- HIT Ctrl + End to jump to end of post for most recent news
All new updates on this issue are at bottom of post. You can also
follow updates via -Paul)
"EA: The Human Story [Nov. 10th, 200412:01 am]
My significant other works for Electronic Arts, and
I'm what you might call a disgruntled spouse.
EA's bright and shiny new corporate trademark is 'Challenge Everything.'
Where this applies is not exactly clear. Churning out one licensed
football game after another doesn't sound like challenging much of
anything to me; it sounds like a money farm. To any EA executive
that happens to read this, I have a good challenge for you: how
about safe and sane labor practices for the people on whose backs
you walk for your millions? "
(The rest of the commentary of the EA Spouse is linked at bottom of post.)
My thoughts on this? First, read the whole EA Spouse post, and all
of the (at current tally on this Wednesday night) 187 comments to
the anonymous post. It is worth the read.
I think it's sad. I've been in the CG movie/tv industry for a
little over 7 years. All companies have their ups and downs in
projects, and I've had to work crunch times before, especially
early on. A lot of in the industry call it 'paying your dues'
to get good experience on a project that can propel your demo reel
(and your career) to the next level.
Showing appreciation really does go a long way. Keeping morale
up doesn't take a lot of money, and the dividends it pays in the
long run really are worth it. Some companies do this well, some
don't. The same can be said of a lot of industries.
Lots of little perks add up. If you can land at a company or
studio that offers flexibility in work hours, good pay, and round
it off by keeping tabs on employee welfare, then you are doing
better than most. When I hear of stories like the one listed by
the anonymous spouse of the Electronic Arts employee, my heart
goes out to them.
The CG/animation industry artists (games, TV, movies, online)
have to make some hard decisions:
- Take work for a high profile company; great for your demo reel,
but take the risk of getting treated like cattle.
- Continually be the 'traveling gypsy' shuttling between studios,
always a step away from getting laid off.
- Stay longer and longer hours, because you never know when they
are going to outsource the animation or effects work to China,
India or Korea.
It really is a shame, maybe there are some politicians somewhere
that will take notice and take a good hard look at workers rights
in this industry.
Probably not. But one can always hope. Politicians listen to money
and votes. Sounds like a good grass roots issue.
UPDATE: There is a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against EA
(This is a post in the original EA article)
discussions on this issue at:
Slashdot (a ton of comments there)
The original EA Spouse post is up to 665 comments so far, and getting
heated in places. I award a gold star to this post on page 11:
Shove it up your @$$
2004-11-11 22:53 (link)
Boo-hoo indeed. How dare anyone complain about their working conditions!
I mean, someone else is guaranteed to have it worse! Instead, lets all
just keep our mouths shut, and make it even easier for a few people to
become millionaires on the hard work of others.
Give me a f**king break. You people are absolutely ridiculous. I work
in a call center, making crap wages, wishing I could get a job at a game
dev studio. And I still have empathy for these people.
So either give a damn about other people, or take your selfish attitude,
follow the subject, and put in an application for management at EA. I
hear they like to hire assholes.
(Reply to this)
UPDATE: Up to
770 posts on the original 'EA Spouse' post. Here's a sample from page 12:
is rampant in the game development sector, even in small studios.
My husband works for a studio where a guy recently had a heart attack,
and instead of letting the poor man rest, the management kept in touch
with him telling him how behind they were getting, and how it would be
really great if he could come in and work. It was disgusting how they
were trying to guilt him into working hours when he was suppose to be
resting. This is what they do best. They make you feel like you are a
disappointment to your team. That the game won't ship because of you,
and you'll start losing them contracts.
Divorce and families troubles are common, workers have gotten into
car accidents due to falling asleep at the wheel. Workers have had
strokes, ulcers and other stress related conditions. This is a
relatively young work force too. Most of these men are in their
20's and 30's.
Something needs to be done, and I think your approach of public
awareness is brilliant. Thanks for being so brave.
The Letter notifying of the EA lawsuit:
> On July
29, 2004, a class action lawsuit was filed against Electronic Arts Inc.
("EA"). This communication responds to earlier email
communications from EA management regarding the litigation.
The lawsuit alleges that EA improperly classified some of its
employees, including "animators," "modelers," "texture artists,"
"lighters," "background effects artists" and "environmental artists"
as exempt from overtime, and therefore failed to pay those
employees overtime compensation. Plaintiff's action seeks
statutory penalties, damages, restitution, and injunctive relief.
EA denies plaintiff's claim. It
is EA's position that it treats its employees fairly and lawfully, and
that it has properly classified its employees within the meaning of the
law. (rest of the letter here.)
UPDATE: CNET News has just
released an article covering this, some good info here.
UPDATE: The 'EA Spouse' post
has a link that gives a breakdown on California's laws concerning overtime.
(link to post on this subject.)
UPDATE: Story covered at IGDA (Intl' Game Developer's Association)
with links to the following resources:
Joe Straitiff's LiveJournal post
Original article at LiveJournal
Comments to original article at LiveJournal
UPDATE: I just checked some of
the Slashdot coverage of this issue,
I can say a lot of people in our industry will appreciate
the support that is being shown in this post:
First of all these hours are insane, voluntary
or not. This practice ensures the end product is going to be utter
crap, that everyone will leave if they can and that precious experience
will go down the drain, ensuring that future products will be crap too.
Now EA is also getting bad press.
This is terrible management practice.
Second of all I'm a bit sad of the "stop whingeing" reactions and
general lack of empathy in this forum. There are reasons why there
are labor laws and why they should be applied. In this instance EA
is exposing itself to consumer backlash and possible lawsuits,
hardly something smart. This reeks of 19th century mining company
People shouldn't be forced to work long hours for extended periods of
time, period. Some people might choose to do it if they are able and
have the motivation in return for appreciable benefits, but to *force*
people to work in this fashion for nothing invites very real negative
effects such as poor health, divorces, possible violence, accidents
in and out of the office, etc, all of which have costs for the entire
society associated with them.
We know corporations have no morals and don't care about the above.
This is precisely why labor laws exist and must be enforced.
UPDATE: Coverage is reaching overseas:
UPDATE: Healthy discourse helps spread information and ideas.
Discussions continue on CG-Char. (recent from Keith Lango:)
The entertainment business, by its very nature, attracts
the willfully self destructive. Artists constantly struggle with
self worth and affirmation, being wanted and needed. It's what makes
us good at what we do and what makes us easy pickings for
exploitation. It's made me one in the past, I know.
Ed is right- it's business economics 101. Don't get mad at him for
saying the truth plainly. The number of students, hobbyists and
under-employeds on this site and others online prove it to be true.
Cg-Talk has a registered membership of over 40,000 people. That's a
lot of texture junkies, poly pushers, so-so keyframers and GI light
button pushers. The quality of the CG work being done overseas in
developing markets like India is improving at an astonishing pace.
They can throw more bodies at the work for a ton less money. The minute
they figure out how to build a really solid pipeline expect it to get
even crazier. The supply for "production artists" FAR outweighs the
demand. (although the supply for experienced, high end creative
leadership is pretty thin). I don't believe that there are any easy
global solutions to the problem, only personal ones. There is a point
at which each man or woman can make the decision to either continue
to live one way or to change and do something else. There's more than
one place to draw a paycheck in this world. It all depends on what
you value more out of life. If you're good enough to get in at the
top end of this biz (EA being considered highly among the game folks)
then you probably have the chops to test your market.
One consolation- these things have a way of
coming back home to roost after time. No business can improve
efficiency enough and the talent base is not improving fast enough at
the entry levels to survive a 30-50% annual turn over rate for very
long. The churn and burn mentality of some in the business does cost
the studios greatly as they lose qualified, experienced people while at
the same time the expectations for quality keep rising. So there is an
economic stick in this battle, but it's weilded not in a collective
mighty blow so much as a slow bleeding from a thousand small cuts as
each person individually determines that this is not how they want to
live and they up and leave. Eventually that catches up to a business
and it impacts their ability to deliver products that the marketplace
is willing to buy. The business will either adapt or perish. I think
it's worth noting that in the film business the studios that
consistently produce the best work compensate their people for their
time, manage to generally treat their employees as valued assets and
work to retain them for the long haul. As such their products show an
exponential improvement in quality as they retain their brain trust and
experience, building upon yesterday's successes with newer innovations
instead of constantly teaching a new raft of employees the basics of
accomplishing yesterday's successes. So good corporate behavior has
it's rewards. Conversely, shabby corporate behavior has it's
In this day and age of outsourcing, it seems the
pragmatic recourse is an individual one. In relation to those you work
with: be good to everybody, be a team player, be cool, take direction
well, do your best and deal with people with decency. In relation to
your employer: keep it professional, but keep it business. If the
balance gets too far out of whack, feel free to do something about it
without guilt. When the time comes to walk away, just remember it's
nothing personal, its just business.
(More discussions on the 'EA Spouse' situation at CG-Char)
UPDATE: Coverage continues to spread: Post at Boomtown. (via Ferrago)
Another former Maxis/EA employee explains how he was treated by the
company, saying he was forced into working extreme hours and then
pressured into leaving the company.
UPDATE: The discussions continue, another spouse of an EA
employee gives a viewpoint at Darren Barefoot:
UPDATE: The original 'EA Spouse' posting
is up to 1037 comments as of this morning.
Here's a sample from page 15:
I'm a National Guard Reservist newly returned from Iraq (missed
Fallujah by a *that* much)and returning to my job in visual effects
in the film industry. I'm embarassed that some knucklehead has the
balls to say 'blah, blah well at least your spouse isn't on the front
lines in Iraq, etc...' I love video/PC games and they're one of
the best ways that myself and my buddies would unwind from weeks
out in the field rather than the more unhealthy ways that usually
involve alcohol. While the dilemna that ea_spouse finds herself
in is not on the same level as the horrors of combat on the front
lines, it sickens me that EA swindles and plays shell games with
their employees and their families' lives. I quit buying EA's
bloated, overlicensed and overproduced crap years ago. I suggest
other people do the same. If EA wants to pretend that they're in
the same league as Hollywood, they need to take a cue from them
and spend their time in preproduction wisely. This shooting-from-
the-hip mentality that EA developed because crunching is their
cure all is the quickest way to get fleeced and left huddling
in a fetal position in the back alley of Wall Street.
This is America. We can do better than this folks.
(Reply to this) (Thread)
Re: Shameful - (Anonymous), 2004-11-12 11:42:06
Welcome Home! - (Anonymous), 2004-11-12 14:39:50
UPDATE: Coverage spreads, discussed on a forum at Pocket PC Thoughts:
What a depressing story. I've been reading about the closure of
many small development houses over the last year or so with
growing dismay, if only because the trend in games these
days seems to be to milk a title dry with multiple updated
versions or to simply cash in on movie tie-ins. As someone
who grew up in the 1980s, the era of Spectrums and Commodore
64s, I fondly remember stories of bedroom coders and their
innovative games but, as was inevitable I suppose, the games
indutry has grown up and titles such as Halo 2 generate more
revenue on their first day of release than many movies do.
I hope that the family in the main story manage to break away
from EA and if I can offer any hope at all it is that I am a
software developer myself and I am now working for the most
fantastic company whose main goal seems to be to have happy
employees rather than worrying about pushing everyone to
generate the maximum amount of profits. It is only a small
company which may be the reason for the difference but
there are good employers out there and taking the risk to
find one is well worth it in the end.
UPDATE: A blogger who goes by Samus posted her thoughts on this:
UPDATE: The comments on the original 'EA Spouse' post continue,
now up to around 1049 comments as of this update.
Here is a post from page 16:
Yep, EA Orlando (Tiburon) is THAT plus a whole lot more!! :)
I worked there (EA Orlando) for FOUR years. Everything in the
article above is 100% true. I remember when they even frowned
upon hiring people who were married because they wouldn't
have the employees devotion. Unreal.
Here's what they like: Hire a someone right out of college,
ship him in, he has no friends outside of work, he has no
outlet to meet new friends because he's always AT work, so
he makes friends at work, so why go out and meet people to
have fun because everyone he knows is AT work. It TRULY
becomes a sort of brainwashing and you are COMPLETELY
frowned upon if you leave work "on time".
The most ridiculous work environment I've EVER worked in.
Oh yes, and to top it off, there is MIND NUMBING politics,
back stabbing, and brown nosing you gotta deal with too.
I left 5 years ago and NEVER looked back :)
UPDATE: A new post on Slashdot on the EA issue:
As a follow-up to yesterday's story about a frustrated EA
employee's spouse, several readers wrote in to report that
EA is now facing a possible class action lawsuit from
disgruntled employees. Besides the Gamespot coverage,
Kotaku has a discussion of it as well. To add to the
"frustrated EA worker" momentum, a former employee named
Joe Straitiff has posted about his experiences as well.
From his post: "So I'm posting under my real name -- you
have to stand up to this type of thing or it will continue.
And every company will become EA so that can compete...
Remember, you can't spell ExploitAtion without EA."
UPDATE: Gamespot article on
EA class action lawsuit:
A lawyer representing the plaintiffs addresses a proposed
class-action lawsuit seeking unpaid overtime from the world's
biggest third-party publisher.
(full article here)
UPDATE: From Penny Arcade (2nd item):
In other news EA grinds up babies to
make their games. Well maybe they aren’t that bad but they do
totally fuck over their employees. I’ve heard about shit like this
from my friends in the industry for years so it wasn’t a big surprise.
What was surprising is that the employees banded together and
fought back. It will be interesting to see how this turns out
and if it has any effect on the rest of the industry.
UPDATE: Another discussion started at Sherman3D's Industry News Forum.
UPDATE: The original 'EA Spouse' post is up around 1183 comments.
Here is one from page 17:
I used to work for EA, and honestly, this woman's blog does
not even cover all the atrocities we all put up with at EA.
EA is the worst game company to work for in the industry, period.
Is this class action lawsuit retroactive for people who used
to work at EA and endured the 12 hour days 7 days a week torture
and other things? If so, anyone know how I can participate in it?
Our "crunch" lasted MONTHS AND MONTHS. In fact the whole project
was one HUGE crunch, and let me tell you, this is across EA as
I was not even a part of the Sims, but a part of another project.
Oh the stories I could share about EA, this blog is tame in
comparison. But to share them would give them a method of
identifying me, and so, unfortunately, I cannot.
UPDATE: The coverage continues.
It has been picked up at Cinescape's online site: Electronic Arts:
Guilty or Innocent?
UPDATE: Let Congress hear your voice.
Contact info for California
The Honorable Barbara Boxer D - CA
112 Hart Senate Office Building (202) 224-3553
Washington DC 20510 email
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein D - CA
331 Hart Senate Office Building (202) 224-3841
Washington DC 20510 email
UPDATE: More EA backlash coverage
at Guile's World, specifically calling for consumers to stop supporting
EA products. Guile's also notes discussion coverage at Shacknews.
UPDATE: Another post at the Joe Straitiff LJ page,
heated discussions continue, it's the way of the Internet:
ROFL... if you work 12 hours days,
6 days a week without getting paid for more than 40 hours -
you aren't some kind of tech god, you're either a clueless
idiot or happen to have a circumstance which isn't allowing
you to leave.
You sound like the former, honestly... nature of the beast?
Perhaps, but who was it that determined the games industry
must be a beast?
As long as there are 19 yr olds who download a warez copy of
max and walk out of ITT Tech with a "degree", EA will continue
this idiotic cycle. There's just too many students in the world
ready to work for nothing, and green enough to think it's
"the way things are, and therefore the way they should be".
BTW, i've been a digital artist (photoshop, compositing, 3D)
for the past 8 years. 9-6pm. I get paid overtime when it happens.
I'm paid a good salary, AND i have a life.
Guess what - it rocks.
Kudos to the artists here speaking up for themselves.
and this (there is more than one way to protest
bad corporate behavior):
I just dumped my ERTS shares. I've had it for about a year,
so I took a small loss.
I'm a software engineer and a gamer, and I sympathize
with you Joe. The punishment I have for EA is dumping their
stock, and not buying any EA games this Christmas season,
for myself or anyone else.
Working long hours in software engineering is common, and
I often work crunch times without complaining. But, I have
a home connection for work, so I'm only at the office from
9 to 6, and can work from home when crunching is necessary,
so I can still spend time with my family. The company I work
for also understands that crunch time is not all the time.
And you can do a 60 hour week on Monday through Friday.
Don't mess with the weekends.
Good luck to you Joe. And to any company that hires Joe,
I'll buy your company's games just out of principle.
UPDATE: The original 'EA Spouse' post's comments are up around 1233,
with more bad stories being revealed from ex-employees:
My husband and I are both ex-employees of EA.
My husband worked at a small but successful studio which EA
acquired a few years ago. While at the studio he LOVED his
job doing support for the on-line game. He enjoyed himself
so much that he liked staying at work and performing overtime
everyday. I decided this sounded like a great environment
and applied to work there just after EA took over. Before
any of the changes began. Within weeks of my start date the
changes were in full swing. The call queue for support was
significantly altered. No longer was customer service the main
priority but rather clearing out the queue as fast as possible,
taking as many calls as you can in as short of time as possible.
Ten hour shifts were the norm and lunch was not allowed. The
I was diagnosed with a disability that made it so I HAD to eat
five times per day. Instead of relaxing the new "no eating
in the call center" policy, I was told I could take longer
breaks to eat. When I got written up for not having the same
production as other workers I was told I could stay over after
the work shift as long as I needed to make up time for any breaks
taken. So a ten hour no break work shift has suddenly progressed
to close to twelve hours. Since there was muttering whenever the
upper management saw me in the lunch room and the metrics were
more important than the fact that the employees were all exhausted
I gave my 2 week notice. Before my two week notice was up I was
told that they "did not want me to return".
A short while after that it was time to layoff employees due to
more bad decisions made by upper level management. The first
round of layoffs came and went and my husband still had a job.
A little bit later everyone on his shift was individually
written up. The majority of them were written up for
"sexual harassment". I can understand that some work places
have problems like that where everyone is sexually harasing
one employee or one employee feels persecuted, but in this
case the charges were obviously a way to get rid of the
night-shift staff, the ones with whom noone else interacted.
If the second round of layoffs hadn't happened so soon
following the first, I am certain anyone who had been
written up for even the smallest infraction such as being
tardy by five minutes, would have been fired. As it was,
every person on that shift was laid off.
Electronic Arts needs to treat its employees
UPDATE: CNET News posts another new article on continuing
story of overtime lawsuit against EA.
(snippet of story)
Just as a Web log posting this week has triggered a hail of
criticism about harsh work conditions in the game industry,
game-publishing giant Electronic Arts is being sued for
allegedly failing to pay overtime wages.
UPDATE: Further comments posted at Darren Barefoot.
(last post: concerning unionization of game workers
similar to film industry)
UPDATE: New discussion area opening here on this story: od[force].net
UPDATE: Considering the
circumstances and high emotion of today's topic, this is
appropriate levity to pass along, all considering.
I highly encourage disgruntled employees everywhere
to check this out. :)
CREATE UNEASE! GET YOUR ARSE OUT OF THAT CHAIR!
Download the posters below, print them and hang them in your office.
Put them in normal places, where no one will suspect they're fake.
Fellow employees willl be angry and frustrated feeling
the unbearable weight of tiranic management on their backs.
Managers won't dare remove them because there's always the
possibility of it coming from someone higher than them.
It's the ultimate office fun!
So, help the revolution and put your poster up today.
With any luck we'll get enough people angry so something
interesting happens soon enough.
(clipped from del.icio.us)
UPDATE/7:49pm Central: Another recent comment on former EA employee
Joe Straitiff's LiveJournal site:
As a former Maxis employee who went through the EA acquisition,
I am sorry to see that things have not changed there. I left
EA in 1999 when it became obvious that they were hell-bent on
destroying the Maxis culture, and completely uninterested in
being honest or fair to their employees.
For a variety of reasons, I would have to say working for EA
was the worst experience of my career. I have yet to work in
a more backstabbing environment. Friends of mine from Maxis
put on probation (which meant you were going to be fired in
30 days) because their work was "sub-standard", but when they
asked what work of theirs had been "sub-standard", they were
told that it was in the past and they just needed to do better.
How can you improve if you aren't told what you are doing wrong?
I am quite sure there was nothing wrong with the work these
people were doing, and that the firings were politically motivated.
During my last year at EA, I saw the producers hire people,
blame projects slipping a ship date on the new person, and
fire them. The other tactic was to blame all the problems on
someone who had left the company during the project. I saw
them fire numerous people the day after they left for vacation,
only to inform them that they'd been fired two weeks before
when they returned from their vacation. People became afraid
to go on vacation.
I personally left the company when I was told that my Maxis
yearly review (and raise) were being put into the EA review
cycle, and I would not receive a review (or a raise) for 1.5
more years. The straw that broke the camel's back: they
decided to hire a junior person who I would be responsible
for training, and the junior person was going to be paid
more than I was. I applied elsewhere, was immediately
offered a 100% increase in pay, and happily turned down
EA's counteroffer. They were forced to bring in a
consultant to replace me, and it cost them far more
than paying me a fair salary would have.
I have never seen a company treat their employees in
such a rotten fashion.
It was the all the more heart-breaking because before the
EA acquisition, the Maxis office was the most enjoyable
place I have ever worked. I worked many 60, 80, and even
100 hour weeks on various projects and had fun in the process.
I still remain friends with a lot of people I worked
with during this time, and remember some amazing ski &
rafting trips, nights at WPLJ's, and other good times.
Former QA tester and eventually IT Network Manager at
the Walnut Creek office.
(Reply to this)
UPDATE/8:05 PM Central: You can also
follow updates via
UPDATE 8:12PM Central: The original 'EA Spouse' site now
has 1336 comments posted. Here is one from page 19.
... Wow. So much noise.
I was there. An engineer. 4, almost 5 years ago.
6 months of crunch. The entire project was crunch,
new platform on an abbreviated release schedule.
16-37 hour days. Many, many days were a quick nap
in the chair was more worthwhile than going home.
One man's wife had a cot that she left in his cubicle,
so that she could see him sometimes,
and even... sleep near him.
I remember having an argument over whether it was better
to sleep in the chair, or under the desk.
Sam's club cereal and milk always in the kitchen.
Any beverage you could want. Dinners were always ordered in.
The food was free. So that you didn't have to leave.
The cleaning crews would come in at 3 AM sometimes.
They'd turn on the lights. You could hear screams and
moaning from the engineers who were accustomed to the
soft lighting the rest of the day, and just the glow of
their monitors on top of that.
I thought it was a joke in the beginning.
I got reamed once for sleeping on a wednesday. All wednesday.
I don't even remember how long it had been since I'd actually
been home for more than 2 hours straight. I had wanted to
take a nap in my bed. My (now ex)-wife had gotten up for
work, left and apparently had a conversation with me before
leaving. That part of the morning is forever gone to me,
I can only take her word for it. I slept through constant
phone calls. I slept through her trying to wake me up for
hours after she got home from work, and got all the nasty
messages on the answering machine. They didn't care that
I was sick, so exhausted that I simply could not attain
consciousness, despite someone's continual efforts to get
me up. I never heard those messages. I went straight to work
once she managed to get me up.
By the end of the six months, I knew that the screams and
moans were no joke. The light hurt. The light blinded. All
you could see was a white fog, where before, there were
colors on the monitors, and in the darkness of the cubicle farm.
I stopped caring. I stopped being able to think, to reason,
to put the processes together to be able to program. I
became a whiz with the wheel mouse when I could no longer
code. I could pack thousands of textures and models into
the appropriate places within the appropriate tools in no
time flat. Even though those tools were nightmareish
(5 nested scroll bars was not an uncommon sight).
The next job I worked when I woke up from the zombification,
was at a diagnostic imaging company. The vice president
asked me what the hell I was still doing there after 8
hours on my first day. I've been here for close to 5 years now.
UPDATE 8:36pm Central:
News continues to spread. Tons of links related to the 'EA Spouse' issue:
Lawyers join ea_spouse 1 hour 27 minutes ago
EA Spouse Story 1 hour 38 minutes ago
no status quo linkCore Dump, Nov 12. 3 hours 42 minutes ago
Core Dump 2 sources links from
links for 2004-11-12 3 hours 55 minutes ago
A Whole Lotta Nothing 849 sources links from
Don't Work For EA 4 hours 41 minutes ago
This Just Sucks.... 4 hours 59 minutes ago
Ramblings from My Mind links
Boycott EA Games 5 hours 39 minutes ago
Skor Grimm link
Fear and loathing at Electronic Arts 6 hours 7 minutes ago
Former EA employee speaks out under real name 6 hours 7 minutes ago
p i n g z . c o m, Nov 12. 6 hours 15 minutes ago
p i n g z . c o m
EA Employees Unhappy, Attempt Class Action... 7 hours 15 minutes ago
Forever Geek Nerds Are For Dorks 104 sources links from
Darren Barefoot - Technical Writer, Playwright,... 152 sources links from
Last on the wagon, Nov 12. 7 hours 32 minutes ago
Last on the wagon links
Lunabean.com - Your Video Gaming Community, Nov 12. 7 hours 36 minutes ago
Lunabean.com - Your Video Gaming Community 15 sources links from
EA is a programming sweatshop 7 hours 44 minutes ago
interesting drug 5 sources links from
Another company that needs a good... 7 hours 52 minutes ago
Thinking Out Loud links
EA Spouse: The Human Story 8 hours 9 minutes ago
When it rains, it pours... 8 hours 25 minutes ago
Harold's Venting page
The power of Blogs 8 hours 33 minutes ago
Challenge Everything 8 hours 43 minutes ago
(info via Technorati)
UPDATE 8:56pm Central: CNET News Discussion - Developer from the UK
UPDATE 10:25pm Central:
Quality of Life in the Game Industry: Challenges and Best Practices
About the IDGA White Paper:
The 90-page "Quality of Life in the Game Industry: Challenges and Best Practices" white paper was prepared by the IGDA's Quality of Life Committee, representing a wide range of game development professions and companies.
(full post here.)
UPDATE 10:42pm Central: In this post's comments section, someone passed along a link to Mischievous Ramblings:
It’s Not Just Abusive. It’s Stupid.
By now, we’ve all read that cathartic LiveJournal entry by an angry EA widow who has had her husband, her family life, and her own career co-opted by the hellish product development environment that has become the norm at Electronic Arts. (If you haven’t read it, follow that link above, read it, and come on back.) Most of us in the business know, right down deep in our ulcers and migraines, exactly what she’s talking about. Too many of us have been caught in “normal” development cycles that require overtime as a matter of course; and have been at the mercy of abusive managers who ratcheted us up to several months of 13-hour-a-day/7-day work weeks. Perversely, these managers always claim that this is what’s required to make the schedule – and (the mendacity of this part is always breathtaking) to prevent our work hours from expanding even more in the future.another wife...
(link) For 12 months, I held on to e-mails to Fortune Magazine
(responding to their 2003 article) when I shared my
stories of being a wife of an EA employee with them,
and I can't tell you how grateful I am that your
voice is being heard. I describe it to my friends as
"the time during which EA ruined our marriage." When
I first starting reading these comments, I felt all
the anger and bitterness, frustration and hatred
that I felt while I was waiting for my husband to
come home (or driving to the office at 2AM so I could
spend time with him.) Now, I just feel sad that so many
other people's lives have been ruined - ok, there's
still some anger there too. Some of the most vivid
memories I had were:
-hearing that "some countries celebrate Christmas in
February" with regard to a winter holiday being
told that some family events such as weddings and
funerals fell on "inconvenient days" and that they
should still come in to work
-being bought off with flowers, promises of bonuses,
and other electronic gadgets
-welcoming my husband home at 5 AM as I was getting
up to go to work
-throwing "congratulations" parties to co-workers
who left the company (too bad my husband couldn't
make those parties)
-eating dinner at the company...after all, why should
I cook when it's just me at home?
I hear anyone considering working there, I tell
them to run away whilethey still can. It was so
sad to see such a hard-working group of
people I respected and admired treated so poorly.
As I read the other postings, I wish they were
exaggerated, but know from experience that
they are true.
UPDATE 12:00am Central:
RSS feed for comments at Mischievous Ramblings on:
'It's Not Just Abusive. It's Stupid.'
UPDATE 10:18am Central:
Posts get a little heated on page 4 of the comments on Joe Straitiff's LJ page:
Re: Have you tried contacting the media?
2004-11-13 03:24 (link)
EA employee here....heads up to everyone who gets all gung-ho and ready to take sides...not all EA employees are having difficulties as this ex-EAer had. In fact, odd how only ONE had problems.
My EA experience has been great so far (been here 8 years) and still keeps getting better.
And to be honest, after reading the letter a few times, you had more excuses (someone lied, someone misinformed, proper manager wasn't in) to cover your ass.
The only reason I can see you staying until 4am is if you were screwing around on your own time.
But hey, just my opinion.
Re: Have you tried contacting the media?
2004-11-13 03:41 (link)
You're obviously not in testing.
You sound like a producer worried about nothing but your next milestone bonus.
Re: Have you tried contacting the media?
2004-11-13 03:46 (link)
Only one person at EA had problems?
You wouldn't happen to be an EA project manager?
Re: Have you tried contacting the media?
2004-11-13 04:23 (link)
uhoh...someone disagrees with you? better label him "the MAN".
No I'm sorry to say I'm still in the trenches...live by the code die by the code as I've heard.
I'm not a manager and never been asked to be one or been interested in one.
But you really should look over your links. I made a mistake, it's ONE person and ONE person's spouse BUT all 4 links point to the same TWO people. Four links doesn't mean four people...besides of which even if you posts counted for a person it would have only been 4 people :)
Either way, I'm saying don't jump on the band wagon because one or two people start waving the torches.
IT is not a 9-5 job nor is it easy, but it has it's rewards in many different ways. The gaming industry is no walk in the park.
He signed a contract and agreed to whatever his contract was...time to put up. I've been a coder for 8 years and I have yet to see staying til 4am every night during "crunch" time.
Plus any of the 'testing' jobs clearly state no benefits and a wage of 11/12 and hour (more or less depending on location,etc). Testing is basically being able to play games for a temporary job and test it out.
But whatever, can't get through to some people who just want to wave flags and complain (especially if you disagree with them) so believe what you will!
Re: Have you tried contacting the media?
2004-11-13 06:53 (link)
So what's your name? What studio are you working at? What games have you worked on/are working on?
What I've seen in the comments here and for ea_spouse are TONS of EA people confirming our stories -- to me you seem to be the one dissenting opinion.
For the record, I know many people who love their jobs at EA and some avoid the crunches by not being on a game team. It's possible to jump from prototype to prototype and never be put through the hell.
However, if you had been at Maxis and been on Sims 2 or on The Urbz you would be singing my tune. I know a couple hundred people who can confirm my story -- they're just too scared to do so because the policy of fear EA creates.
I hope you continue to have luck at EA, more power to you and I wouldn't wish what happened to me on anyone. What I wrote was a raw dumping in the order I experienced it, with my thoughts trying to understand what was happening at the time without getting all emotional and attempting to be objective. There were no excuses -- my work stands for itself and if we'd ever worked together you'd know that.
I'm sure that you know at least one person who knows me -- ask them. Or at least a friend of a friend knows me, the industry is too small.
So believe it or not. Be skeptical, I would. But do some research and pay attention to the teams around you before calling me a whiner. I'm mearly relaying my personal story to help lend credance to ea_spouse's and I added my name behind it for people to verify.
UPDATE 10:31am Central:
Lockergnome coverage - EA: The Human Story - EA Spouse Reveals Chilling Info
The F Stop Blues - Slave Labor for Video Games?
UPDATE: 11/13/04 1:20 pm CST: EA Management Motivational Posters
UPDATE 11/13/04 1:42 pm CST:
"EA Spouse' LJ post up to 1536 comment, here is one from
Jamie Kirschenbaum vs. Electronic Arts, Inc.
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 3:00 pm CST:
More sites covering:
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 3:34 pm CST:
2 New 'Motivatonal Posters'
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 3:54 pm CST:
More foreign coverage of the 'EA Spouse' story
I have no idea what they are saying, but I saw a
'smiley' at the end of the post.
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 3:56 pm CST:
The original 'EA Spouse' post has 1652 comments, here's
one from page 23:
It's sick and wrong when employees feel that they have to take mood enhancers/anti-depressants just to make it through. I think it'd be interesting to see what EA employees have in their medicine cabinets--and what any therapy bills are (if they've got time to see a therapist). I'm imagining a lot of Prozac, Wellbutrin, and other, similar, prescriptions.
The man that I love has been working in games for years--and has consistently gotten screwed out of time, money, and any semblance of a life outside of work. His health has suffered (pre-diabetes, weight gain, depression, stress, emotional instability). He's moved across country and across continents, sacrificed time with his beloved grandfather, his family, his friends, and me. He's gone from being a caring, generous, giving man to one who believes that there's no one more important than himself. That sense of alienation and isolation isn't healthy. It isn't right. I see his humanity being stripped away by an industry more attuned to raising a buck than remembering that, in the end, it's people who really matter. It makes me cry--because I know what he can be.
Perhaps we could remind the stockholders/poobahs that it doesn't matter how many little, green pieces of paper that they amass--they're still going to die. Ain't no one, no how, on their deathbeds, ever wished they spent more time at the office.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to changing the situation is the collusion of the employees into the culture of machismo. It's like the attitude of young residents in hospital. It's all one-upmanship. So, they say, you worked 72 hours straight? Pussy. I worked 117, with a hernia and an exploding spleen. I've heard conversations like these among games people--from all facets of the production process. This isn't limited to programmers, or artists, or QA, or anyone in the business.
If only we could remind people that there are more of them than there are of the poobahs that sap their lives. If only we could remind people that a collective voice rings more loud and more true than lone voices in the wilderness.
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 4:06 pm CST:
'EA Spouse' continues to make an impact in the blogosphere
with EA consumers: (from blog.dreampro)
EA: White Collar Slavery
I always wanted to be involved in making games, unfortunately I never had the time to commit and learn some actual skill. Anyways, a spouse of someone who works at Electronic Arts in LA wrote quite an amazing article on what is actually going on there on a regular basis. I always take single posts like that with a grain of salt, but the comments that follow the article seem to confirm it. I myself have a few EA games for the Xbox but I have to say that next time I might think twice before buying one.
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 4:34 pm CST:
2 new 'Motivational Posters'
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 10:00 pm CST:
post from CG-CHAR discussion:
A professor at Carnegie Mellon University has written a white paper on EA.
And the discussion at Slashdot.
It should be noted that this paper was approved by EA.
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 10:28 pm CST:
2 new 'EA Management Motivational Posters'
UPDATE Sat 11/13/04 10:54 pm CST:
'EA Spouse' story comments on Fark
2004-11-13 11:14:47 PM Figaro