals will try to silence the rebellion.

2) People do not see movement in systems they are not a part of. Basically what that means is "If I'm not changing from X to Y, it must be stupid for others to move from X to Y." Kind of like one can see in the comics industry. With webcomics, there are MANY skeptics from older systems of syndication and abuse who think webcomics are silly, even though there are webcomic artists that are paid far better than traditional cartoonists ever have been. People argue about how nobody will ever be able to make a living by doing a webcomic, yet that is what many have already done and continue to do.

This change is no different. Wether the change will succeed, or if it will just be rolled over by the steamroller that real change is, nobody can say. Time will tell, and it ought to be fun to see. =c)
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