Game Developers Facing Unpaid Crunch Time

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The International Game Developers Association (IGDA), which hosts industry conferences for game-builders, plans on monitoring game companies’ use of “crunch time” to complete projects.

An official report, scheduled for later this year, will reveal which gaming firms are doing the best at keeping crunch time in check.

IGDA executive director Kate Edwards told gaming site Gamasutra that 17 percent of game developers work more than 70 hours per week during crunch periods, and nearly half go over 60 hours.

According to the IGDA, more than a third of surveyed game developers said their firms neglected to pay them overtime or other compensation for the extra hours worked during these periods.

Last year, the IGDA’s Developer Satisfaction Survey (PDF) found that many developers aren’t enduring rough work conditions for the lucrative payday, with nearly half reporting salaries of less than $50,000 per year. The average career in game development lasts nine years. At the time, Enlightened Games founder Eric Blomquist told Dice that the work-life balance for developers is often problematic.

“To be clear: although there is a downward trend in the number of hours worked per week in crunch, the weeks of crunch in a row, and the number of weeks per year in crunch,” Kate Edwards said in 2015, “developers still feel that they are unfairly expected to work in crunch mode as a normal part of their job and this is something that needs to change.”

Layoffs and company shutdowns, stressful working conditions and crunch time can all add up, driving developers out of the gaming industry in pursuit of jobs that utilize many of the same programming skills. If more firms begin paying out for extra hours, will more developers stay in the industry longer?

Image Credit: 343 Studios

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