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Games so good it costs human misery to make them.

cd projekt red video game industry working conditions discussion crunch

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#21
Sharp_one

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I don't know much about Poland


And that's why all you wrote can be thrown out.
As I said there is no "lawsuits waiting to happen" or "employees to scared". The story broke to the press and the authorities goes into action, they don't have to wait for anyone else to "come forward". They already checked the company.

I'm not saying that there are no companies that abuse or brake labor laws, of course there are some. But in this particular story it's not the case.

#22
Malcador

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CD Projekt are crooks.


Didn't they start out hocking warez. Wait, no, just Iwinski

Edited by Malcador, 19 October 2017 - 10:09 AM.


#23
Sharp_one

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CD Projekt are crooks.

Didn't they start out hocking warez

Ha. Warez. No, you had to physically sold diskettes and later cd's on the markets back then. And yes they did.

#24
Hurlshot

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I don't know much about Poland


And that's why all you wrote can be thrown out.

 

 

Funny coming from a guy that spends way too much time commenting on the US. :p


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#25
Fenixp

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And that's why all you wrote can be thrown out.
As I said there is no "lawsuits waiting to happen" or "employees to scared". The story broke to the press and the authorities goes into action, they don't have to wait for anyone else to "come forward". They already checked the company.

And you may have noticed that this entire topic talks about more than just CDP: Red. Anyway, large companies are quite careful to have paperwork in check when they break law, or make sure to do so in such a way that legal system can't get to it. Loopholes exist and are routinely abused. "They checked the company" means very little when speaking up is just not worth it to the employees.
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#26
Malcador

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CD Projekt are crooks.

Didn't they start out hocking warez
Ha. Warez. No, you had to physically sold diskettes and later cd's on the markets back then. And yes they did.

Well sure sounds like hocking warez, then. Ah the old copy protection was great in some ways.

#27
Hurlshot

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One positive aspect of the terrible grind that many AAA developers seem to employ is that in a lot of ways it is responsible for the indie gaming renaissance we are currently in. People don't mind hard work. Far from it. But if you are going to sacrifice your health and sanity, it is much more rewarding to do so for something you own than a corporate behemoth. Unfortunately the risks are much greater in that regard, but so are the rewards.


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#28
Zoraptor

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We get these periodic overwork scandals and nothing changes- EASpouse, anyone? About as much practical effect as #StopKony2012.

 

As others have said, game development is a vocational job, there are always other people willing to come in at the bottom of the pile because they theoretically love games development to replace those burning out from the practicalities. It's a similar situation with other vocational jobs like teaching, nursing or (low level) doctoring- because people want to do the jobs they get under valued and over exploited until their goodwill runs out and they realise anything else is better, then in comes the next bright eyed bushy tailed innocent willing to work 100 hour weeks semi permanently.

 

This is also a world where games companies get subsidies for working in cities or countries and are seen as being great value added to be competed for with inducements; in those circumstances one may find a 'coincidental' lack of labour rules enforcements lest all the 'bureaucratic red tape' drives them off to some other city or country.


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#29
Hurlshot

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If I remember correctly, quite a bit changed at EA as a result of those reports. It is in their best interest to attract talent, and that sort of reputation makes it difficult to do so. 



#30
IndiraLightfoot

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I've been working in the TV industry for a long time, and what I soon learned was that I wasn't really cut out for long-lasting projects, of which the majority was sliced, diced and decimated along the way. It was disheartening and very exhausting, especially so when I became a parent and had much more responsibilities in life. My solution?

The brave step of becoming a freelancer. Slowly, but surely (it took years), I made myself attractive enough in certain scientific broadcast niches (remember, though, nobody's indispensable) for companies to come to me, companies that I admire and like to work with. Best thing? Except for deadlines, I can plan my work exactly how I want, and I've done away with almost all commuting.

And I can adjust my workload in accordance with the ups and downs of my life (to a reasonable extent, of course). It's a very rewarding feeling to be your own, but obviously less social.

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention how much healthier my noodles became when I didn't have to attend oodles of meaningless meetings.


Edited by IndiraLightfoot, 19 October 2017 - 03:04 PM.

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#31
Zoraptor

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If I remember correctly, quite a bit changed at EA as a result of those reports. It is in their best interest to attract talent, and that sort of reputation makes it difficult to do so. 

 

I don't think much at all changed at EA- the situation was not actually as bad as was made out by EASpouse which is somewhat different. Plus they now have a bunch of outsourcing studios in places like China where the situation is undoubtably worse.

 

It does seem to be cyclical though, companies work out that there are diminishing returns from overworking people as quality declines and productivity gains reduce; then they forget that after a few years when the competent managers and producers have moved on or there is new top level management looking to make things 'cost effective'. The decline in quality in particular can be very important as bugs may be very hard to track down so it's better to have as few as possible from the start. That's why most of the outsourced studios are for things like textures and models though, easy to overwork since it doesn't matter so much if they make mistakes or die at their desks in their 20s.



#32
injurai

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Rockstar the thread. What's interesting is CDPR is deliberately basing their company structure around Rockstar's model.

 

In generally I consider any luxury based industry to be rather volatile, especially if it's bubble has burst and it's found it's true market cap.

 

If rumors be true, you'd think CDPR taking money from the Polish government would hold them to a higher standard. It's not like they are a a Sp z o.o. anymore, so they're past limited liability.



#33
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One of the odd and counter intuitive things about the neoliberal economic model is that governments giving money to businesses seems to increase the government's responsibility to those businesses rather than the reverse. Best example is agricultural subsidies, but it's common in many sectors. It's doubly ironic because in theory neoliberals don't believe in subsidies, except when they do as the result of lobbying or threats for pet sectors.



#34
injurai

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One of the odd and counter intuitive things about the neoliberal economic model is that governments giving money to businesses seems to increase the government's responsibility to those businesses rather than the reverse. Best example is agricultural subsidies, but it's common in many sectors. It's doubly ironic because in theory neoliberals don't believe in subsidies, except when they do as the result of lobbying or threats for pet sectors.

 

Neoliberal economics is largely based on expedience. The idea is that the market will respond faster than the government, but one has to raise capital external from the market in order to shift spending in a market. This is because at market cap all markets become protectionist, because to grow there the companies had to be fully self-invested. Too much liquid capital and your beat to market cap. The market doesn't like large amounts of liquid capital so they rely on tax dollars or inflation. There is pragmatism in it all, but only because it's expedient. The results somehow prove a virtue which is not necessarily there. It's a highly utilitarian way to run things, thus it's a system of favor rather than merit. But because the market winner take all structure of the market on the premise of merit, the favored take all.



#35
Mamoulian War

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Funny thing is, that they rely on tax dollars, and still avoid paying taxes as if it was plague...

#36
TrueNeutral

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Hey Sharp_One, you say CD Projekt was checked. Do you know what such a check entails in Poland? Genuinely curious.

 

I ask this because when I worked in Game Dev, unpaid overtime was the norm but generally denied by the workers since that unpaid overtime meant the projects got finished, the contracts got fullfilled, the people got paid and kept their jobs in a highly competitive field whereas admitting to unpaid overtime was a good way to get your company to go out of business and have everyone lose their jobs. Workers and management denying it was pretty much mandatory to survive, and with server technology a lot of that crunch was done by taking your files home and committing them to the servers. Especially in places that have maybe one or two big companies and the rest struggling to survive, and I believe Poland's industry is similar. Like the Netherlands has Guerilla, some mid levels and then tiny companies popping up and going bankrupt at enormous rates. Poland's got CD and then about the same, I believe?

 

Anyway, I'm not sure if the number's still the same but the average time spent in the game industry was 4 years. Including life-long game designers, this means a lot of people get burnt out on it within the first few years. It's a concern, and it's hard to fix because as stated it attracts "dreamers" who are just happy to be there. They won't fight for unions, they're already amazed they're even getting to do it. I was one of them. And there's companies that exploit this, with EA (check EA spouse) and that company who made LA Noire being the most publicized.

 

(Also, the complaints about a lot of the western game industry being -- generally unintentionally -- insensitive to minorities to a certain degree are true in my experience, but my experience is limited and I got burnt out as a cis white male just as soon as anyone else.)


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#37
Sharp_one

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Hey Sharp_One, you say CD Projekt was checked. Do you know what such a check entails in Poland? Genuinely curious.

 

I wrote twice in response to fenixp an example how the labor inspection works, it wasn't approved by moderators.

For example one company that I know of was fined and forced to pay overtime for up to 5 years back without a single employee going on record.
They asked all the employees and no one admit to them on record any overtime. So they asked for their phone numbers in case they wanted to ask further questions. 

Then they obtain a court order for checking the logs of phones (which phone tower was nearest) and it showed that most of the employees phones were logged to the tower nearest the company in times that wasn't corresponding to work hours. They made administrative decision to fine the company based on that. 
Sometimes they place a person in civil car outside the company who sits for few days and log what car goes in and out and at what hours. 
They can ask the neighbors about the working hours of the company they check or check cameras in nearby petrol stations to note the actual work hours based on that. 
So they go way over "checking the paperwork".
The company can appeal to court but it would be hard to disprove well documented findings.


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#38
TrueNeutral

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That's quite extensive. Thanks for your response.



#39
Messier-31

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Hey Sharp_One, you say CD Projekt was checked. Do you know what such a check entails in Poland? Genuinely curious.

 

Am not an expert in this, buuuuuuuuut:

  • PIP (which stands for Państwowa Inspekcja Pracy, roughly translated as National Labour Inspectorate) is the Polish supervisory authority and control over compliance with labor law (oh, look, they even got an English version of their website)
  • Inspectors have right to check a company without any notice. They may be doing a scheduled routine control, they may visit a company due to some reports/complaints.
  • Interests: general labor law, safety, legality of employment, verification of wages (wages punctuality, is it above minimum wage defined by law)
  • The company is obliged to provide the PIP inspector with the conditions and means necessary for the smooth conduct of the inspection, and in particular to promptly present the requested documents and materials, provide timely information, a separate room with appropriate equipment (if possible). Failure to consent to the inspection or non-availability of documents may be grounds for the prosecutor's office of a criminal offense (thwarting or obstructing the performance of official duties). This imposes a penalty of imprisonment for up to 3 years.
  • The labor inspector has the right to free access to the premises of the establishment and to all its premises, machinery and equipment, requests for written and verbal information on the matters subject to inspection.
  • All employees are also obliged to comply. The inspector may call and interview the staff.
  • The PIP employee also has the right to inspect personal files and any documents related to the performance of work by employees.
  • Inspector has access to the documentation of the workplace, including those related to the construction, reconstruction or modernization of the company, the plans and technical drawings, the technical and technological documentation, the results of the expertise, the surveys and measurements related to the production or other activities.
  • At the end of the inspection, the inspector shall draw up a control report and submit it to the employer for signature. Before signing the document, the employer can raise objections. They should be submitted in writing within 7 days of the date of submission of the document.
  • PIP may punish a person for committing an offense against the rights of a worker by a mandate of 1,000 up to 2,000 . If the offense is committed at least twice within two years of the last penalty, he or she can receive a fine of up to 5,000 . In case of refusal to accept a penalty, the inspector shall apply to the court for punishment. The court may impose a fine up to 30,000 .

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#40
algroth

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Alright, so, I haven't gone through the whole thread (not that long, I know), nor have I read the Glassdoor reviews, but on the topic at hand, as someone who's worked in the audiovisual medium for a few years now, ranging from webseries and YouTube miscellanea all the way to Oscar-winning features (well... one), I've been through a number of productions that were essentially turned into a nightmare because the directors bought into the myth that art is better the harder the way is to getting there, and so they tried to make everyone's life an absolute hell for no reason other than trying to replicate these same myths. By these I mean, for example, the stories about Stanley Kubrick requiring 75 takes of their actors in The Shining, or Tarkovsky burning the original masters of Stalker so as to re-do it by venturing into a highly radioactive location and shooting there, or Herzog's and Coppola's many stories through the filming of Fitzcarraldo and Apocalypse Now respectively. This is bull****. These films were great not because the directors behaved like **** or put themselves and their crew in danger, and yet I see nowadays a lot of young filmmakers (mostly young anyhow) who feel they have to deliberately create an awful environment for their work to reach greatness. To make a great film, ambition is necessary, effort is necessary, pressure is necessary... These are all good things, but none of these require the work environment to be absolutely toxic or for the director to behave like absolute scum. Under high-pressure situations there will always be moments where you'll clash with one another but by and large one should attempt to diminish and resolve conflict, not to outright create it. In short, ambition may require you to be an **** sometimes, but don't be an **** for the sake of being one.

 

Sorry, just a little rant on the matter.


Edited by algroth, 21 October 2017 - 12:12 PM.

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