An anonymous essay criticizing video game publisher Electronic Arts is unleashing a torrent of complaints about work practices in the game world.
The essay, published Wednesday by someone claiming to be the "significant other" of an Electronics Arts employee, blasts the game titan for pushing a team of workers to put in 85-hour weeks. More than 700 comments have been written in response to the Web log posting, with many claiming that EA isn't alone in the way it allegedly treats developers. "White-collar slavery is alive and well in the games industry," wrote one anonymous responder.
An EA spokeswoman on Thursday said the company does not normally comment on rumors.
The complaints echo findings from a survey earlier this year of developers by the International Game Developers Association. "Crunch time is omnipresent, during which respondents work 65 to 80 hours a week," the association said. "Overtime is often uncompensated."
The author of the original blog posting acknowledged that "few studios can avoid a crunch as deadlines loom." But the writer claimed that EA had compelled the team to work 12 hours a day, six days a week for weeks and that it is now requiring seven-day workweeks "with the occasional Saturday evening off for good behavior." Adding to the misery, the writer said, is that EA recently said it no longer wishes to offer developers a few weeks off at the end of a project.
"The love of my life comes home late at night, complaining of a headache that will not go away and a chronically upset stomach, and my happy, supportive smile is running out," the blog posting said.
One responder to the essay suggested that developers band together. "EA (and other companies) only get away with it because game developers don't join unions and take a foolish macho pride in working stupid hours," the commenter said. "Form a union, folks."