What really happened?
Epic games released Fortnite in 2017, ever since its release Fortnite has entertained millions of players all across the globe. The question arises that, what does it take to make a game as successful as fortunate? The answer to that question is that it takes 70 to 100 hours of work hours per week. They might tell you it takes a hostile work environment in which over time is implied to be an important thing to do. Not that anyone will force you to put in extra time but you did see what happened to those people who relaxed a bit, well they are not there anymore. According to a new report published on Polygon, this is the work environment at Epic Games. The report was put there after talking with anonymous sources who don’t want to get disclose their identities.
This trend in the gaming industry is progressing where people are afraid to talk about the extremely toxic work environment. Abusive work environments can be dangerous to their health and they can’t even put their names to the claims. This report puts focus on how the live services the latest industry get-rich-quick scheme, it may have a particular problem when it comes to crunch periods. Their periods of crunch work where developers are expected to dedicate their lives and time working on the game, that should normally happen towards the end of the project. But the problem is Fortnite is an ongoing project, that is rushing to meet the demand and keep updates coming at short intervals. SO according to the report at Epic games, there are crunch periods that last a month, because it is a never-ending project a hence never-ending crunch period.
Indeed, the popularity of a live service might bring in tomes of money but the people developing and updating the game work a ridiculous amount of time. according to some studies, working even 50 to 60 hours a week might lead to stress and fatigue, which will eventually result in a lack of productivity. In light of this study, working 70 to 100 hours seems abusive and unsafe. Matter of the fact is, if you are forcing your developer to work these ridiculous hours, you are mentally and physically abusing them.
Working at Epic Games
According to the report by Colin Campbell, some of the statements from employees are devastating. We will talk about coercion; the trend is that the company will say that the crunch is voluntary as they are not forcing anyone to do it. They say nobody’s got a gun to the employee’s heads, making them work insane hours. You will read in the quotes from Epic Games employees that there are unofficial consequences if your work is not completed in time. if its physically and logistically impossible to get the work done in normal working hours then you are probably going to get fired. The threat of your financial security is constant and real, the threat of your future existing at their pleasure being something they could take away the moment. It’s a very powerful bargaining chip and it’s not a chip you have to explicitly pull out and call it attention, it’s always in your back pocket whether you like it or not. The developers, the employees and the contractors they always know it’s there that’s how bargaining from a position of power works, you have the power you can do as you please. With the implied threat of firing hanging over everyone’s shoulders, the company doesn’t have to work hard to encourage people to work out of fear and coercion might not be a violent force it might not be putting a gun to your head, its none the less a form of force, a form of constant fear and threat of losing. A very manipulative form of force one that couched in an inherent imbalance in an employer-employee situation we have also talked before about how the unionization means that game publisher can look at workers as compared to completely disposable something they can take in use up and spit back out. These reports from polygon certainly seem to confirm what we have argued for quite some time.
Without any checks or balances and without anyone calling these companies on their blunders, these massive layoffs, these stories of burnouts, stress and crunch will keep on happening. They can do what they want and it’s only because of recent reports and recent unrests from the people who realized that enough is enough, that’s is the only reason we are hearing about this.
Epic’s excuses are pathetic and a bunch of lies. They claim that the average contractor over time is less than 5 hours per week. That doesn’t mean that the above average is not obscene like 70 to 100-hour work per week. Even in their pathetic story, they have exposed the coercive effect you know. If the contractor wants to come back, they have to prove willing to work at times needed to meet those critical release dates. Basically, they are asking you to put up with abusive stressful overtime or go away this is a major problem in the game industry and it’s a problem that the game industry higher-ups tried to convince you is a necessary evil. Something that has to be done to make their great games come out and stay up the popularity charts. Every industry has told people that we are organized workforces that negotiate in fair wages and fair hours, it would be the death of those industries and those industries survived just fine.
That billion dollars’ industry is headed up by the Richie rich people who can actually find quite a bit of money when they need to for it. That working at Epic do report good wages and some people report they have never been mistreated at all though they have heard of other people working ridiculous amounts of time. some people see it as a trade-off but it really is not.