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Class Action lawsuit against Electronic Arts?
November 16th 2004, 02:36 CET by Trunks

Several of us on the Crap are either currently working in the game industry or have worked in it at some point, and most (if not all) of us can relate to the EA Spouse story in some fashion. I'm not sure how many of us have been in a bad a situation as the one described, but for the most part it's common knowledge that EA is the worst of all the big game companies when it comes to working conditions.

Looking around various message board discussions on the Internet regarding this matter, I was amazed at the number of people who are posting in defense of EA. While I'm sure several of these posts are just trolls, some of these posts seem pretty genuine in their intent. The most common responses from these guys are:

"EA is not having a problem getting people to work for them if needed. If you can't handle it, quit."
"It's like this in all game companies, get over it."


And the most ludicrous statement that I've seen so far:

"They are a business in it to make money. I love EA because people hate them for wanting to run a good business. If all these EA haters had the industry their way, we wouldn't have any more games, because all of the development and production companies would be bankrupt."

How do people end up with this sort of mentality other than blind devotion and shillery to a company? I don't think Marketing and PR have had THAT good an effect on their customer base, but I am always amazed at how some people can end up on this line of thinking.

It is possible to both run a good company and treat your employees properly. But I guess squeezing out an extra 2 million in profit is a better alternative to properly compensating your employee base for extra work.
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#1 by BobJustBob
2004-11-16 02:37:50
Fuck EA. Fuck Vivendi.

Fuck the South!

Dood.
#2 by Euri
2004-11-16 02:44:15
yolora@attbi.com http://www.eurikins.com
Jesus christ must we talk about this EVERYWHERE

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.
#3 by jjohnsen
2004-11-16 02:46:48
http://www.johnsenclan.com
In 7 hours all will be well Euri.

Actually, the liberalism of the media - as a general thing - IS a major fallacy. What the media is, is a whore.  -LP
#4 by jjohnsen
2004-11-16 02:48:25
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Well 11 hours for me.  I don't know if this body can make it that late.

Actually, the liberalism of the media - as a general thing - IS a major fallacy. What the media is, is a whore.  -LP
#5 by TheTrunkDr.
2004-11-16 02:51:00
"EA is not having a problem getting people to work for them if needed. If you can't handle it, quit."
"It's like this in all game companies, get over it."

And the most ludicrous statement that I've seen so far:

"They are a business in it to make money. I love EA because people hate them for wanting to run a good business. If all these EA haters had the industry their way, we wouldn't have any more games, because all of the development and production companies would be bankrupt."

People who say this are idiots! They're probably 13 years old and don't have a clue what it is to work even a 40 hour week let alone a 60 or 80 even if it's compensated it sucks ASS!!! The games industry is a rackette when it comes to compensating employees. It's wrong and the industry deserves to be smacked around for it! Hopefully something good will come of it!

I kid cause I care.
#6 by Qmanol
2004-11-16 03:10:49
People who say this are idiots! They're probably 13 years old and don't have a clue what it is to work even a 40 hour week let alone a 60 or 80 even if it's compensated it sucks ASS!!! The games industry is a rackette when it comes to compensating employees. It's wrong and the industry deserves to be smacked around for it! Hopefully something good will come of it!


Either that, or they're future PHBs. Why do we seem to be so bereft of good management in general?

"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining or testing your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live."
#7 by G-Man
2004-11-16 03:26:48
I'm staying out of this one because it will just lead to bad things.
#8 by Dumdeedum
2004-11-16 03:32:48
http://www.dumdeedum.com
Don't be a tease, the topic's gonna die unless you get everyone riled up.

#9 by Your Friend
2004-11-16 03:40:30
The game industry is ridiculous, but as long as the world keeps generating new fresh-out-of-college meat for the grinder, they'll be able to get away with this sort of stuff.

This is why I don't currently work in the game industry (other than Mischief Entertainment).  Making games is fun, but not *that* fun.  I'd rather make six figures while working with similar technology and working 40 hours a week, which gives me enough free time to work on my own game company on the side (which doesn't compete with my day job, so no problems like Warren's).  Best of both worlds.

Comment Signature.
#10 by LPMiller
2004-11-16 04:02:35
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
News flash: Non game companies have crunchtimes too. Sometimes they are even worse.

When LP says he's bringing Armageddon, he brings fucking Armageddon. - Caryn, 6/01/2004
#11 by Mank
2004-11-16 04:02:37
It all comes down to management I guess. Of all the people I know who work in the industry, not a single one of them have had anything bad to say about their respective companies. Sounds like this is just a sign of the Publisher being overly involved with the developement process; The oil and water principle.

The PC game market seems to be repeating the same history that befell the commodore market not too long ago and, hopefully, platforms such as Steam will provide a cure for most of the ills that it faces. If history shows us anything, it's that the middleman is always the one who fucks things up for everybody.

hiatus <--overrated
#12 by Trunks
2004-11-16 04:39:23
Kotaku has a discussion with one of the attorneys representing the people filing against EA. It has some interesting details, with speculation that if the judgment is in favor of the employees it will likely force the entire game industry (at least in California) to start paying OT and/or Comp time to certain positions.

This of course brings up a different question...would companies simply move their business out of California to avoid this?

#13 by Trunks
2004-11-16 04:42:29
News flash: Non game companies have crunchtimes too. Sometimes they are even worse.


This isn't about crunch times, it's about perpetual crunching with little to no compensation for it.

Some people have said that the people who end up working for places like EA should do more research before they take the job and ask for a much higher salary to compensate for all those hours. I'm not sure how feasible that would be really, and I'll leave it to someone more qualified on the matter to discuss.

#14 by Your Friend
2004-11-16 04:45:04

News flash: Non game companies have crunchtimes too. Sometimes they are even worse.


Across a lot of the gaming industry, the type of working conditions we are talking about here aren't (in any realistic sense of the word) "crunchtimes" anymore, but rather the norm.  Classic case of pushing something too far, getting away with it and pushing it further yet.  I know of more than a few game projects that have been in these "crunchtime" modes for a year or more, which is something that is pretty damn rare outside of the game industry.


Sounds like this is just a sign of the Publisher being overly involved with the developement process; The oil and water principle.


The days of there being a real difference between publisher and developer in the game industry are just about at an end.   Big publishers have gobbled up virtually all of the development houses.  While developers are obviously free to go start their own studios apart from the big publishers, not too many are financially independent enough that they can finance their own games anywhere near the budgets that get thrown at big-publisher-funded games.  

Unfortunately, game development is buckling under its own weight.  It costs a fuckton of money to make an AAA title.  Only big publishers have access to that amount of money.  The Steam model doesn't solve the financing problem, and as such is only useful for the very small minority of Valve-like cases where you have a development studio founded by someone who is filthy rich and can afford to bankroll their own development.   The financing issue is a much larger problem than the distribution issue, and Steam doesn't do dick for it.

Comment Signature.
#15 by gaggle
2004-11-16 04:45:19
I don't know if this is still relevant. Pulled it off of Penny-Arcade's frontpage. It's a bit of a whiny entry, but ehh, his core points are worth taking note of.

To be, turn to page 73 - from choose your own adventure Hamlet
#16 by Your Friend
2004-11-16 04:50:43

This of course brings up a different question...would companies simply move their business out of California to avoid this?


It would be interesting to see if they did.  It would cost them a fortune to move out of California (moving costs, legal fees, dealing with all the employee loses from people who don't want to relocate with the company, etc), and if they stay within the US there's no guarantee the problem will be solved, because the state they move to could be the one in which the next lawsuit is filed and won... and then what, move again?

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#17 by lwf
2004-11-16 04:53:26
YAWN.

It's a great place to meet girls!
#18 by Shadarr
2004-11-16 05:00:01
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
I don't know if this is still relevant. Pulled it off of Penny-Arcade's frontpage. It's a bit of a whiny entry, but ehh, his core points are worth taking note of.

Very interesting story.  Just goes to show, demanding more money doesn't solve everything.

EA deserves to go out of business.  Forget the human factor, their management practices are just plain bad for the product.

UAC! Fuck yeah!
#19 by m0nty
2004-11-16 05:26:00
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
So how about that Half-Life 2, eh?
#20 by BobJustBob
2004-11-16 05:27:33
I heard it's a disappointment of Halo 2 proportions. Gamespot gave it a measly 9.2, which is merely 1.0 greater than that suck-fest, Deus Ex.

Dood.
#21 by LPMiller
2004-11-16 05:37:50
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
I know of more than a few game projects that have been in these "crunchtime" modes for a year or more, which is something that is pretty damn rare outside of the game industry.


No, it's not, is my point. I've been on those projects, trust me. The one that broke my back was a 6 month project that lasted 2 years to production, and each week was 'critical' and every programmer working 60 + hours till they all pretty much dropped dead. And the further the project went along, the more they laid off, so that crunch never let up, like it was some sort of scoring system to keep programmers running x amount of hours. What, they only worked 50 hours that week? Time to lay one off.

The 'programming industry' if you will, sucks in general. Because unless you are a programmer, or in my case, worked with them in a partnership role, you think of it as some sort of magic where they wave their fingers and boom, you have an app. Or they think of it as not really 'skilled' labor. The common belief of management is that you are lazy and replaceable.

So you find that programmers in the 'real' world can be treated just as much like shit as the gaming world. I really hope EA loses this suit, because Californa isn't the only place not enforcing the laws when it comes to it.

When LP says he's bringing Armageddon, he brings fucking Armageddon. - Caryn, 6/01/2004
#22 by Your Friend
2004-11-16 05:42:10
Woohoo! HL2 unlocked on Steam!!! OFF TO PLAY!!!

Comment Signature.
#23 by "Lurkmaster"
2004-11-16 05:50:27
Oh shit, it really is unlocked!!! AWESOME!!!
#24 by Penguinx
2004-11-16 05:59:11
Since this thread is dead for multiple reasons, it's appropriate to announce to the UACers, "Comic posted to wiki, goat-fuckers."

#25 by m0nty
2004-11-16 05:59:12
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Mr Nutty, your attempt to thrust your name in front of the TOTY judges is rather lame.
#26 by Lurker
2004-11-16 06:01:42
#22 YF(24.25.219.75):
Woohoo! HL2 unlocked on Steam!!! OFF TO PLAY!!!


#23 "Lurkmaster"(24.25.219.75):
Oh shit, it really is unlocked!!! AWESOME!!!


Bastard, almost got me.
#27 by Your Friend
2004-11-16 06:07:08

Mr Nutty, your attempt to thrust your name in front of the TOTY judges is rather lame.


Just funnin' you, dawg.  

Joker's got a lock on TOTY after that Bush Cock thread.

Comment Signature.
#28 by Dan
2004-11-16 06:30:56
dan@froglord.com
Heh.  Rudyard Kindling.  Nice.
#29 by Trunks
2004-11-16 06:55:47
LPMiller, this lawsuit doesn't seem to involve programmers at all. From the Gamespot news article:

The lawsuit alleges that EA improperly classified some of its employees, including 'animators,' 'modelers,' 'texture artists,' 'lighters,' 'background effects artists,' and 'environmental artists' as exempt from overtime, and therefore failed to pay those employees overtime compensation. Plaintiff's action seeks statutory penalties, damages, restitution, and injunctive relief.

I know that some game companies see these positions as non-exempt, whereas EA doesn't.

#30 by Sgt Hulka
2004-11-16 08:42:20
My Friend "The game industry is ridiculous, but as long as the world keeps generating new fresh-out-of-college meat for the grinder, they'll be able to get away with this sort of stuff."



Yes, but it's not just the game companies doing this.  I would say of all the large companies I've ever worked at or for, I'd say close to 100% of them do the same thing whether they're a publisher, a radio station, a pizza delivery chain, etc..  

We live in a fallen world.

Living in the rat race smoking rat weed
#31 by Leslie Nassar
2004-11-16 08:58:03
http://departmentofinternets.com
CRUNCH TIME!

My favorite band sucks.
#32 by Comothinon
2004-11-16 09:44:00
Mmmm... Corn Flakes. Crunchy.

Apparently, it's all the rage right now to link to really crap sites, so I figure when in Rome...
#33 by Mank
2004-11-16 09:52:38
YF in #14
While developers are obviously free to go start their own studios apart from the big publishers, not too many are financially independent enough that they can finance their own games anywhere near the budgets that get thrown at big-publisher-funded games.


and
Unfortunately, game development is buckling under its own weight.  It costs a fuckton of money to make an AAA title.


Which is exactly why I brought up the situation with the commodore. Take a brief look back at all of the publishers that were up and running during the commodore/apple/tandy days, and see how many are alive today. When the market dried up and died the publishers closed up shop a lot richer than when they had opened, leaving large volumes of stock sitting on store shelves with retailers being stuck with games they couldnt sell. Retailers today arent about to get schnookered in again like they did back in those days, and it's the same reason most have migrated to the preorder model along with a much smaller PC games section. It's obvious they see something coming.

As long as developers keep steppin and fetchin to the whims of those with money(publishers in this case) PC gaming is going to be dead a whole lot sooner than either of us care to admit. Back to the garages and studio apartments and back to people actually making games who actually LIKE making the games that they themselves would want to play. Maybe Steam(or a successor) will actually facilitate a PC market crash where games are concerned at the retail POS level. Those who arise from the ashes will probably be those who were there from the beginning I'd be willing to bet.

hiatus <--overrated
#34 by Leslie Nassar
2004-11-16 10:17:19
http://departmentofinternets.com
i, for one, welcome the imminent death of PC gaming.  is there a hospice i can firebomb to expediate the process?

My favorite band sucks.
#35 by Ashiran
2004-11-16 10:22:20
If I am ever to make a game I'm most certainly going to have it released through TotalGaming or something similar.

Furthermore, I predict that PC gaming will survive but we will see just the small easy games nobody is willing to buy for a console. So no major big AAA titles anymore.

Nihil nequeo.
#36 by Squeaky
2004-11-16 10:23:32
Half Life 2 has singlehandely pulled PC gaming from the brink of death.

"Halo 2 is a lot like Halo 1, only it's Halo 1 on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas ... And, the ninjas are all on fire, too."
I'm catching up to Ergo!
#37 by E-ph0nk
2004-11-16 11:26:53
http://www.electrophonk.be
Wasn't "Gathering of Developers" some sort of publisher formed by independent devs?

#38 by Mank
2004-11-16 13:45:51
Yes, but it was(is?) also linked with titles such as Heavy Metal FAKK 2...heh

hiatus <--overrated
#39 by Mank
2004-11-16 13:50:26
Half Life 2 has singlehandely pulled PC gaming from the brink of death.


Yes, and let's not forget the mods either. And TF2 has to be somewhere close around the corner by now...maybe?...hopefully?

Gabe's driving this bus.

hiatus <--overrated
#40 by Jibble
2004-11-16 13:59:19
New UAC.

I swear to god, if you fuckers don't learn how to link I'm going to destroy you all.
#41 by Gunp01nt
2004-11-16 14:00:28
supersimon33@hotmail.com
* applause *

Would you like to supersize or... BURN FOR ETERNITY?
#42 by ProStyle
2004-11-16 14:36:10
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
And TF2 has to be somewhere close around the corner by now...maybe?...hopefully?

Yeah, I remember when that was going to be a Quake2 mod... sigh. Then a Half Life mod... then... bought by the man and locked away. I do look forward to it though, probably more than HL2. I've certainly been waiting for it since QW went up... I stopped playing after netquake died.

Fabricated like the word absurditive
#43 by ProStyle
2004-11-16 17:26:59
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
Reading through that Gamespot article the other day I found this to be the most interesting quote from Gabe.


"Any developer who bitches about, 'Oh, our publisher cut off our money,' or, 'The publisher made us ship the game early,' doesn't get it," he says. "That's the interesting problem you have to solve as a developer. If you don't, well, you'll be perpetually screwed." But how do you solve the problem? Newell cites the development of Counter-Strike, where a young college kid in Vancouver made a Half-Life add-on, as a prime example. "You bootstrap," Newell suggests. "The Counter-Strike guys didn't have some sugar daddy show up and drop a huge wad of cash in their lap. You have to be creative."


Right... be creative so... we can buy you... TF... CS... DOD... really, give me a break. Hearing this from the guy who brought three of the most popular quakeish-engine mods under his wing is a joke.

Fabricated like the word absurditive
#44 by Marsh Davies
2004-11-16 17:27:27
www.verbalchilli.com
Half Life 2 has singlehandely pulled PC gaming from the brink of death.

I concur.

#45 by yotsuya
2004-11-16 17:31:20
Which is exactly why I brought up the situation with the commodore.

For some reason, I immediately thought of Popeye when I read this.

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes"
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#46 by Squeaky
2004-11-16 17:34:17
#43 ProStyle
Right... be creative so... we can buy you... TF... CS... DOD... really, give me a break. Hearing this from the guy who brought three of the most popular quakeish-engine mods under his wing is a joke.

I'm sorry, but what?


These people did something very creative and were greatly rewarded for their efforts. Where's the problem?

"Halo 2 is a lot like Halo 1, only it's Halo 1 on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas ... And, the ninjas are all on fire, too."
I'm catching up to Ergo!
#47 by yotsuya
2004-11-16 17:47:54
Oh my God! I owe my life to you, Dave!

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes"
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#48 by yotsuya
2004-11-16 17:48:30
AND HE'S 50? Oh my God.

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes"
I wear my sunglasses at night.
#49 by TheTrunkDr.
2004-11-16 18:06:04
These people did something very creative and were greatly rewarded for their efforts. Where's the problem?

No problem, but developing something like this as a hobby and running are business are two seperate things. The guy Pro is talking about is an idiot because a business can't pay it's employees or it's other expenses if it doesn't have any money, and few employees will stick around for months with no pay. It's an apples and oranges situation.

I kid cause I care.
#50 by ProStyle
2004-11-16 18:06:58
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
#46 by Squeaky
Squeaky, once again you totally missed the point of my post.
There is no problem with their efforts, in fact I love all three of those mods and spent more time involved with them than any other high budget title. The thing I found ridiculous was Gabe making the stretch and comparing the creative direction and flexibility of high profile companies to that of the underdog/2 man team who has nothing to lose. That's a silly comparison to make, no matter how much you can compare the end result of each (mod vs high budget title) in terms of player base and chronic affluence. The fact that he's saying companies need to "bootstrap" and "be creative" is laughable, considering all vALVE did to extend the lifetime of HL was buy up the popular mods and box them retail and pay another developer to make a few expansions.

Fabricated like the word absurditive
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