2004-11-12 04:01 am (UTC)
Don't be a sheep
I used to work for EA. I am still doing some games, but not for the big game companies and on my terms.
Folks, let me get this out. If you are doing 80 hrs a week, you are a sheep. As a sheep you will be shaved untill nothing is left, and then you get slaughtered.
Someone should sue the game industry, and may that someone become rich in doing so and may that someone be you. There is nothing un-ethical about this and you are not a rat for doing this and you are not letting your co-workers down. In fact, you will improve their working conditions. Think about it: get rich and do something good for you co-workers. The game industry is deceitful, engaged in slavery, and breaks state and federal laws. Most likely, you are NOT a professional as defined by the labor laws. The game industry wants to call you a professional, so it can work you, but you are not. Get over it. Educate yourself on your rights. Given the level of violations by the game industry you can sue and win and get rich.
Hollywood used be like the games industry. Some actor took the trouble to represent his fellow co-workers. He improved the film industry to be professional and went on to become a US president.
The game industry is a 10 billion dollar plus industry. Games will be made regardless of working conditions. Let's improve the working conditions. Currently, companies like EA are not worth the money, your friends and family, your health, your sanity and your dignity. Don't be a sheep.
2004-11-13 10:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Don't be a sheep
My name is Josh Pastreich. I am a union organizer and I am helping with the class action lawsuit against EA for overtime violations. Did you work for EA in the last 4 years? Maybe you could be that someone. I'm looking for some people with some fire in their bellies (not mutton). Let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org
2004-11-12 04:17 am (UTC)
EA sucks !
EA sucks ! Their games are just over-rated, more of the same, bland sequels of un-original financially viable games released years ago.
2004-11-12 04:19 am (UTC)
When a buddy of mine sent me this link earlier, I had no idea it was about to make me completely question my plans for the next few years.
I recently signed a contract for EA.
What are my options now? Run for the hills?
I certainly don’t want waste my life at this Enron Guantanamo Bay hybrid.
The overwhelming response to EA_Spouse’s posting does indicate a good chuck of credibility that’s hard to brush off as the usual healthy employee bitterness.
Ironically, my last studio was forced into closure by EA’s ‘Godzilla Stomping’.
Looks like EA get to fuck me twice. What a great year
Best of luck everyone.
Good luck to you. The only advice I can give is what people have been saying above -- stick up for your rights. And KEEP TRACK OF YOUR HOURS. That's the one thing I would change from our position if we were in yours. We have records, but they're scattered all over the place.
Alternatively, you could find someplace else to work. I have had a number of people contact me to let me know of studios that are hiring. If you drop me an email (email@example.com) I would be happy to pass them along to you.
2004-11-12 04:24 am (UTC)
Just a gamer
I must say it sucks that Ea and others do that stuff . But I would like to say thanks to all those that put up with that crap work hours and I feel you all should fight for better work hours . I as a gamer would rather play a good game then one with alot of bugs. and pushing games out just to make a fast buck isn't the way to go. so please all you programmers get together and take action ! go on strike !
Kids do need there Moms and dads. and moms and dads do need time with there kids . even single people need some time off.
Good luck . I just wish all jobs (whats left of them) were fair. Fast food work sucks . get paid minmal wage and deal with jerk offs all day who think the people behind the counter have no lifes. well to let you all know . they do . they even have kids. and they stand all day long ,sometimes 9 to 10 hours every day to just take orders and make the food ! playing a good game after working so hard would be so much better the playing a bad one that is rushed !
Things need to change !
2004-11-12 04:37 am (UTC)
Re: Just a gamer
I just want to say that I appreciate your thoughts. I posted links to this article at some major gaming forums yesterday -- the overwhelming response by the gamers was "Game developers are supposed to be dedicated and want to work every waking minute on their games," or "Shut up and quit whining."
All I could get from that was that gamers just don't care how the products are made, or who is hurt during the process, and that some of them just don't care about the actual humans that make their games, so long as they get made, and quickly. That's hurtful to those that work so hard to make these games -- they do it because they like games themselves, and because they like making gamers happy. To have a bunch of young kids say "Oh yeah, I don't give a crap about you and how hard you work," is hard to swallow. Well, I chalk it up to them being young...someday, they'll have to deal with working in the real world themselves.
Thanks for the kinds words.
2004-11-12 04:26 am (UTC)
they buy other companies and then dismantle them.
they kill games and dev teams!
stop buying from ea! even better, you can distribute freely to your friends illegal copies of their software!! (but dont get caught:D)
bottom line, dont finance them!
and as for the employees, sue them! NOW! STOP WORKING OVERTIME HOURS!!
if they threathen you, make them fire you illegaly and sue them AGAIN
that will teach them a lesson!
WE CAN KILL EA. WE ALLTOGETHER CAN KILL THE BEAST
2004-11-12 04:29 am (UTC)
This is starting to hit some major sites. Check out CNET:
Hopefully this is going to make EA sit up and take review. They can't keep expecting people to work shit hours, not pay them for it, and then not give them decent time off afterwards.
Very interesting. Thanks for the heads-up.
2004-11-12 04:32 am (UTC)
Been there done that
I used to work at Ubisoft in Montreal and it was the same as EA. I heard it was different now but I doubt that; one of my friend just left Ubisoft for another game company and the reason being he was still working 10 to 12 hours a day/ 7 days a week and getting paid shit. (eh... and not having a convenient family life which is like more important than cash!)
When I was there I was paid 30000$/year and working an average of 60 hours/week. With the "overtime" paid I managed to get paid 35k to 38k/year, but they would not pay all overtime (ie the first 2 hours of overtime was not paid... so to get back at them, I slacked the first 2 hours since I was not paid.)
The sad thing is, in my case, working in the video game industry was a youth dream and I managed to work at Ubisoft for about 3 years, before being completely burned out and disgruntled. It was not only the salary being bad or working overtime all the time and the impact on your social life that was problematic, but the perspective you had as an employee from the upper management was just miserable. I mean after 3 years of hearing promises and bullshit, you get to a point that you just don't have any future there or faith in your bosses. That was my case at Ubisoft.
Now I'm happy, I work in a company related to the video game industry, (they use our products), where they care of their employees, we have close to no overtime (you can't escape a little bit every 6 months or so, I mean it's normal and -ok-); Now I have the feeling my job is being considered important : I feel important as part of a team and for my company, that's good for the morale you know. My salary is almost 3 time what I had at Ubisoft (now ~75k+bonuses and social packages etc...) for 40h/week, and I have a social life too.
Just for fun, I think I will apply for a job at EA in Montreal (they opened an office last year) and I will tell them I'm only working 40h/week and if they start bullshitting me, I'll tell them to take their job and go fuck themself with it!
Guys, you need to get some balls! There are other jobs out there, so might think about it seriously.
2004-11-12 04:34 am (UTC)
hmm, just like non-profits (rant ahead)
This whole thing reminds me way too much of a pericular non-profit that I've been working with (but not for) for the past year and a half. I can desticntly remember when one of the staff members called me on my cell phone at 10 or 11pm to make travel aragments for me. This was during one of the worst crunch times for them - thats what happens when you plan confrences for over 200 youth. Oh and its an anual confrence so they get to look forward to that every year. There's also the endless mailings out to hundreds of students, retreats, media stuff. Oh and in their biggest office i'd say there are about 30 staff at most, the other two offices have three to five staff. And remember this is a non-profit so these people don't get payed anything near where people in the game making inderstry do.
More about the hours...at the perticular confrence that they called me about regarding the flight plans all of the staff had to get up before 6 and had to stay up until after 12 and they were working the entire time. Also the location of the confrence had horrible cell phone reception and because that's the way most of the staff get a hold of each other during confrences (or when they're out of the office) there were some people who had cell phone bills of over $200, and no, this org. didn't cover it...note that most of the people on staff who had those horrible bills were inturns or new staff who hadn't been/wouldn't be issued a company phone.
As far as managment goes, that's whats fueling a lot of my frustrating towards this organization. There are some amazing people in some of the managment positions...but they are few and far between (i'd say three people) and the executive director isn't one of those people. There's one perticular manager who won't listen to anyone below him (which includes the students this person works with as well as the staff members). This person is the main reason I'm going on this very long rant. So while I was in the office of the org I've been ranting about today (I was there keeping one of the staff company for an hour and a half or so) I went to one of the other staff member's desk to look at some pictures and it turns out that one of the summits is going to be in freezing Minisoda (sp) why in such a freezing state (oh and this will be in Jan.) you ask, because the aftermentioned staff member in the managment position won't listen to the person I was talking to nor any of the other staff directly affected. Note that the staff member I was talking to looked like they were ready to cry, it was horrible.
But yea, ok, I'm done...just thought I'd let you all know it's bad a lot of other places too
2004-11-12 05:56 am (UTC)
Run.... no really. RUN.
As an EA widow, this is not the first time I have seen this story. I am also not new to crunch time environments. A friend worked at Industrial Light and Magic, and I myself worked in tech for a long time. Normally I would roll my eyes at such a story, but as my husband had worked contract at EA I know it all too well. At the time 300 or so employees had been laid off from another game company who let them work two weeks into payroll before telling them the company was going out of business. Also not uncommon in the game world. At the time, any job was good to have. Then the EA death march began. Not only were the hours exactly the same as you describe, my husband developed an ulcer from the stress. Not knowing if his contract would be renewed every 3 months, ramping up on a game, loosing a couple weeks pay, and working 7 days a week/14+ hours. With a commute of 2 hours a day. One hour each way. It isn't an exaggeration he got an ulcer. Thankfully now he is only occasionally symptomatic.
Luckily since I had also worked in high tech and realized there are two types of companies which EA belonged to the less desirable. They will work whoever they can to burn out, just because it is cool to work there. You know... that feeling of when you wear the company shirts people come up to you and gush. Industrial Light and Magic was that way too. You should feel privileged to work there. And you do. For a while. You try not to get sucked into such things, but you do. The ego boost is a weird perk. I thought all of that was ridiculous, but even I got sucked in at one point.
After about 8 months he got a better offer. Still often works long hours. No big deal. Each and every time I hear your story I am glad he didn't stay longer and perhaps taken a permanent position. Many in his team from the company that went under did. All really talented and hard working folks. I hear the same stories from them. Long time workers in the game industry used to crunch time.
The story you tell I have heard at least a dozen times since he left. Obviously not a huge sample, but I have yet to hear the opposite. And I am looking for it. There were a lot of interesting bennies at EA. It would have been fun, but in the end they were just not worth sleep, my husband and I spending time with each other. Which, since we both find each other really fun, was a significant issue.
I really, really get where you are at. It sucks. I know the game industry can be really boom and bust, but for your relationship and your sanity scour the net for other companies. You are not the only EA widow.
Wow, that was a damn good read. the article spread around the Command & Conquer Community really fast. I wanted to go to work for E.A. to work on the CnC Games, but after reading that, I think I'll go somewhere else...
2004-11-12 04:54 am (UTC)
So, I've been skimming through all these posts for the past day, and have left some of my thoughts here at there. Yes, I'm a whore for online discussions 'cause they intrigue and amuse me.
From the posts that I have read, I've gotten this sense of one-sidedness from the situation and I find it rather silly. Yes, it is good to question things and to bring into light the problems that do exist. But with the bad, there is still good. Here are my thoughts all in one post, I don't offer a real solution to the problems unfortunately, but again, the lure of online discussions... I'm sure that this'll get ripped apart soon enough too. But ah well, that's internet "debates" for ya!
The issue at hand is overtime. Overtime when made mandatory. I believe that it is all up to the individual to decide whether or not s/he wants to work extra hours or not. Unfortunately, there are leads or managers that will wonder why you're not doing those extra long hours if you decide not to 'cause they see it as the norm. But there are leads and managers that believe it is people first. If you have a problem with doing overtime, TALK to your lead/manager/whoever's above you about it. And usually something can be worked out if they're a reasonable person.
Then there's the problem of everyone thinking that overtime comes with the job. Overtime can come with any job. The way to avoid overtime in gaming is to make sure everything in preproduction goes well. Solid designs and all that nice stuff. Don't make any major changes after that. But I'm guessing most of the people posting here who are having problems, aren't in a position to decide whether or not changes get made or not. So communication is again the key. Bring up your problems rather than accomodating them and just doing the work like sheep then, if you're not happy. It all begins with communication. I'm not saying to stop there with your activism, but make sure you do that first.
(Note for the following few paragraphs: I, in no way, am a representative speaking for all EAC employees or EA in general. Just a singular human being with individual thoughts!)
I work at EA Canada and have had NO problems with overtime. I've been asked maybe 3 times in the last 2 years to work overtime. And if I had a reason to not do it, they understood it. Any other overtime I've done has been my own choice. Because I want to get the work done. My leads and managers have all been great to work with, but maybe I got lucky with the teams I've been with. I also point out that there have been some structuring changes made that are trying to reduce the amount of overtime and create more steady hours throughout the year.
As for QA, I've heard good and bad about it as well. I do agree that they aren't respected as much as they should be, both by the company and by fellow employees. There are a lot of dev people who think they're worthless, and I find it pretty sad. Because without QA, our games would never ship. I've already heard of them being gyped in holiday pay, or getting a week of pay a month later. That is unacceptable. For a company as big as EA, they should be on their toes about these things. Plus the extended periods of OT for them, it's quite unfortunate. But some people don't mind it, I'm sure. My idea to fix that is to have shifts, days and nights. That way QA won't get burnt out so easily...
(continued into next post...)
2004-11-12 04:55 am (UTC)
Now I'm not gonna say that EA is THE BEST place to work for, but here in Vancouver, it's pretty damn good. Would I rather be doing sweatshop work at Mainframe, or being fired over an e-mail at Radical? NO. I do have my complaints about the company, but still, I have to admit I have it pretty good here (and no, I don't make 60k a year, drive a sports car or live in Kits). They do have practices that should be changed, I agree with that. I don't doubt for a second that these negative tales are true. But I just wanted to say that it's not like that everywhere, 'cause everyone here seems to be getting that mob mentality. "Oh, don't buy EA games!" "Oh, I won't ever work for EA!" Sure go ahead and do that, but you have to admit, we do make some damn good games. There ARE talented people in the studios. Pirating games is also NOT an answer. It's just childish.
Also, I'm guessing most of these horror stories are coming from the American studios... What's up with that?
So speak up when something isn't working out. That's the first step to changing things. Don't say, "Oh that's how it is and how it always will be," or "Well, if you don't like it, then find another job." We're here to make games right? Choose what is important to your life and stand up for it.
There ya go.
2004-11-12 05:07 am (UTC)
My own experience.....
While I don't have anything beyond anecdotal experience of EA...I can certainly agree that at times the pressure put upon people at various levels during the development of a game is intense.
What I would suggest though is that usually it's not because of some corporate policy at the Publisher. Well.....ultimately they take some blame but it's more complex than it appears....
Essentially at a corporate level a Publisher is putting pressure on middle management to perform and make sure they hit targets with regards to the completion of projects. Mostly this pressure is aimed at getting those managers to hit dates that the managers assured them were achieveable. In their turn the middle managers agreeing to, or suggesting, completion dates in an attempt to impress. Quite often those same middle managers have a faulty preception of the consequences of failing to make dates or in telling the truth (being realistic) in the 1st place.
And.....I have to confess that for a lot of my career I've been one of those middle managers and I did my fair share of forcing, bribing, cajoling etc etc people into working too long too often. Mostly in my case it was in an attempt to pull screwed up projects back into line that I'd not started...and, the one thing I will say in my defense, is that I did as many or more hours than the people working for me. And sometimes for less remuneration.
But guess what? Eventually I realised that the world didn't end when we didn't deliver. The sky didn't fall and, more importantly, it didn't fall on me. SO I stopped saying I'd attempt to get things done if I thought I couldn't ("I'll try" often gets morphed into "I'll definately do it" in corporate brains).
What I'm really getting at is that the causes of the problems people have been describing in this thread often (usually) reside somewhere in the middle of a company not with the people at the top. Yes...of course they want the impossible but somebody, somewhere tells them that it's actualy possible and then they make their plans etc etc.
So if there are middle managers/Producers/whatever reading this. Take a step back and think about what you're really achieveing by pushing people. What does it really achieve? We're only makng computer games, it's not Brain Surgery. Try some perspective...the sky won't fall....
SIGN ME UP!!
What ever it is you need me to sign or whatnot I'll sign it!
Hope this works out too, I myself have worked in QA for 2 1/2 years steadily and was disposed of like a worthless worker for no good reason!
Lead the charge Lady, we're with you!
Information regarding the lawsuit and who to contact is here:http://www.livejournal.com/users/ea_spouse/274.html?thread=197138#t197138
The lawyers would be able to tell you more about your position than I would. The QA situation is also not good, but I don't know what sort of position you guys are in, being hourly (unless you aren't hourly?), since the suit is about wages owed. Believe me, though, I empathize. The QA situation is not good anywhere... in that much, EA is not alone. I do think that QA will improve as studios begin to recognize the value of quality IN QA, but we are most definitely not there yet.
Thanks for your support. =)
Ironically enough, I found this article when I was surfing around EA's Sims 2 website.
I have a friend who works for EA. I hope they don't do this to him, too. I wish you the best of luck, ea_spouse
, and hope you and your SO are able to get out of this awful situation intact.
2004-11-12 05:22 am (UTC)
Go to the media: TV, newspapers, radio, NPR
If you want it fixed, get some attention on it.
Talk to KTLA, The LA Times, radio & TV stations. Use your smarts. Get some buzz around this and IT WILL make things happen. SOMEONE WILL LISTEN.
2004-11-12 05:24 am (UTC)
Re: Go to the media: TV, newspapers, radio, NPR
Um...duh. There's a reporter from the LA Times that posted several pages back asking for people to interview. This is obviously already being taken to the mainstream media. Wait, let me find it...
If you're an employee of EA, might I respectfully suggest you put your money where your mouth is, and contact her?
2004-11-12 05:27 am (UTC)
This isn't surprising. It is pretty common for developers of EA's best made and most publicised games to quit and take their team elsewhere. This happened with 2015, the creators of Medal of Honor:Allied Assault. 22 of the team (including ALL the leads) went and created Infinity Ward, while the rest of 2015 went off to make another war game (Men of Valor) unhassled by EA. The same has happened before on multiple occaisions, maybe not exclusively with EA but not rare in the least.
Just like many companies, they swelled to such a large degree that their inflation causes them to stop caring about their workers. When they pay millions of dollars to advertise games and build their hype to such incredible degrees they feel compelled to push their workers harder, thinking that it ensures the game will be complete on time even if the developers are on schedule.
None of this surprises me in the least.