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Gameloft accused of poor working conditions

Gameloft accused of poor working conditions

Gameloft is one of the larger mobile game publishers in the industry.

Former staff at mobile game developer Gameloft's New Zealand studio claim that they experienced poor working conditions, with staff being overworked to 'dangerous levels'. If true, the conditions would have violated New Zealand's health and safety laws.

Former studio head Glenn Watson told Games On Net that he worked between 100 and 120 hours during some weeks. 'Starting at 9:30am , going home at 2:30am, and then coming back into the office at 8:30am to start work again was not unusual,' he told the site.

Watson says he resigned after working four consecutive weeks of 14-hour days, including weekends. He also says that Gameloft asked him to apologise for burdening others with his work.

According to Watson, the developer's French headquarters would set false deadlines to induce crunch periods where some developers would end up working 24-hour shifts. The mobile studio, responsible for N.O.V.A, one of the initial first person shooters designed for iOS, and the Asphalt series, has not yet responded to the claims.

Poor working conditions in game studios regularly make the news. Watson says that the recent allegations levelled at Team Bondi by former employees was one of the inspirations for him to come forward.

Have you ever worked for a game developer and experienced poor working conditions? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

10 Comments

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aleph31 19th July 2011, 13:08 Quote
developers (not only game developers) are the slaves of the XXI century...
enciem 19th July 2011, 13:20 Quote
if you don't like it, you get out. He did, so what's the problem.
greypilgers 19th July 2011, 13:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
if you don't like it, you get out. He did, so what's the problem.

Not a helpful or worthwhile comment.
RostokMcSpoons 19th July 2011, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
if you don't like it, you get out. He did, so what's the problem.

Spoken like an employer, without an ounce of humanity in you.

Good God, it's that sort of attitude that leads to child workers making clothes and trainers so big companies can make a few extra percent of profit.
aleph31 19th July 2011, 14:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
if you don't like it, you get out. He did, so what's the problem.

Ok, you quit. Now comes the next one, with same conditions. If he likes it, he is insane (I'm quite sure he is not rewarded the same than a lawyer or surgeon). So he quits. But there are tons of people willing to work in games industry (vocation, you know). At the end of the day, you have a whole industry populated with slaves, do you think that's a fair scenario?
cubixxx 19th July 2011, 14:37 Quote
I've worked at two different studio's before starting a new career and I can say that I was never forced to work for longer than contracted. However in both companies most people would stay longer to get things finished or put in some weekend crunch time if deadlines were approaching for no extra pay. Yes some people did leave because it didnt suite them but you get that in most industries.

I cant help but think maybe these claims have been exagerated slightly, this is just my opinion based on working at two companies in the UK, I couldnt say what its like for the rest of the world.
Arkanrais 19th July 2011, 17:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
if you don't like it, you get out. He did, so what's the problem.

Because it's illegal under NZ labour laws.
You can't just let companies off for breaking health and safety laws cause the employees want to work there.
I know of a meatworks where I live that houses a lot of the....well, bottom 10 percent of the bell curve of intelligence. they work there cause it pays as much as half the professions around here, but I doubt much of them would leave if the company decided "to hell with all the health and safety crap. If you dont like the conditions, then dont work here."
malcolm 19th July 2011, 23:59 Quote
This isn't unheard of for New Zealanders working for development houses that are arms of overseas companies. One of the problems is that developers, for the most part, really like to write code... that leads them into a spiral of longer and longer hours to fix particular bugs that irk them, all voluntarily initially, which then generates an expectation that such effort will be maintained over long term periods.

And then the pressure comes down from above...
metarinka 20th July 2011, 01:07 Quote
it seems like the game dev's haven't quite got the contact hours thing worked out. the whole "if you don't like it leave" thing isn't a great philosophy to maintain a talented workforce that makes good games. We aren't talking people not liking the work, we are talking not liking working 10+ hours a day when you are only contractally paid 8.

Which seems counter as everyone knows that a persons productivity and health suffers heavily if forced to work many hours. I understand the occasional crunch day, but working long hours is killer. I'm an engineer and left company's when there was an expectation to do unpaid overtime on weekends, instead of giving me the capital to fix machinery so the crunch time wasn't needed.
DbD 20th July 2011, 10:25 Quote
As a dev the longer hours you work the more tired you get and the worse the quality of your code becomes. Bad code breeds more bad code, and as quality goes down bugs go up, whole sections need re-writing and before you know it you just have a big mess of unworkable spaghetti. Hence it's actually not in the dev houses interest to work people too hard. Apart from all the good people leaving because they can get a better job it will end up taking longer, and is more likely to not work properly.
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