Further to yesterday’s post on inequality, there was an interesting screed on labour issues in the video game industry this past weekend over at Jacobin. If you’re not familiar with the publication, it bills itself as “a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture,” so yeah, it was obvious where the story was going to go.
The article takes aim at how big video game companies overwork and underpay their employees, at least as compared to other software jobs. Among its most egregious findings is that a “whopping 84 per cent of respondents work ‘crunch time,’ those notorious 41+ hour work weeks which line up with the end of big projects. Of those, 32 per cent worked 61-80 hours week (and usually goes on for months).” The game industry, it appears, readily takes advantage of young workers who have a passion for the medium.
The proposed solution, which really shouldn’t be surprising given Jacobin’s political bent, is unionization – that workers need to get organized and demand better treatment from management.
The labour issues certainly do exist and a good number of employees, if you talk to them, do complain about long hours and sometimes tedious work if they’re on the lower rungs of the company. But unionization is a terrible idea that ignores the naturally occurring, self-correcting solution already under way. Read the rest of this entry »