On a Former Taskmaster

There’s been some interesting press on my Electronic Arts, my former employer, lately. A New York Times article summarizes things nicely. More interesting reading includes EA Spouse, Joe Straitiff’s Journal, and an open letter from the International Game Developers Association.

My time at EA was remarkably free of the sorts of excessive demands documented here until the end of my tenure, when I got transferred onto a team that was actually making games rather than just supporting them. I count myself blessed that I had the option to leave as that vortex was starting to show the first signs of sucking me in. Several of my friends stayed with the company, and have been feeling pretty ground down with little hope for respite, as their current projects are on an overly aggressive schedule.

I would guess that the companies’ labor practices are unlikely to change significantly until their hands are forced. There are always fresh-faced college graduates who are willing to sacrifice their personal lives for the glamor of the industry. And unfortunately, the game industry is showing no sign of anything that will shake up the distribution model in the same way that iTunes and its brethren are starting to do for the music industry. It should be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few years. For the sake of my friends, I hope we see a happy ending.