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[Dec. 15th, 2004|02:18 am]
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.

From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 05:28 am (UTC)

Re: Get ready for a lifestyle change!


Being in an executive position at my company, I must say that you are not representing your company very well. If an employee of mine publically represented my company in such a childish and immature manner, his or her days would be limited.

I'll certainly remember the name of your company.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 06:03 am (UTC)

Re: Get ready for a lifestyle change!

Hi my name is Dan MacDonald and I'm and independent game developer. I have a house in Bothell WA, just up the street from companies like Valve, Gas Powered Games, and Microsoft. I have a wife and three kids, a house and two cars. We have a nice medical plan and live a fairly typical middle class lifestyle. Except for one thing, I sit in my home office making games for a living.

Some games I make for clients some are my own, but I work on what I want, when I want.

There was a time when I really wanted to work in the industry, fresh out of college I stood out there with all the other poor chicks in the nest. Our heads reaching up on outstretched necks waiting for the industry to drop us a worm. Longing that fabled "entry level job" to drop into our mouths and let us realize our dreams of being game developers.

But then like many others, I realized something. I didn't need to be in the industry to make games. There was nothing stopping me from creating my own games and selling them. Never before in the history of game development has there been such unparalled access to game technology. Never before has there been a powerful distribution channel like the Internet so cheaply/freely available.

Every day there more more and more added to our numbers. Every day developers leave retail game development companies and start their own independent game development houses. They may still work long and hard, but now they work for their own IP and the ball is in their court. Now the publishers come to them, not the other way around.

What ea_spouse has written exemplifies everything that is wrong with the business model that the retail games industry has fallen into. So go ahead Mr. Anonymous back book (more likely a fire starter then anyone who actually is involved with EA), better pencil me in. I'll be making games until I'm 65 with or without you. I have no overhead, and no dependencies good luck trying to stop me.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 09:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Get ready for a lifestyle change!

I'm sorry, but I'm still failing to see where my post falls into childish and immature.

As I see it, my post says i'm proud to work for a company that has concerns about quality of life issues, and where we can address crunch issues openly with management. And sorry if I got misunderstood, my boss didn't joke about the post, but about me reading it.

And the fact that I opened my identity and the company I work for, does not by any means implies that I'm representing my company. I'm here representing myself as a worker and my thoughts on working conditions, not my company's.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 01:10 pm (UTC)

Re: Get ready for a lifestyle change!

Don't worry Fabio - some of us understand. Personally I can't see why anyone would be proud of working in a company that treats its staff like cattle, particularly in a supposedly "creative" industry.

Ed Moyse
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2005-02-02 03:18 am (UTC)

Re: Get ready for a lifestyle change!

What a moron...

Being in an executive position at my company, I must say that you are not representing your company very well. If an employee of mine publically represented my company in such a childish and immature manner, his or her days would be limited.

If you did hold an executive position at any company you would know that in most states you can fire someone for pretty much anything you don't like. So to say "days would be limited" tells me that you have most likely NEVER been in a position to hire or fire anyone. Otherwise you would have said "...his or her job would be terminated immediately." You also use the terms "My company" and "My employee's" yet you claim to hold a position. Something doesn't add up there now does it? Any company owner would definately not mince words like you do so it's safe to assume you own a little "jack" and a little "squat" and you are still trying to figure out a way to merge the two. Still, IF you do indeed hold an executive position somewhere, my guess is that it's your business, you are the only employee, it's located in your mom's basement, you have zero clients, and the executive you hold is about 2 inches of nothing between your legs.
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