Old 10-23-2019, 11:12 PM   #1
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Default Game development is exploitative

This appeared in my Twitter feed earlier and it reminded me of a dark truth: the video game development industry is HORRID. On top of the widespread documentation of poor conditions and pay, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence reporting nearly inhumane treatment of game programmers, artists, and staff.

The company described in the tweet literally does not make enough income to support any other management paradigm; even if we like indie studios, do you think they still deserve to exist with such policies?

The AAA industry rakes in billions of dollars per year and yet employee treatment is similar. Why is this allowed to happen?

I almost went into game development as a career and thank god I didn't. Everything I've wanted to do I've been able to do on the side as a hobby. I don't even know what the fuck the game industry can even DO to course-correct at this point. Exploitation happens in all career paths but this is fucking dire.

This clearly isn't sustainable... what do you think will happen?
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:05 AM   #2
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On top of the widespread documentation of poor conditions and pay, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence reporting nearly inhumane treatment of game programmers, artists, and staff.
If there's enough anecdotal evidence, could it actually be portrayed as research/stats?

For example, millions of people reporting the same scenario.
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:20 AM   #3
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The AAA industry rakes in billions of dollars per year and yet employee treatment is similar. Why is this allowed to happen?
in america, the answer's pretty simple: capitalism
in japan, the answer's also pretty simple: it's part of their work culture
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Game development is exploitative

Game development is a saturated market, product-wise. It has become so easy to make games that getting your game out there is a massive task. However here's the catch: if you want to compete on graphics and have your game be runnable on latest technologies, you're almost certainly doomed before even starting. That type of game development requires a lot of ressources (good machines and maybe good artists for high resolution graphics), which isn't suited for indie most of the time given no revenue.

Now that's not news though, so many will try to succeed in other types of games or bring some specific, less expensive style to the front (like the low poly trend). When such an opening happens, it's the right time to go big. Other than that, it's usually very, very hard to succeed (lack of publicity, nothing to pay devs/artists, short deadlines because don't wanna die as a company, etc).

So in the end, yes, it makes sense that the game development market has such poor conditions: it doesnt generate enough money due to saturation. The music industry is very similar; the money little artists get is terribly low. Is it bad ? Well yes it kinda is (musicians suffer even much more due to illegal downloads), but at the same time, it's just normal; if you want to work in an industry with that much competition, you better be hella good at it.
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:25 AM   #5
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excuse my ignorance but im honestly curious, outside of a few key publishers like bandai namco and squaresoft (enix?) and whatever (i guess koei tecmo and fromsoftware, too), what companies on the j-scene are actually AAA?

seems like all the big players that i am commited to arent really big at all and actually work with really small (<100 staffed) teams. like Falcom for example
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Game development is exploitative

also while we're on the topic of exploitative and japan, lets not bring up voice acting plz

thats a whole other can of worms
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Old 10-24-2019, 12:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Game development is exploitative

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This appeared in my Twitter feed earlier and it reminded me of a dark truth: the video game development industry is HORRID. On top of the widespread documentation of poor conditions and pay, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence reporting nearly inhumane treatment of game programmers, artists, and staff.

The company described in the tweet literally does not make enough income to support any other management paradigm; even if we like indie studios, do you think they still deserve to exist with such policies?

The AAA industry rakes in billions of dollars per year and yet employee treatment is similar. Why is this allowed to happen?

I almost went into game development as a career and thank god I didn't. Everything I've wanted to do I've been able to do on the side as a hobby. I don't even know what the fuck the game industry can even DO to course-correct at this point. Exploitation happens in all career paths but this is fucking dire.

This clearly isn't sustainable... what do you think will happen?
Oh it gets worse, if working in the game industry is bad, imagine playing some of the modern aaa trash.

How did NBA 2k20 get rated fucking E when it has an actual slot machine in it? Pokemon red blue and yellow get rated t for the game corner and that shit's not even predetory.

Blizzard / Activision's china situation.

Bethesda's Fallout 76 as a fucking whole. What a fucking trash hole, and they just announced a 100 dollar service for it.

Collector's editions not coming with all the DLC as an attachment: this one's a more personal opinion but come the fuck on.

Fire Emblem Three Houses has story DLC tied to the season pass.

Hyrule Warrior's multiple releases and DLC additions.

Cod's yearly release being worse.

And I'm not even touching lootboxes man. Don't even need to.

But there's some fun stuff in the gaming sphere.

Some games I'm personal a huge fan of, that aren't AAA releases:






Then there's some cool stuff like Tetris 99 on the Switch, but I dunno if I'd add that to the pile for long.

In short for me, modern gaming is so fucking bad I'm going to old school stuff / indie games almost exclusively because that's where the fun went.
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Old 10-24-2019, 12:36 PM   #8
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excuse my ignorance but im honestly curious, outside of a few key publishers like bandai namco and squaresoft (enix?) and whatever (i guess koei tecmo and fromsoftware, too), what companies on the j-scene are actually AAA?

seems like all the big players that i am commited to arent really big at all and actually work with really small (<100 staffed) teams. like Falcom for example
Capcom, Sega, Atlus, Sony, Konami, Nintendo of course, Game Freak, FromSoftware (the guys who made dark souls), are all what I'd consider Japanese AAA devs
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Old 10-24-2019, 12:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Game development is exploitative

The last "modern AAA game" I can remember playing and enjoying is Assassins Creed Black Flag and the game sucked, I just liked the novelty of some open world pirate shiet

emulating retro games/retro style indie games are where its at nowadays. Hell, you can get free RPGs that were made in RPG maker that have better stories than some of the new modern games
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Old 10-24-2019, 12:38 PM   #10
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thanks bro, we forgot compile heart or whoever was that neptunia birther... uhh idea factory i think, are they aaa? they seem pretty popular in the west anyway
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Old 10-24-2019, 05:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Game development is exploitative

So I've been working in the games industry for the past 7.5 years, most of that time on AAA games, and I have to say a lot depends on where you work and the position.

Development side is definitely much worse than publishing, and contracted workers get screwed over the most. I used to work as a contracted QA tester for a third party company and it was literal hell. Basically minimum wage with no job security. Management is also incredibly disconnected from all the workers there and treats everyone like children. That's what you get at an entry level games job. I think I stopped caring at that job after about 3 years, which lasted another 3 years until I found another job.

Now I work for publishing QA and the difference is night and day. I get so much support and they treat us right. I can't speak for all the development studios, but the people around me generally seem happy to be there. It is a stressful job but the support definitely makes the difference. I'm not saying the industry as a whole treats everyone great, if anything most of it isn't great, but I'm just saying it's not all a wasteland of bad morale and corrupt management in the west. You just hear about all the bad stuff.
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Old 10-24-2019, 06:11 PM   #12
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also while we're on the topic of exploitative and japan, lets not bring up voice acting plz

thats a whole other can of worms
I mean, just brought it up yourself
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Old 10-24-2019, 06:34 PM   #13
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So I've been working in the games industry for the past 7.5 years, most of that time on AAA games, and I have to say a lot depends on where you work and the position.

Development side is definitely much worse than publishing, and contracted workers get screwed over the most. I used to work as a contracted QA tester for a third party company and it was literal hell. Basically minimum wage with no job security. Management is also incredibly disconnected from all the workers there and treats everyone like children. That's what you get at an entry level games job. I think I stopped caring at that job after about 3 years, which lasted another 3 years until I found another job.

Now I work for publishing QA and the difference is night and day. I get so much support and they treat us right. I can't speak for all the development studios, but the people around me generally seem happy to be there. It is a stressful job but the support definitely makes the difference. I'm not saying the industry as a whole treats everyone great, if anything most of it isn't great, but I'm just saying it's not all a wasteland of bad morale and corrupt management in the west. You just hear about all the bad stuff.
The bad stuff is worth repeating endlessly
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Old 10-24-2019, 09:15 PM   #14
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So I've been working in the games industry for the past 7.5 years, most of that time on AAA games, and I have to say a lot depends on where you work and the position.

Development side is definitely much worse than publishing, and contracted workers get screwed over the most. I used to work as a contracted QA tester for a third party company and it was literal hell. Basically minimum wage with no job security. Management is also incredibly disconnected from all the workers there and treats everyone like children. That's what you get at an entry level games job. I think I stopped caring at that job after about 3 years, which lasted another 3 years until I found another job.

Now I work for publishing QA and the difference is night and day. I get so much support and they treat us right. I can't speak for all the development studios, but the people around me generally seem happy to be there. It is a stressful job but the support definitely makes the difference. I'm not saying the industry as a whole treats everyone great, if anything most of it isn't great, but I'm just saying it's not all a wasteland of bad morale and corrupt management in the west. You just hear about all the bad stuff.
I have to ask, have you ever watched jim sterling
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Old 10-24-2019, 10:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: Game development is exploitative

I don't really watch game reviewers.
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:10 PM   #16
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I don't really watch game reviewers.
I'd say he kinda does both, but I'd check out the jimquisition videos at the least. Especially the main one he has tagged on the channel. Those aren't game reviews.
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