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(Some Guy)   EA Games has it's employes work 85-hour work weeks, with no overtime pay or comp time. Here comes the lawsuit   ( divider line
    More: Asinine  
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24840 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Nov 2004 at 7:09 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2004-11-13 10:33:11 PM  
To those actually working in IT, could you recommend some areas that would benefit me the most, and present me with a decent situation when i graduate? I would appreciate any thoughts you guys might have.

Business school. Or you could become a male prostitute and retain some sense of self-worth.
2004-11-13 10:35:07 PM  
Bush made it clear that he wants to eliminate overtime and make shiat like this happen.

51% of the morons in this country told him it was ok by them.
2004-11-13 10:38:01 PM  

Mooglyguy, try reading the ea_spouse blog entry, before spouting off with incorrect information.

Funny you should mention that, it was actually the first time I'd heard of this whole situation when three days ago a friend of mine posted a link to it in a (failed) attempt to dissuade me from my talks with EA Tiburon about getting hired once I graduate after the Spring '05 semester. Then again, what a lot of people are missing here is that you can't refer to EA as one huge monolithic company when referring to employment practices, as - at least according to my programmer buddy at Tiburon - certain divisions are more reasonable about things, like - wait for it - EA Tiburon. However, perhaps this is just a huge misunderstanding, and EA's programmers are treated like gold and the artists (which are at the core of this class-action lawsuit) are the ones treated like shiat. Either way, it's no skin off of my nose. I'd work those hours for free if it meant my work would be played by millions of people a year.
2004-11-13 10:42:52 PM  
2004-11-13 10:44:16 PM  
I work for EA Tiburon, I've only been there since june though
So far it's been really fun, I'm working on next gen and i bet we'll be getting a lot of overtime come next year. There are times when i dont even want to leave work. i'd probly stay all night if it wasnt for my girlfriend being at home. I actually just left work a little while ago of course of was just using the test kit ps2 to play some import games heh
2004-11-13 10:48:38 PM  
Mooglyguy said:

I'd work those hours for free if it meant my work would be played by millions of people a year.

Then why work for EA at all?

Make Open Source games for Linux, or Mac, or even Windows.

If you want to make games, then make games.

If you care more about a paycheck than making good games... there are TONS of better-paying jobs available.

In neither case is working for EA a good choice.

/worked for EA.
2004-11-13 10:51:47 PM  
I just want to give a shout-out to the troops in Iraq.

The dipshiats making games about you are getting carpal tunnel.
2004-11-13 10:53:01 PM  
General Zang, I care about a paycheck more than anything, but it isn't even so much that I want to work for EA over any other place as EA is the only big-name game company that I know of that is more than willing to hire people right out of college.
2004-11-13 10:53:40 PM  
The problem isn't the 80+ hour works weeks. It's the "pre-pre-crunch" crunch time followed by the "pre-crunch" time followed by the real crunch time that's the problem. 80+ hour week work isn't supposed to be the norm, it's supposed to be the special effort when a properly maintained schedule is starting to slip.

[image from too old to be available]

/can you say "boycott"? I can.
//oh wait, they don't make anything I want to buy anyhow
2004-11-13 10:57:39 PM  
I can't say much about most EA games, but the Need for Speed Underground games have to be the most overrated items out there.

I disliked the first one enough that I'm not even going to bother with the second. When racing becomes all about the decals and scissor doors, well, someone's really lost the focus on what a driving game should be...
2004-11-13 11:01:50 PM  
EA is the only big-name game company that I know of that is more than willing to hire people right out of college.

Do you think this could be because they plan on paying their workers peanuts to work 80-hour weeks?

I'm not sure that many people with experience and other opportunities would put up with such treatment as is alledged here.
2004-11-13 11:11:37 PM  
Reality sucks doesn't it. No actually it's FREEDOM that sucks, all those nasty choices that mean I have to make a choice, and maybe be resonsible for my life, and grow up, oh such hell. Let's see...

A. I can go to work for a company who will pay a me a check every week to make a product that may or may not sell, they take all the risk.
B. I can go it alone and maybe starve to death.

A. I can quit my job if I don't like it and get another one.
B. I can piss and moan about how unfair it is that there are people who are willing to work harder and longer than I am becuase after all I'm God's gift to this green earth and I deserve to work where I please, when I please, how I please, and get paid for it without putting anything of myself on the line.

Nobody owes you a job or a living. You want one make one, or provide something to someone willing to take the risk that they're willing to pay you to do some kind of work for them.

A non-work example is --

A. I can whine about how expensive new cars are and how unfair it is that I can't get one. I do this while buying a carton of cigs every week and going to the bar every friday and saturday.
B. I can put 50 bucks a week into a savings account, or coffee can, and guess what?! Every five years I can have a brand new car.
2004-11-13 11:14:47 PM  
Sims 2 - Sweatshop Edition!

That was my headline for this story two days ago. I feel so disenfranchised! Rev. Al where are you?
2004-11-13 11:17:30 PM  
I used to work for a non-game company where I was forced to learn to code in different ways with no training while sticking to deadlines promised by managers who'd started as telemarketers and knew nothing about programming.

I started off as the Photoshop guy.

Within 4 months I was getting IMs with such gems in them as "I need you to learn Coldfusion today, we have some appz due tomorrow" and "I heard you and X talking about databases. What do you think about acting as SQL admin on project Z? We've only got a week to do this, LMK ASAP."

And yes, the company bit it, and though I scored a moral victory for myself by bailing before being laid off, in the end I have no skills specific enough to get another job. I do, however, feel good that I have the skill to learn enough Coldfusion in three days to get a manager a trip to Hawaii for all his hard work.

So I feel bad for these guys being pressured by management, but at the same time my feeling is that to be hired by EA in the first place you need to know what the heck you're doing. Working for a game company has an aura of being cool--if it sucks, I would presume most of these guys are skilled enough to be hired elsewhere; somewhere not as cool, but where you can get the work done in the allotted time without ruining your life.

/I'm probably completely wrong
2004-11-13 11:19:03 PM  
I'd do it. It could be worse, and I'm sure they aren't horribly underpaid. Those that survive will slowly be moved to upper management levels and thus be able to fix the problems. Give capitalism its due time.
2004-11-13 11:22:14 PM  
When a student has to give up everything completely to finish an assignment, an essay or an exam, everyone shakes their heads and says that it's their own fault for not giving themselves enough time to do it in a more reasonable manner.

Why is this different?
2004-11-13 11:27:58 PM  

Get out, Hinde01, do something else. I leapt into law (which has longer hours, a bad reputation, an even worse punishment for messing up, and also relies on terms that no layman will understand [just like IT]) because of the writing on the wall.

But... if you love what you do, then it doesn't really matter. Unless your employer is breaking the law or something...

Me too. I'm an artist with a degree in animation and yeah, there is no way I would lock myself up in an environment like EA because it would kill whatever projects I had going for myself. Law is not a cake walk either, but it uses a different part of my brain so I can keep whats mine, mine.

I have no doubt someone will abuse my ass as a clerk but the creamy goodness at the end of the tunnel and the broader career choices make it worth while. You have to make YOURSELF a priority.
2004-11-13 11:31:46 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-11-13 11:33:38 PM  
Holy crap. I had an interview with EA back in 1998 and now I'm glad that I didn't get the job. I think I'll stick with my uninteresting job developing .Net web apps. At least I have time outside of work for doing other things, like geocaching and open-source projects. This is nice.

I have worked in the games industry in the past during my college work terms. I had some long hours, but my hours were very short compared to the hours of the regular staff. Once, one of the programmers worked 31 hours straight during crunch time to get some silly Disney game out of the door. At that point did I realize something was wrong with the games industry. I do miss the office LAN deathmatches though.

Many of these game companies will work people those insane hours because most of the younger college graduates that work for these companies do not want to do anything outside of work. They also have no responsibilities, no debt, no mortgage, etc. Sure, they can buy their 61" plasma TV, but will they ever have the chance to use it?
2004-11-13 11:35:25 PM  
Hinde01, if your degree is general enough and you have at least one valuable skill, you need to find yourself a small company where you can get to know the management on a very friendly basis. Do that for a few years to rack up some sound experience/work history and you should be good. No matter where you go, make yourself indespensible. Ya ya, the old adage says that you can't make yourself too indespensible otherwise you'll never get a promotion. These days, having the same job for 10 years is better than getting fired after 2 for some half-wit that will take half the pay.
2004-11-13 11:35:38 PM  
2004-11-13 11:45:14 PM  
"Serves them right for butchering the James Bond games. Talk about squandering a great product liscense.

/Still loves GoldenEye..."

farking concurrence!

I'm almost 100% sure the reason GoldenEye was great was because Rareware developed it. Every single game that has come out by them has been farking gold. It makes me sad to see the new GoldenEye rip-offs coming out from EA.

As far as this problem right here, I honestly hope EA gets farked up the ass. The managers responsible, as everyone has been saying, really need to be re-evaluated.
2004-11-13 11:46:11 PM  
85 hour work weeks and the NHL series still doesn't have an allstar game and allstar competitions?
2004-11-13 11:48:47 PM  
I made up some nice motivational posters that EA management subscribes to as policy.
EA Management Motivational Posters

Also following the story's coverage here:
EA Spouse Speaks Out Against Game Industry Practices

2004-11-13 11:52:21 PM  
I love the fact that there's an Atari flash ad right in the middle of the article... good ad placement there!
2004-11-14 12:13:36 AM  
I worked at EA until two years ago. We were in crunch time the last 18 months I was there. It was the job I thought I always wanted, and the job I hated more than any I've ever had.

Now I work for a school district. It's not as cool to say, "I design databases for District #204's HR department," as it was to say "I make videogames for a living." But I get to come home at 4:30 every day. I actually have time to _play_ videogames. And (believe me, it matters) I have a hell of a lot more sex.

2004-11-14 12:18:30 AM  
[image from too old to be available]

Good book.
2004-11-14 12:19:54 AM  
Haha, I just bought a copy of The Sims 2 from EA games
2004-11-14 12:49:31 AM  
2004-11-13 07:41:14 PM Naritai

Those who are saying 'everyone does it' are missing the point. It shouldn't be that way anywhere.

Hear, hear. Popularity and common practice don't make it any more ethical.

(Sorry the comment is late, just got in from work; my view on the hours I put in as a retail manager just got altered. Yikes.)
2004-11-14 12:55:58 AM  
I actually worked as a QA tester for Atari. $10 an hour, 60 hours a week, time and a half overtime. Aside from a slight snafu early on where some people didn't receive their checks (which wasn't Atari's fault, we were contracted temps and paid by some company in a different state), they were really good.

And then they let us all go 6 days before christmas with no warning.
2004-11-14 12:56:25 AM  
One vector on this story that I didn't see touched is the price of games these days. Sure, paying overtime and hiring scores of programmers would be nice -- but people complain already that games cost too much. Ruminate on that, assuming one's not a pirate (which is a whole 'nother can o' worms).

Anyways, I used to work at EA too, at the HQ in Redwood City. It was hard work, but frankly, I loved it. However, I couldn't do it today -- I'm older, creakier, and have two kids now. My current job is much more mundane than EA, but I get to go home every day at 5:00. Like others have said, if you don't like the hours, there's always the door.
2004-11-14 01:02:19 AM  
You know what this story really is?

Another great reason to outsource software projects to India.
2004-11-14 01:06:10 AM  
Reality sucks doesn't it. No actually it's FREEDOM that sucks

You're veiwpoint is interesting, but let me tell you how it works on the planet Earth.

A) I could start a business, manage it well, produce a solid product and treat my employees in good faith.

B) I can come up with a half cooked business plan, abuse my workers while violating labor laws to try and achieve it, ship a crappy product and have some self rightious git on Fark defend me.

To put this another way:
Ayn Rand - Workers have no particular rights.
Henry Ford - Pay your workers as much as you possibly can.

Whose model of capitalism are you going to trust?
2004-11-14 01:13:17 AM  
Fark EA.

/Still going to buy BF2.
2004-11-14 01:14:06 AM  

I was a game reviewer for a few months. And while it's more fun, the hours or no different.

Yes, you get your weekends, generally, but that's it. I remember being chided because I only worked 10 hour days, and other people I worked with did 12 hour days. But, you see, I didn't go to the movies in the middle of the day, or take a 3-hour lunch. That didn't matter, though, as I was only "there" 10-hours a day. If I was feeling particularly moody, I may only do an eight hour day.

And the people in sales? They got to work 8 hour days.

I got all my work done and did a decent job, but for what they were paying me (just over $30k/yr) in the Bay Area...well, I could do a LOT less work for a LOT more money...and that's what I did.
2004-11-14 01:19:39 AM  


Major Thomb: Waaaa...quit if you don't like the hours.

Waaaa... hire more staff if you are behind on a deadline.

Congratulations, you're a dumbass. Brooks's law is one of the most basic principles of software development, which states (essentially) that adding more programmers to a team when the software is nearing completion harms rather than helps, as those additional programmers need to spend time learning the codebase, which detracts from productivity even more.

Actually, you're the dumbass. We're talking about game development here, not software development. Programmers represent about 10 to 20% of the development team, the rest consisting mostly of level designers, modelers, animators, texture artists, effects artists and sound designers. And adding more of these people to the team makes a huge difference when the team is running behind.

Next time, try to know what in the fark you're talking about before spouting off.

You should follow your own advice. This goes for all of you who don't understand that game development is quite different from normal software development.
2004-11-14 01:24:46 AM  
I really don't want to be a troll, but it seems like software programmers complain an awful lot. It's not like the rest of the world is sitting on plumb jobs either...
2004-11-14 01:33:39 AM  
James Bong, Naritai,Caesare all make excellent points :
1. Corporate greed is a huge factor in these hellacious work schedules.
2. It honestly doesn't have to be that way to be successful,people choose it to be that way.
3. It is Management's fault for these ridiculous work hours,the human body only has so much energy so working beyond a certain point is STUPID & mngt. should be aware of that .
2004-11-14 01:38:39 AM  
Gotta love the people who want to reward businesses who torture their employees.

We have laws against assault, why not have laws against slowly killing people with work?
2004-11-14 03:15:31 AM  

weiner dog says: "My sister is a pharm tech, and she has the entire compendium memorized, not to mention all contraindications (look it up), how to compound certain medicines (as they're not all pills), knows what a pill is for by simply looking at it, etc. The pharmacist has to know all that + more."

No offense to your sister, but that's the sort of thing we have databases for. One of my friends in college was a pharmacy major, and every time she talked about her (future) job, it always boiled down to memorizing a bunch of stuff, and not much else.

2004-11-14 03:24:14 AM  
I went to visit Sony Online Entertainment today, and those guys have worked HARD on the release of Everquest 2, they do similar crazy workweeks. There were even people working there tonight as late as 11 PM programming, doing patch updates, etc.

I respect people that love their work and the quality of their product so much that they'll sacrifice to make it happen. :) There were 64,000 people online simultaneously for EQ2 too (according to their server stats) so I'd say their dedication is paying off.

We salute you game programmers that work harder than even we in the military.
2004-11-14 03:59:21 AM  
Why should I have to put in a database? If you can't memorize the drugs, there is the door.
2004-11-14 04:50:32 AM  
I always wondered why they never got the Alt-F4 bug in Generals fixed, even though the problem was blindingly simple.

I also wondered why BF 1942 took six+ patches to get it right, and why BF Vietnam sucks ass.

Now we know.
2004-11-14 05:25:43 AM  
I wish I got paid even half of what they make there, and I'd love to work for EA. (used to work around the corner from one of there offices) Then again I'd like to have a job that paid well.
2004-11-14 09:16:44 AM  
I'm a professional developer, I don't work in the game industry, although during my first summer off from college I worked at Red Storm Entertainment as a tester on Rainbow 6 (and got called to come back in during my school breaks, as I was a pretty good *programmer* (read *not* developer) at the time, so I could talk the talk with the dev team). I make a lot more than the average game developer does, I only work, at most, 45-50 hours a week, and that is only rarely (usually it's 40, sometimes less if I have something important outside of work going on), I have 3 weeks of paid vacation a year, and a few personal days to do whatever with. Why? Because even though out development process is not as well planned as I would like it to be, we have a good set of methodologies worked out to ensure that developers are only working overtime on projects at the very end, and only if it's needed. These projects are for customers like Cisco and Microsoft.

Red Storm didn't treat it's employees too bad. They all had "stock option eyes" at the time, and they worked late hours, but not ridiculous. I once slept at the office because it was a few days before Gold Master 1, but it wasn't a big deal. Got paid for it (waged employee).

I guess my point is that the game industry has changed a lot in the past 6 years. I've heard from friends that after Ubisoft bought Red Storm a lot changed around there. It's become such a money machine it's almost no longer about the product anymore. On the other hand, after reading and talking to people working in the industry about the shiat game developers go through now, I said "fark it". Guess what, I can make more doing a non-game development job, have more of my life free to me to do what I want, and still enjoy my work (although it's starting to wear on me). Not to mention that I have time outside of work to do my own projects to build up my own business and get out from under the corporate thumb.

I'm not knocking game developers. I intereviewed for a few jobs just out of hand right before graduation, and got offered one (in chicago, but I hate chicago). The interviewers all knew their stuff, to the point where they were just being assholes. My problem with these guys are that they think their some kind of exclusive club and that they are special because of it. As someone else said, get over yourselves, someone else can easily do your job. My quaternion math is rusty, but it would take me all of two weeks to get back up to speed on my physics, math, and C/C++ skills to do your job. You are easily replaceable. I spent my last quarter of CS writing my own version of X-Com. It works, with the exception of the xml-based configurability I've been adding. That was a team project 10 years ago. This farking post is way too long...
2004-11-14 09:36:23 AM  
LineNoiseOr lastly we can all move to super liberal world where money is limitless and we can just throw gobs at it to make the problem go away.

I didn't know Dubya was a liberal!

But seriously. There are plenty of resources to go around in this country; for all intents and purposes money _is_ limitless. Unless you waste obscene amounts of it on things like blowing the crap out of other countries and then rebuilding them to your liking...
2004-11-14 09:55:20 AM  
It amuses me to see all these posts about how easily replaceable the people in the games industry are. We've had several open positions in our tech/tools department at Midway for almost a year, and have not filled one of them, because maybe six of the dozens of candidates that have applied were even worth bringing in for an interview, and only two of those worth worth extending an offer to, and those two didn't work out. There are thousands of programmers out there who want to get into the game industry, but to say that they are interchangeable is b.s. The piles of crap we get as answers to the question "Write a function to normalize a vector" make me wonder what exactly is being taught for C.S. degrees at universities these days. Seriously.

As an aside, if you want to work in the game industry without the crazy insane hours of the game teams, consider working in tools and tech. I still have to put in extra hours at times, but the hours are a lot more stable and you get to work on really cool stuff that every game team uses. It's not the same emotional investment in a game as working on a game team, but it's a lot easier on the family.
2004-11-14 10:49:08 AM  
Ah, so now I know why you can't get rid of the salmon when it explodes on the stove in Sims2...
2004-11-14 11:22:13 AM  
sgmsbro, I've put in those kinds of numbers on my own once in a while. Usually with only one console used. You give me all 5 (GCN, Xbox, PS2, GBA, PC) to work with and I could easily pull down those hours.
2004-11-14 11:42:37 AM  

UNIX sysadmin here.

Normalizing the vector. Would've guessed that meant making a unit vector of the same direction as the one you're given. Looked it up on GOOGLE and turns out I guessed right this time.

Take a given vector of n dimensions, and figure its magnitude (I think that's the vectorese for what I normally call "distance") sqrt (n1^2 + n2^2 + ...).

Then divide all components of the vector by said distance. Voila, a unit vector.

I could do that in Perl, C(++) and shell script if given a little time to do the research. A for-loop to figure the magnitude, with an array of pointers and/or global variables; I assume you want this function to be scalable.

I remember learning this in my linear algebra class. Not sure why advanced math wood be part of a CS degree, CS degrees are less and less math-oriented these days.

Methinks a lot of companies want to biatch about "how hard" it is to find people so they can try and bring in H1-B at 60% of the salary. Or, if these people were so valuable to the company, the company would be treating them a bit more valuably.
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