Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image | January 17, 2018

Scroll to top



Game Developer Quality of Life |

Surfer Girl reports on suspected game developer workplace problems at Bioware and asks:

Finally, I would encourage journalists to regularly devote coverage to [Quality of Life] issues.

What do you think?

Here’s why I don’t normally post about developer workplace issues:

  • I’m definitely sympathetic to game developers but do they deserve special attention beyond other workers? Probably not.
  • This is a free society. It’s the responsibility of employees and employers to get the most attractive deals that they can. If an employee (or an employer) is getting a bad or unfair deal, it’s their responsibility to improve their deal or get out of the bad relationship and move on to better ones.
  • Workplace atrocities are he said/she said type situations. Look at some of the well publicized workplace atrocities such as the EA Spouse incident. That may be completely legit but it could also be someone just overreacting and I don’t think the blogosphere crowd is in a good position to make that judgment. Also, the worst atrocities probably aren’t the most media-genic ones. I’m sure things a hundred times worse happened than the EA Spouse incident, but those made crappy blog snippets so no one talks about them.
  • Even if we can judge, what are we going to do? Journalists (of which us bloggers are a lower form) can bring awareness to such issues, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m skeptical of the benefit that will provide. Other sites (such as dice or monster) are much better suited for serious career advice and workplace concerns. Also, good friends and social support is more important than blog coverage.
  • John

    game developpers most certainly deserve a whole lot less attention than the underpaid workers that make the Nike shoes those developpers wear. ’nuff said.

  • I’m feeling what you are saying. Surfer Girl gives us a lot of insider info but she almost handles every topic with a negative sense

  • Meh. It’s Surfer Girl. Who cares what his/her opinion is?

  • mpz

    Software development in general mostly sucks.

    Anyway as John says, they can tag on somewhere down the queue in the list of sucky jobs, at least it pays well.

  • Eudaimo

    I appreciate your prerogative to report what you’d like to report on your blog, but I’m not sure that your arguments hold water:

    – RE: Game Devs do not deserve special attention over other workers.

    I don’t think there is anyone claiming that game devs deserve “special attention over other workers.” However, it is not uncommon for the specialty media in almost any industry to devote attention to quality of life issues. I have a hard time seeing how increasing discussion of an issue would constitute “special attention.”

    – RE: It’ s a free society

    You’re right that parties have a freedom to contract. That may weigh against government regulation of employment industries. However, Surfer Girl was not asking for government regulation, but public awareness. It is common and accepted that consumers and the general public can influence parties, particularly where one party has greater market strength than another. Consumers frequently, just for example, protest companies that employ “unfair” employment conditions. As a result, in several instances, the company has adopted more worker-friendly conditions. You can’t be suggesting that such “interference” is wrong?

    – RE: Employment conflicts are a he-said/she-said thing

    I don’t think there are many issues raised on blogs that don’t rely upon imperfect factual knowledge. Dare I say that most are? Moreover, I don’t think we should have to presume perfect factual knowledge to make policy determinations. Can’t the public discuss an issue and resolve that “things ought to generally be X way” without presiding over individual factual disputes?

    – RE: What Can we do?

    See above. I have seen first-hand that companies take consumer concerns into account when setting internal policies. It seems fatalistic to say “I don’t think it would help so let’s not bother talking about it.”

    Again, I don’t think you need to cover the issue if it doesn’t interest you, but I don’t think you have given very good reasons for why you shouldn’t.