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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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24863 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Nov 2004 at 7:09 PM (17 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

273 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-11-13 3:49:18 PM  

I promise, I know the difference between ITS and IT'S. Don't slap my hand with the ruler!
2004-11-13 3:56:50 PM  
that explains the crappy games...

/got nothing
2004-11-13 4:08:12 PM  
i wonder if madden football will be better when its programed by pakistanis.
2004-11-13 4:12:10 PM  
I used to work for EA. The problem is that the middle managers that are put over these development teams suck ass. They dont understand that its a business they are in and they miss deadlines or ignore them completely. Finally when its getting close to christmas/the ship date and their teams still arent done they have to all go into crunch time (severe overtime hours) to get it done.. ending up with a shiatty, buggy product.

The problem is that the managers ALL ALONG knew the deadline and were just too stupid to organize their teams to get the work done on time and to meet business objectives.
2004-11-13 4:30:09 PM  
EA sucks, I never plan on a game made by them again for various reasons.

/I miss EnB.
2004-11-13 4:33:28 PM  
I think they are not ignoring the schedule. I think they know they can just say "crunch time" and count on 100's of man hours for free at the end of the schedule. What other business can get away with that?
2004-11-13 4:34:23 PM  
BF1942 is the greatest war game of all time. At least they got one thing right.
2004-11-13 4:47:06 PM  
All work and no play... oh wait. It's a game company

/Never mind
2004-11-13 4:54:49 PM  
Challenge everything... like laws.
2004-11-13 5:07:59 PM  
They right near Orlando, where there are no laws that help employees, and America sux more everyday.
2004-11-13 5:08:13 PM  
Work at a nonprofit company- you work 60-80 hour weeks with no overtime and the pay sucks.
2004-11-13 5:13:17 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
Slave Labor is Everything

2004-11-13 5:16:25 PM  
No, we don't need no stinkin' pinko commie liberal ideas like organized labor...
2004-11-13 5:19:51 PM  

Greatest war game ever? I would have to disagree about that. It sure as hell was a fun as hell game to play, and one of the best FPS's I've played in the last couple of years, but for wartime simulations, it didn't bring a lot to the table.

Anyway, threadjacking aside, EA games has been doing this forever. I can't imagine why anyone would want to work for them...oh yeah I remember. They buy up all the small game studios or crush them out of existence leaving the employees of said companies with no where else to go.

If you read the articles floating around right now about this, including one from a spouse of an EA worker, apparently they would announce a 'mild crunch time' where they would have to work 10 hour days for awhile in order to avoid a larger, harder crunch time later. Well the 'mild crunch time' just rolled into a 'medium' crunch time' and that rolled into 'major curnch time' where the employees were working 12 hour days, 7 days a week trying to get the project done. All at non-exempt status. That's just farking crazy right there. I barely make it through my 40 hour work week, can you imagine working that hard and nothing to show for it except a buggy game that requires 4 patches? I hope EA (as well as any company abusing employee like this) gets reamed on this one.
2004-11-13 5:36:39 PM  
There's a reason that they go through "crunch time" every single year around this time. Managers who manage development teams have failed to:
1) Keep the project meeting deadlines imposed by the company and logic (ie your product *must* be on the shelves before xmas)

The average title that ships goes through a production cycle like this:
Beginning: Everyone has a great time, hours are not that long, lots of artsy meetings and hand holding about product design and ideas
Middle: Title is not meeting goals, and thereby NOT on time. However work hours are not changed, and focus continues to be on the flowery crap. Lots of hand holding and singing "Kumbahya"
End: Manager finally figures out that Yes, in fact they have to get their product on the shelf prior to the busy season so the company can actually recognize revenue during the busy season. Manager panics, manager then makes a series of idiotic decisions, bad design ideas and jacks up working hours, which further compound the idiotic decisions regarding game play, add bugs and in all devalues the product. Lots of "we'll fix that after release" talk ensues.

Managers: Why not just set realistic goals, and keep to them? Your teams could be working normal hours instead of few at first and many at the last of the project.

Why is it a surprise to anyone that the developers are being ridden to complete the project by Christmas, or any other deadline? Here's a clue: Get managers that can really estimate how long and complex a project is, ones that wont lie or kiss ass to upper management about how long and complex a project REALLY is and one who can manage both business goals and project goals. As it is all the low level managers over developers do is work their people 40 hours, miss deadlines and slack off. Finally, when the product is getting close to the ship date they all go into panic mode, make shiatty code pushes that introduce MYRIADS of bugs and eventually put out an inferior project because of this knee jerk reactionary approach to business.

Seriously - for those of you who think its the "evil empire executives" causing low level workers grief and paying "slave wages" you need to get a grip on reality. EA programmers are by and large paid very well. Additionally they are SALARIED employees - ie when they start to work for the company they agree that they will work the hours necessary to get their product to market for a set fee.

The managers over development teams are the ones that hose EA development employees. They fail to grasp the reality that they are working first and foremost for a business. While games have art aspects, the end result is that your product is NOT ART. It is first a product THEN it is art.

So to you developers out there that are pissed off that you're having to work 90 hours before the holiday season to get your product out the door:

Blame your direct manager.

He/she is the one failing to 1) get his or her team motivated to complete the work necessary to ship the product on time 2)failing to properly estimate the time and manpower needed to meet project goals 3)failing to treat the job like its about business
2004-11-13 5:51:44 PM  
85+ hour weeks are pretty standard in the games industry (at least during crunch time). Overtime? Ha!

If you don't like it, there are plenty of qualified people lined up to take your job.
2004-11-13 6:47:26 PM  
What JamesBong said.
2004-11-13 7:03:44 PM  
No wonder they haven't outsourced to India:

1- Count up the hours, and the cost/person hour is cheaper than in India.

2- Treating workers that badly in India would be illegal. Unlike here in the U.S., managers would actually get in trouble for treating people like dog shiat.

Welcome to W.'s America!

Now quitcherbiatchin and get back to work before I fire your ass.
2004-11-13 7:08:16 PM  
If you don't like it, there are plenty of qualified people lined up to take your job.

I wonder if you'll say that one day when you or someone you know gets fired for having cancer, or getting pregnant.
2004-11-13 7:14:06 PM  
That's worse than Wal-Mart. Almost.

85 hour workweeks without overtime pay is bullshiat.

It ranks up there with Wal-Mart.

Count me out of the gaming industry, thank you.
2004-11-13 7:15:22 PM  
In other news, does anyone else hate gamespot's layout, and, it's always been f'd up for me (i think it's my high reso)
2004-11-13 7:16:11 PM  
Some of the changes (albeit needed in a few cases) made to employment law over the last four years actually exempt some tech jobs from getting overtime. However, I don't think that includes developers.

Or in other words: who knows what's going to happen.
2004-11-13 7:16:41 PM  
If they're so "qualified" why are all their products late and buggy and insecure.
2004-11-13 7:17:32 PM  
It's not really a problem with management. It's a problem with chronically underestimating the amount of time it takes to do a particular task. With good reason, often, as it can be extremely difficult to predict how long something is going to take when you have to account for uncontrollable variables. Sure, often management could be doing a better job, but the reality of the situation is that they are often doing fine jobs, it's just not possible to hit the original date.
2004-11-13 7:18:03 PM  
iollow [TotalFark]

We can only hope. Of course, this is Cadex, it's not like his comment was unexpected.
/Florida needs more "weather events".
2004-11-13 7:18:19 PM  
If they're so "qualified" why are all their products late and buggy and insecure.

'Cause they're not getting paid overtime. DUH
2004-11-13 7:18:21 PM  
If it's in the game...
2004-11-13 7:18:37 PM  
They should all go work for Garage Games...
2004-11-13 7:19:05 PM  
85-hour work weeks, with no overtime pay or comp time.

Which, would be standard practice everywhere, if the cons have their way.
2004-11-13 7:19:44 PM  
Code_Archaeologist - Slave Labor is Everything

They could outsource it to the Germans... they have experience in that area.

[image from too old to be available]
2004-11-13 7:20:24 PM  
I have a feeling EA is about to outsource game programming to India, where they'll be GLAD to work 90 hour weeks.
2004-11-13 7:20:28 PM  
2004-11-13 07:19:05 PM barneyfifesbullet [TotalFark]
85-hour work weeks, with no overtime pay or comp time.
Which, would be standard practice everywhere, if the cons have their way.

Well, everywhere except for politics or upper management.
2004-11-13 7:21:05 PM  
Didn't the COO of EA quit just ahead of this in July when the lawsuit was filed?
2004-11-13 7:21:29 PM  
Better than what Wal-Mart employees get. No, I don't mean the ones working in the stores. I'm talking about the employees who make the clothes.
2004-11-13 7:22:01 PM  
like computer work is strenous.

2004-11-13 7:22:16 PM  
They don't get paid overtime? Man, that's too bad, they really wanted that couch.
2004-11-13 7:23:08 PM  
Hey, they're developers and they have jobs. Quit biatching.

And managers do suck ass.
2004-11-13 7:23:23 PM  
My prediction is that EA will win...and/or settle out of court. If EA loses, they have to retroactively pay overtime for their employees over X amount of years (not sure what). A huge company like EA probably has their bases covered when it comes to legally exploiting their workers. We'll see--but my money is with EA. I'm pretty sure salaried high-skilled workers are exempt from overtime.

A miserable place to work by all accounts (at least EALA is)--but unfortunately it works. EA is the #1 publisher in the US by a longshot...#2 (Nintendo) makes like under half what EA pulls in annually.
2004-11-13 7:23:36 PM  
How is this asinine?
2004-11-13 7:23:44 PM  
Serves them right for butchering the James Bond games. Talk about squandering a great product liscense.

/Still loves GoldenEye...
2004-11-13 7:23:49 PM  
Doesn't just occur in the gaming industry.

My buddy was a project manager at URS Corp and he pulled 11 weeks of 16 hour 7-day weeks in a row last winter...that's 112 hour weeks. Not surprisingly he took a 40K paycut to go public sector.
2004-11-13 7:23:50 PM  
Challenge everything.....including your employees' sanity.
2004-11-13 7:24:06 PM  
Deaths and serious injuries are common in the meat packing industry. If you don't like it, there are plenty of qualified people lined up to take your job.
2004-11-13 7:24:15 PM  
Huh? What does working long hours have to do with cancer or pregnancy? You have to put in the hours if you want to make the big bucks. You could always be a regular software developer, which in some cases have 40-hour workweeks with paid overtime.

It doesn't bother me. I still plan to go into game development. Unless I get cancer, that is.
2004-11-13 7:24:30 PM  
First off, these aren't the folks in the mailroom. They are skilled EXEMPT employees. exempt being the key word.

That means they get a salary, and can make up their own minds if the job is worth it or not. Have a problem with it, just leave.

Of course we could force the companies to pay these guys double and triple overtime, so they just ratchet everyones pay down and it all comes out in the wash. Or they could just fire half the staff to be able to make payroll, and be in a worse spot than before, so 6 months down the road everyone is unemployed.

Or 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. Hey, I KNOW, i bet we can take it from all the CEO's!

Life is rough, sometimes you have to work hard. Get a helmet.

now if you will excuse me, I need to put out the fire in my ashtray.
2004-11-13 7:24:45 PM  
I first read about this about 3 days ago. I tried e-mailing EA about this (I'm not in the habit of firing off such e-mails, but this issue hits a nerve with me), but couldn't get ahold of them. If anyone can dig up a good corporate e-mail address of theirs, I'm all ears. Their site seems to have such info obfuscated to oblivion.
2004-11-13 7:24:50 PM  
Also, I agree with what JamesBong is saying. The "crunch time" phenomenon is a result of lousy management.
2004-11-13 7:25:32 PM  
Every software company I've ever worked at operates this way. Nature of the beast I think. Coders get paid, but they don't get paid overtime. Same with anyone on a salary. In defense of the industry software pays well.
2004-11-13 7:25:57 PM  
I WAS going to buy the Urbz this year. Not anymore, thank you very much. I know they don't give a shiat about my lost business; but I don't feel comfortable with giving them my money anymore. I'll just stick with Pirates! and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. Or are they EA too?
/Bloodlines has a subtitle to a subtitle. Sad.
2004-11-13 7:26:41 PM  
This has been all over the tech websites (Arstechnica, Slashdot, etc.) and there are a bunch of EA employess pissed. The big meme going around was an anonymous post from an EA employee's spouse who claimed that EA was destroying their family life.

Their upper management will go buh bye and they will bring in more responsible overlords who can choose and oversee better middle managers.

PS Considering there haven't been too many dramatic changes in Madden or Battlefield in the last few years what the hell is the copious overtime for?
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