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Rockstar responds to poor working condition claims

Rockstar responds to poor working condition claims

Rockstar has responded to claims that it has poor working conditions for developers.

Rockstar has responded to allegations of poor working conditions and low morale for the first time, mostly dismissing the claims while also reaffirming that the games industry is a tough business.

The comments come in response to an open letter written by an anonymous spouse of a Rockstar San Diego developer who claimed to be fed up with infeasible hours and bonuses that never appeared. A slew of comments then appeared to back up the author, claiming that 12 hour days, 6 days a week were the standard. According to the writer, the health and mental well-being of employees was at risk.

Comments later surfaced indicating that the conditions were not unique to the San Diego studio.

"As for the stories spreading around the internet, yes we have noticed them," the company said in an open Q&A session. "Unfortunately, this is a case of people taking the opinions of a few anonymous posters on message boards as fact.

"No business is ever perfect, but Rockstar Games is a tight knit team made up of around 900 supremely talented and motivated professionals, many of whom have worked here for a very long time.

"We’re saddened if any former members of any studio did not find their time here enjoyable or creatively fulfilling and wish them well with finding an environment more suitable to their temperaments and needs, but the vast majority of our company are focused solely on delivering cutting edge interactive entertainment.

"We’ve always cared passionately about the people working here, and have always tried to maintain a supportive creative environment. There is simply no way Rockstar could continue to produce such large scale, high quality games without this.

"That being said, making great games is very challenging, which is why we have and will continue to try to keep hold of some of the best talent in the industry and support them in every way we can,"

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

27 Comments

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mi1ez 22nd January 2010, 14:32 Quote
Not impressed Rockstar. Not impressed.
iggy 22nd January 2010, 14:35 Quote
aww boo hoo. try being a chef or something like that for a week and then complain about sitting in a comfy chair for 12 hours
Picarro 22nd January 2010, 14:59 Quote
Am I the only one to realise that they said absolutely nothing with that text? It was just useless blabber.
Digi 22nd January 2010, 15:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Am I the only one to realise that they said absolutely nothing with that text? It was just useless blabber.

Yup, thats true, I noticed it too. It doesn't address anything directly or refute anything directly etc. Cop out!
yakyb 22nd January 2010, 16:01 Quote
^ ummm Wow (literally)
memeroot 22nd January 2010, 16:20 Quote
I'd take a job there, I actually have an old friend working for them (still I think).

However the low pay rates and long hours put me off working in the games industry... so I stick in programming for industry...

Job satisfaction / hours and salary

its their choice.
Xtrafresh 22nd January 2010, 17:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Am I the only one to realise that they said absolutely nothing with that text? It was just useless blabber.
This.

So basically Rockstar management decided to put their heid deeper up their own asses, put out a statement comprised of non-quantifiables like dedication and intentions, and then waiting till this blows over. I bet they are also looking for the ones that posted this so they can give them the sack. Business ethics at it's finest!
Er-El 22nd January 2010, 18:19 Quote
Basically all they said was, if they don't like it then they can leave. Doesn't sound fair at all.
Picarro 22nd January 2010, 18:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Working conditions at Blizzard:
http://www.widelec.org/index.php?page2=1&site=blog&action=detail&blog_id=3211&site=blog&section=1&text=&pages=10

That is all.

**** the hours and the lousy pay. Where do I sign up?
Farfalho 22nd January 2010, 18:32 Quote
Always the same with big shots trying to show that the end justify the means. Fed up with this society always gravelling for more money than quality of products. Let's say, trade one whole month of work with the employers and employees and get feedback at the end of the experiment.

I bet they wouldn't stick their head out to the world so fast.
pdf27 22nd January 2010, 21:53 Quote
All employers are like that at some points, and if you don't like it your options are to withdraw your labour temporarily (i.e. go on strike) or permanently (i.e. resign). I've just done the latter after finally getting fed up of the way my employer has been treating me - no pay rise or bonus for some years, and most of last year on a 4 day week (and hence 20% pay cut). If enough people do this then the company will either do something about the pay/conditions or lose out through having to repeatedly hire new, inexperienced staff.
sui_winbolo 22nd January 2010, 23:43 Quote
Omg he works 12 hour days in an office environment out of the elements?!? That poor *******!

I know people that do 12+ hours a day working for the oil companies and farm elevators here. That's a lot harder work then programming, debugging, etc for a video game.
theflatworm 23rd January 2010, 00:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sui_winbolo
Omg he works 12 hour days in an office environment out of the elements?!? That poor *******!

I know people that do 12+ hours a day working for the oil companies and farm elevators here. That's a lot harder work then programming, debugging, etc for a video game.

The point here, surely, is not 'do people in the world work under conditions like this,' but: 'do we want to live in a world where people work in conditions like this'. Forcing employees to work 12 hour days on a regular basis is not healthy (physically, mentally or familially) for employees, and neither is it -- in the long term -- an intelligent, productive way to run a business.

It seems from Rockstar's statement that they are saying: 'it's all true, we're *******s, but we make good games so go **** yourselves.' It's standard form business-think, of the kind you invariably find coming from the mouths of self-interested, ego-centric fat-cats trying to help themselves get to sleep at night and stop the general population from fire-bombing their houses. Think banking crisis here and the parallels are subtle, but doubtlessly present...
chrisb2e9 23rd January 2010, 00:33 Quote
If people dont like the work they do then they can always quit. Sure times are tough right now and maybe not the best time to find a new job. But thats what I did and i'm still standing.
theflatworm 23rd January 2010, 00:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb2e9
If people dont like the work they do then they can always quit. Sure times are tough right now and maybe not the best time to find a new job. But thats what I did and i'm still standing.


And if every time you walk down your street someone punches you in the face, you can always move house. Freedom of choice on the part of the recipient of ill-treatment (which is usually limited in some way, or carries some sort of negative consequences beyond the direct repercussions of the decision itself -- I'm thinking lack of references, having to uproot a family, etc etc) is no excuse for the ill-treatment itself.
metarinka 23rd January 2010, 01:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
Working conditions at Blizzard:
http://www.widelec.org/index.php?page2=1&site=blog&action=detail&blog_id=3211&site=blog&section=1&text=&pages=10

That is all.

reminds me exactly of the studio john romero had for daikatana. Wow is an awesome game, but it's crazy to see what the developers do when they are awash in cash. I bet during crunch time all those awesome play areas are empty.
Psytek 23rd January 2010, 05:30 Quote
What they are saying is: Yes people work long hours for little pay, but we weren't aware they were unhappy about it.

Pretty retarded.
SoulRider 23rd January 2010, 14:36 Quote
To the people who can't see what they are moaning about, go to your office on Monday, if you do an 8 hour day, get there 2 hours earlier, leave 2 hours later. Do that all week and throw in saturday as well. It doesn't matter what you are doing, working in an office(with no natural light or exposure to fresh air) or working outside for 12 hours a day. You lose your life. it's not about the work, it's about your down time, time to go shopping, time to see your family and friends, time to stop you going insane. Working for that amount of time will burn you out if maintained. It can be done for short periods, upto 6 months, but then your health starts to rapidly dwindle. Having done both, physical labouring outside for 12 hours a day, and sitting inside for 12 hours a day, I can honestly say for me the outdoor physical work is much easier to cope with than sitting in an office in front of a pc.
DragunovHUN 23rd January 2010, 14:47 Quote
Where's that long blog post from the guy who made box art screenshots for Manhunt?
ZERO <ibis> 24th January 2010, 04:57 Quote
The fact that I still can not play gta 4 b/c of 3rd party drm makes the working conditions there not very surprising. (I am boycotting 3rd party drm on steam)
themax 24th January 2010, 20:42 Quote
What I want to know is. If it is so bad, and these spouses and employees so sure about the "problem"; Why haven't they came out publicy about it (nice to see a face and name instead of using teh interwebs), and also, why is there no lawsuit?
supermonkey 25th January 2010, 03:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by themax
What I want to know is. If it is so bad, and these spouses and employees so sure about the "problem"; Why haven't they came out publicy about it (nice to see a face and name instead of using teh interwebs)...
From what I could tell a lot of the employees are based here in America (Specifically, San Diego). We are currently knee deep in a recession, with nearly 10% unemployment. In these conditions, especially in California - a state with major budget problems - would you risk your job by going public with claims like these? At this point in the game there are a lot of allegations, but no real action, so if you sign your name to the letter and put your face on the internet, you'll more than likely find yourself without a job. Here in America, no job (and no income) typically means no health insurance. With a two year old, I sure wouldn't risk it. I'd put up with it until a better opportunity came along.
themax 25th January 2010, 04:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey
From what I could tell a lot of the employees are based here in America (Specifically, San Diego). We are currently knee deep in a recession, with nearly 10% unemployment. In these conditions, especially in California - a state with major budget problems - would you risk your job by going public with claims like these? At this point in the game there are a lot of allegations, but no real action, so if you sign your name to the letter and put your face on the internet, you'll more than likely find yourself without a job. Here in America, no job (and no income) typically means no health insurance. With a two year old, I sure wouldn't risk it. I'd put up with it until a better opportunity came along.

I see your point, and I don't mean to say that either side is right or wrong, but what is the point of an anonymous letter if no action is to follow? It just seems pointless given the circumstance. If it is so bad then they need to bring it to light and take Rockstar to task. Getting a bunch of people on the internet to agree really doesn't do much which is evident by the vague response Rockstar has given.
Xir 25th January 2010, 10:03 Quote
Quote:
...former members of any studio did not find their time here enjoyable or creatively fulfilling ...
Wel, they probably did find their time enjoyable and fullfilling...so much they couldn't do anything else anymore.
Star*Dagger 25th January 2010, 22:19 Quote
Capitalism is the most successful form of totalitarian control.

Never work for someone else who can fire you. Never sell your labor to another, by definition they will be exploiting you.
Owning your own business or forming profit-sharing co-ops is one way of avoiding these abuses.
mbenoni7 27th January 2010, 18:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sui_winbolo

I know people that do 12+ hours a day working for the oil companies and farm elevators here.

The difference is that they get paid for 12+ hrs a day. These guys are paid for 8 hrs a day and then are expected to work for 12+ hrs. If they had signed up for this up front there would be no problem.
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