1 January 2012


  • Random

“Dear Members and friends, I keep a little sign in my office that says “MAKING GAMES IS FUN”. I use it as
 an emotional barometer. If the sign ever seems ironic or sarcastic, I know that 
something is wrong with the way I am making games, and I try to fix it immediately. 
Unfortunately, recent events (lawsuits, the spouse letter, etc) make clear that 
there are far too many people making games in an atmosphere that is anything
but fun.

 Crunch time is a fact of life for game developers. Of course we are going to
work late sometimes; we love what we do. Our work is challenging, rewarding, 
and just plain fun.

That said, it is one thing to work extra hours on a project
 for the sheer joy of it, or to beat an occasional deadline, and quite another
 to have them mandated on an ongoing basis. Exploitative mandates take unfair
advantage of our passion to do great work, and slowly choke that passion to death, 
leaving behind a burnt-out husk of disgust and regret.

 The game industry now has such a reputation for abusing its workers that as an
educator, I frequently speak with talented students who have changed their career
 plans away from the game industry, because the idea of mandatory 60-80+ hour
 work weeks is repugnant to them. And of course, these are generally the wisest,
 most insightful students the ones that this industry really needs.

 We must find a way to reverse this self-destructive trend. As a start, I urge
 you all to read the IGDA Quality of Life Whitepaper, 
and to share your thoughts about how we can work together to stop this plague
 of joyless overwork. You might start by hanging up a little sign.”

  • Jesse Schell Chairperson, IGDA 
Professor of Entertainment Technology, Carnegie Mellon University CEO, Schell Games