Kotaku posted an article yesterday that got me thinking about my younger dreams (and current wishes) of working in the gaming industry.
It also makes me glad I never made it. You can read the original post Kotaku is responding to here.
Yes, games are an art. But they aren’t the same as a single artist making a living relying on their art. These are companies, with groups of people working long hours to create games for people to enjoy.
The concept of “you are lucky to be here” should not be part of the job. Yes many feel lucky, hell I would too if I worked at any number of development companies, but does that excuse excessive hours and minimum pay? No it does not.
Certainly this can be a consequence of poor time management, where a freelance artist would have only so much time to send in work, and if you don’t get it done in time you should be prepared for a few all-nighters. A few. The industry has been built on the impression of always working long hours during the production of a game regardless of your outside work life. Heaven forbid you have a family.
We can certainly thank those working on Iron Bull in Dragon Age Inquisition going the extra mile and programing him the ability to have a relationship with everyone, because originally he was going to be race specific. It makes me wonder if the time and effort was compensated? I have high praise for Bioware being a progressive company, and I would be disappointed if their workers were not adequately compensated.
At what point are workers not entitled to a fair wage? These are employees of a company, not single owners or artists creating something. Does this mean all the workers share in the rewards of the company, and also in the risks if a game fails? These aren’t entrepreneurs. These workers share only in the pride of creation, they don’t reap the rewards of profits.
There is so much work and effort put into the creation of a game that is beyond “pointing and clicking a mouse.” Game development is research, artwork, programing, sweat and tears. Why is it standard that this isn’t compensated? When has it become the standard?
I want to see high quality games continued to be made. If there is no work-life balance, all of these artists burn out. If there is no livable wage all of these artists will go elsewhere.
This shouldn’t be something that people expect to face when working on a game for a company. It is 2016, and why is wage gaps still a problem? Are these companies trying to push the notion that by paying their workers more, games will cost more? I sure as hell hope not.
Workers in the industry should feel valued and appreciated, not someone who is either easily replaceable or is “lucky to be here in the first place.” These people are artists, and they should be valued as such.