Workers Are Still Treated Like Indentured Servants
Gaming has long been infamous for the crunch, when work weeks ramp up to over 80 hours in a madcap rush to get games finished (or at least shippable) by their release dates. But after years of bad press and increasing union action, crunch is now ... still a huge thing. Fortnite, Mortal Kombat 11, Black Ops 4, and Anthem are just some of the latest titles made in upscale Dickensian sweatshops.
Black Ops 4 QA testers worked 12-hour shifts, received no benefits or paid time off, had to use a separate, more isolated parking lot, and were warned against talking to other employees. They must have been thrilled when Activision's new CFO received $15 million in signing bonuses.
MK11 developers spoke about being threatened with replacement if they didn't turn in 60- or 70-hour weeks in a "loud, obnoxious, super toxic" environment rife with contractor exploitation and gender discrimination. One woman learned that some male colleagues were giving all the women in the office crude nicknames, and hers was "Dyke Bitch." Who the hell ran their HR, Mel Gibson?
Over at Fortnite, a constant need for new updates led to interminable 70-100-hour weeks that caused health issues. During the development of Anthem, dozens of veteran BioWare employees quit, others took doctor-mandated stress leaves, and according to a Kotaku expose, one routinely needed to find a private room to cry in. "Depression and anxiety are an epidemic within BioWare" was not the quote they went with for the front of the box.
EAAll for a game that Metacritic'd in the 50s -- a number that in no way could've been improved by well-rested workers.