Liz Shuler of the AFL- CIO recently sent a letter to unionize game developers to get better working conditions for themselves. The letter describes the recent working conditions and hours put in by game developers. This is the first we have heard from a member of the AFL- CIO. Therefore, She took the time to express her concerns and thoughts about the game industry and its developers.
“Through the fog of sleepless nights that fade into morning, piles of crumpled Red Bull cans and incessant pressure from management, you have accomplished the unthinkable. You’ve built new worlds, designed new challenges and ushered in a new era of entertainment.”
Recently, video game developers and publishers have been in the eyes of the players. Recent interviews have given us a look into how many hours are put into making video games. Rockstar Studios, for example, put their developers at 100 plus hours to meet their release date for Red Dead Redemption 2. Rockstar Studios released Red Dead Redemption 2 and Dan Houser, the co-founder of the company took the time to talk about the success of the game. To clarify, its typical of game developers to utilize “crunch time,” to finish the next portion of the game. “Crunch time” is the industry’s term to complete a game by its release date. In 2004, the spouse of a developer at EA who wrote on her blog after seeing the after effects of crunch time on her fiance.
In her letter, Shuler states the groundwork has already been laid for unionizing of game developers to begin. For this reason, grassroots groups are starting to appear. Game Workers Unite is a group whose main focus is to build a network of pro-union activists, exploited workers, and allies across the video game industry to unionize game developers. The recent layoffs from Activision and Blizzard show a need for unionization of developers. They stated their earnings for 2018 were not enough to keep everyone employed for the first quarter of 2019. Due to this, Activision and Blizzard laid off 800 workers who lost, “non-developer,” positions. The esports team and the marketing teams were hit hardest. Developers and gaming companies went to Twitter to provide help for those looking for work.
Consequently, Shuler states in the last paragraph of her open letter,
“Your fight is out fight, and we look forward to welcoming you into our union family.”
The talks of unionization are sweeping the nation. The industry now more than ever are seeing the realities as projected numbers for the year are not met. Any comments about this are greatly appreciated down below in the comments. Please tell us your thoughts about this down below or on social media at Twitter, Facebook, and at our website, The Nerd Stash. Keep on reading!