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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: todpunk
2004-12-17 07:04 am (UTC)
Could I just point out to you idiots claiming that ea_spouse has laid out their relationship/situation/status that there is no such reference? I will admit, I have no read every comment that has been made by ea_spouse, but I have read all the entries in this web log. Nowhere does "she" mention that "she" is in fact a she at all. Other than the screen name, there's not much mention of marriage either. For all you or I know, any of the following situations is equally possible (all the more equally likely because they live in California):

1) "she" could be a "he" and his wife could work for EA.
2) "she" could be either gender, and "her" Significant Other could be the same gender
3) "she" could work for EA too. I can't find any point where it's mentioned otherwise. In fact, it seems very firsthand the account given. That could just be a joint effort between them both, though, so who knows.
4) "you" could be a moron, and not even know it, and then post your assumptions here, and wonder why everyone's looking at you weird.

Granted, most people are more comfortable with the classic situation where "she" is the little woman and "he" is going to work to support the family, but be realistic and don't just assume. And as a warning, this is the internet. There are people here that are indeed smarter than you (and me, for that matter). If you want to post your opinion about their situation, even if it's not an assumption, make sure it's well thought out, or someone is going to wipe the floor with your "knowledge" and put you to shame. Welcome to the new world.

Good luck to EA_Spouse, whatever the situation may be. Some may not think it's a noble cause (heck, I don't know as I do), but it's better to see someone fight bad things than let them pass by.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 08:31 am (UTC)

Just wiping the floor...

Ok - the first one is a net interview so the guy might be talking crap or just wrong. However, the New York times refers to ea_spouse as a her, and claims to have spoken to her SO who is said to be a him.

I agree people claiming he is the breadwinner may be misguided because it sounds like they both earn decent money.

If we all had her gender wrong, don't you think (s)he would have clarified this?

http://www.netjak.com/review.php/768
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/21/business/yourmoney/21digi.html?ex=1258693200&en=40a60cc6d7971ab2&ei=5090
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From: jbosman
2004-12-17 03:33 pm (UTC)
This is the best you people can do? Ficticious tales based on derogatory assumptions? Because GameWatch.org was purchased from a columbian company, EA_Spouse has a drug problem? By an equally rotten rationale, I might be able to assume that since you post anonymously, you work at Electronic Arts, have no life, no family, and are a tool in every way. It's clear that you don't actually have anything intelligent to say, and are in fact just posting the same vomitous insult in different ways...

I would welcome anyone who actually had something to say, aside from character assassinations and similar diatribe. Tell us, with good reason, why what we stand for is wrong; how we are hurting your big precious corporations. Please, make intelligent comments. You aren't required to show your support, but show what you stand for in a more inventive fashion.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-18 05:27 am (UTC)

Keep up the great work!

I think Gamewatch is a great idea and wish you luck. The situation at EA is hardly new or unique. It is, in fact, ancient and very common. Indeed, the rich taking advantage of the poor, more than anything else, defines human history. It even defines more than 99% of American history, though the fact is hardly stressed in our history books, and sadly, reading certain posts, you can see how ignorant some of the masses are.

May you open bright and shining paths of enlightenment.

---Chris
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[User Picture]From: up_kilt
2004-12-19 03:00 am (UTC)

this is disgusting

Hello, I am an avid gamer and I have supported you all since day one. This event however is dastardly and yet sadly not very surprising. I ahve often wondered how EA amnages to ship there product so often and quickly, I never for a moment thought they did it by raping their empoyees. I must say that the people at EA do some fantastic work and have put out some great titles. Once gamewatch.com get started i will be glad to help in any way that I can. I very much liked the Dec. of Independance at the top, for to long corporate America screwed its people. Well anyway, I empathize with you and your struggle and I look forward to helping.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-24 11:13 pm (UTC)

It's much the same at many companies

I work for IBM, and I have to say they also treat their employees like slaves, promising bonuses and publishing positive results, record profits, and then taking our bonuses away because we didn't meet targets, unreasonable targets they establish at the beginning of the year.
I work in the Business Consulting arm of IBM, and I have to say that in most projects I am on, it is so badly mismanaged that most employees have to work 12-16 hours a day for the entire project. Day 1 is "crunch time". The majority of consultants at IBM do not get overtime if they are at too high a level, only select "bands" of technical employees are eligible for overtime. If you are project management or functional, forget overtime and expect to work 12-16 hours a day uncompensated. And project management frequently expects people to be available on call 7 days a week, just in case something goes wrong.
However, at IBM, it's already ingrained into the culture that you will be working long hours with no compensation. Most people are afraid they will be fired so they go along with it with no complaints.
My situation at IBM isn't too bad, I am one of those people who can get the work done in a fraction of the time that it takes the average person to do the work, so I rarely have to put in those kinds of hours. And I am one of the lucky few who do get overtime. But there are a lot of employees who don't and work longer hours than I do. They complain about it at lunch, but when it comes down to it they don't complain to management because they are afraid of getting fired.

I've heard the situation is worse at Accenture.

I could probably write my own blog article about the IBM situation, I probably will one of these days.
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[User Picture]From: souless_samurai
2004-12-25 02:12 pm (UTC)

Re: It's much the same at many companies

being an Ex- h.p/compaq employee id say that its the IT industry all over thats the issue here, im amazed that somethings not come out sooner having a few friends who worked at chert. for EA, im suprised its not come out sooner, then again maybe im not, most people are so dedicated to this line of work they will do whatever it takes to stay there... i made that mistake with HP and in the end needed to walk away or end up insatutionalised...

IBM, H.P/Compaq,EA, Intuit, Sage, some of the guys over at ex world com... hell microsoft i hear these stories all the time, im just glad someones doing something about it at last
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From: dogens_zen
2004-12-29 10:46 pm (UTC)

I salute you!

I'd neglected to check back in for a while (the comments to the original thread had started becoming recursive).

I'm impressed with the direction you have taken this growing awareness and energy for change. If there are ways I can help, I would like to. I am a management puke, but I am also a parent and very interested in seeing our industry find a better balance between work and life for its employees.

I hope you have enjoyed the holidays and have a successful and happy New Year.
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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-30 02:43 am (UTC)

Re: I salute you!

Hello there. Thank you for the note; happy new year to you as well. =)

If you are planning to attend the GDC next year, I would strongly encourage you to keep an eye out for ther Quality of Life summit. From what I understand Jason Della Rocca was hoping to obtain a summit-only pass to be added to the regular convention pass at low cost to attract more game developers. We need developers seriously discussing these issues, and their solutions, in an open forum. I would really like it if everyone concerned about these issues -- and so many of us are -- could make it to that summit and make their voices heard.
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[User Picture]From: curlingwurling
2004-12-30 02:54 pm (UTC)
ahh

my other half also works for afore mentioned games company.

I moved to be with him 6 months ago - and three weeks after that he started working hellish hours.

he was told that it would be until november - now in january-well almost - he was given 3 days off for xmas - during which he was ill all the way through! - and it may well be until february!

in the mean time all wedding plans are on hold. ok so i could do do them but it isnt about me its about us and i dont want to do it on my own!

i am furious that all i see of my h2b is a few hours and then sleep!

Ok now he is in his 20s- but i am so worried about what happens in 20 years - or less, when he is older ! what the hell is it doing to him? and his colleagues!

some of his colleagues are existing on 4 hrs sleep a night and pizza and junk food -one even ended up writing his car off as he fell asleep.

arghhhhhh

gonna add you to my friends!

good to know im not the only one in the same boat.

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
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[User Picture]From: kira_
2004-12-31 02:06 am (UTC)
Wow, Livejournal is so full of these fake journals. It's fun when you make people follow you off a cliff like lemmings, isn't it, ea_spouse? I can't blame you, you were bored and you wanted attention, so you picked an obscure topic like being the spouse of an EA employee, and sure enough, word spread and people bit. Of course it's always a matter of time before the wiser readers blow your cover. There's no way around it. There's always a flaw in fictional stories, since you're only human.
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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-31 02:10 am (UTC)
Please, kira_, feel free to "blow" away. =)
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-01 10:16 pm (UTC)

ea_spouse = socialist idiot + whiner + gutless

do everyone a favor...leave the game industry, the software industry, the US, the planet. use the last $90k you made at the 'sweatshop' and buy a one-way ticket on Virgin Galactic.
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[User Picture]From: jonax
2005-01-20 06:02 pm (UTC)

Re: ea_spouse = gutless?

A bit hypocritical, considering that you're posting that anonymously.
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[User Picture]From: chewi
2005-01-03 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your wonderful efforts. I'm six months away from graduating and being a games developer is what I've wanted to do for longer than I can remember... but I'm scared. The industry is in turmoil but you've given me hope. (-:

You're right about the power of the Internet. I was having a very formal meal at a hotel with a bunch of people I didn't know and somebody mentioned this thing. I couldn't believe they'd heard about it too.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-10 08:09 am (UTC)
Why should you be scared?
EA and other video game companies are dying to hire kids like you at a lower salary to replace burn outs like EA spouse. the industry isn't in turmoil. It's growing like CRAZY!

you should be thankful for this blog. now you know that EA is all about the gold stamp on your resume. get in and get out. your 2nd employer doesn't know jack sh*t about EA's long working hours. they just know it's a successful industry leading company and you'll have it on your resume to get that 20% salary increase in your next job.

Look out for #1 baby!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-03 01:28 pm (UTC)
Wow, imagine that.. Now She's profiting off this little rant.. Capitalism is so evil, until a few sweet deals fall into your laugh.

Seriously, if it's that bad..leave.. I don't know how many times it can be said. It really is THAT simple. EA can treat you as bad as they want, and you don't have to stand fo rit.. but obviously you do.. and why?

THE SWEET CASH.

bottom line.

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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-05 03:47 am (UTC)
What the hell are you talking about? How is she "profiting" off this?
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[User Picture]From: rainofbastards
2005-01-05 07:50 pm (UTC)
Some people are talking a bunch of trash about this blog being a hoax, or about ea_spouse lying about this and that. I'm not interested in that. If it's a hoax, fine, I bit, I guess.

What this boils down to, beyond specifics, is that workers ARE treated unfairly in the first world today. Even short of the extremes ea_spouse proposed (90 hour work weeks, no overtime, "put up or shut up" HR policies, etc), workers in America are treated like shit, as though the company employing them are doing them a favor by giving them a job.

How could anyone see that as fair? How can anyone come on this blog and say that ea_spouse's actions are greedy or warped in any way?

Here is a fact: Human beings have rights. The end. Being exploited by an employer is never acceptable, regardless of the conditions. Standing by and watching people being exploited, then passing off their complaints as "whiney"... This is how you people see the world? Do you feel no empathy for other human beings? You seriously think that making someone work more than they should have to or underpaying people is acceptable?

And buying into the "put up or shut up" mentality by saying "well, go work somewhere else" is such a cop-out. Even if they did, what would that help? The individual? What about the other people still employed by this company, still being exploited by corporations who see nothing of humanity beyond dollars earned?

I think that the efforts of ea_spouse are absolutely commendable. Worker's rights are an incredibly important issue, and I hate seeing them over-looked by self-centered jerks with no concern for human rights. If you don't think human rights are important, don't participate in the revolution. But actively fighting against them is disgusting.

Ea_spouse acting as whistle blower was a brave and bold move. I can't believe anyone would ever think to belittle that.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-10 08:16 am (UTC)
you signed the contract with your employer.
so either suck it up and stop b*tchin' or leave.
the corporate reality is you're replaceable. either use that to your advantage by making career moves or sit around and let yourself be exploited. It's your choice!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-06 04:19 am (UTC)

tsk tsk EA

Hey I'm EA, lets make games like Doom 3, and MOHAA Pacific assault where nobody can play the games with good quality unless they have a top of the line Alienware!
Responce: Thats a great idea!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-06 08:27 am (UTC)

Funny

how adults in the game industry are slave b*tches to adolesants and teenage punk kids. you want less hours at work? force your kids to get outside and do something physical.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-12-06 05:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Funny

God you're stupid.
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From: gurlsarepretty
2005-01-07 04:38 am (UTC)
this is the first time i've read anything in this blog (i came here from an article in EGM =D), and i'm glad i did come. even if this journal is a fake (not that i think it is or anything), it brings up some interesting points about the morals of software companies. hopefully someone with political power will read into this =)
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-08 04:26 pm (UTC)
i as well first heard of this jornal through EGM, and i have allways aspired to become a computer programmer of any kind. i have enjoyed working with computers, and love video games and i heard the pay was good. but after reading this and what was said in EGM i am haveing second thoughts.I think that what you are doing is amazing, and will help out the next generation of commputer programmers, and game designers greatly.

Patrick, O'Brien
Cranford, New Jersey.
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