Electronic Arts have come under a lot of flak lately, mainly stemming from blog postings complaining about their insane demands on staff. This one from a ‘disgruntled spouse’ is the most visible. Death marches are a fairly common occurence in the game development industry, whereby developers are asked to work very long hours as a product nears a pre-determined release date. EA seems to be taking this to a new level, punishing workers for not working super-long hours, and using the death-march as a rule rather than an exception.
Joystiq has what appears to be a leaked email response from Senior VP Rusty Rueff, which in my opinion just makes things worse. The email is a bunch of PHB waffle, talking about unrelated issues and basically saying that EA will never pay overtime, and hey you work for a great company so stop bloody complaining. Some gems from Rusty:
We consider our artists to be ?creative? people and our engineers to be ?skilled? professionals who relish flexibility but others use the outdated wage and hour laws to argue in favor of a workforce that is paid hourly like more traditional industries and conforming to set schedules.
Translation: we pay you wages without overtime because we want you to work like dogs and not pay you for it.
First, we have the best people in this industry and arguably in the entire entertainment industry. Globally, we are now over 5000 strong and we continue to win in the market place. Year after year, our games finish at the top of the charts with the best ratings. We like to compete and we like to win.
Translation: hey wankers, you should be paying us to work here, we’re so damn great. Get with the program!
Great stuff. If the original blog postings made me feel uneasy about EA’s work practises, this email has given me an insight into just how screwed up the company is.