2023 was an amazing year for gamers. A huge amount of videos were launched. Some of them include the Baldur’s gate 3, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and beyond the scope of this article. Many have said it was the most successful time for games on video in more than 10 years.
But, as a number of media commentators have mentioned this year was an extremely difficult one for gamers. More than 10,000 people were thought to be laid off from the industry of video games over the past year, roughly 10 times the number of laid-off workers in 2022.
For example At Epic Games, the company behind the game that is free to play Fortnite the Chief Executive Tim Sweeney announced the layoffs of more than 800 employeeswhich is 16 percent of Epic Games’ staffin September this year. It’s a clear indication that Sweeney does not have to be the barber-in-chief in Fleet Street to make brutal cuts.
Sweeney basically admitted that poor management caused the layoffs, and explained in an email sent to employees that the layoffs neededto occur due to the fact that, “for a while now we’ve been spending far more money than we’ve earned.”
In a separate instance of top-level negligence that has hurt workers, Bungie developers of Destiny 2and the coming Marathon, cut off about 100 employees last October, after the company missed its revenue forecasts by 45 percent. It’s difficult to imagine executives of a company who make estimations that are so off from reality as anything other than the result of incompetence on the part of managers.
The year 2023 was extremely bleak for the job market, the business has been in a state of shoddy management and poor labor conditions for a lengthy period of. Layoffs that are widespread are just the latest problem to be bubbling up to the surface.
Recent years have seen an increase in media attention to an unhealthy part of the business known by the name of “crunch,” game development periods during which game developers are required to work long overtime hours, usually without receiving proper payment. In the past, certain gamers have reported 100-hour working weeks during the crunch.
Then there’s the well-known and widespread problem of harassment against women working in video games. In the last few years, female employees at a variety of video game firms have come forward with allegations of workplace harassment and violence. A number of companies have been sued and some have settled in court with millions in settlements. A former Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was accused of even threat to kill his assistant after which he claimed was an act of humour.
Discrimination based on gender has been so widespread in the field the last few years that Jason Schreier, a games journalist renowned for his work on issues of labour within the gaming industry, wrote that “for other companies that haven’t been legally identified as a result of suing, the issue isn’t “if” but “when.'”
All of this has been a burden for the makers of video games.
A survey in 2023 that included hundreds of game designers that was conducted by International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) found that less than half were in the field for more than seven years. A figure that the survey described as an illustration of the high levels of burnout that occur within the video game industry.
In the same poll, only 42.9 percent of respondents felt that being in the game business was durable over the long-term.
There have been reports that companies working in the game business are working to deal with harassment and crunch but the problems are extremely prevalent. The results of the IATSE survey listed crunch/overtime pay and safety/anti-harassment measures as the second and third most important things that need to improve within the industry, respectively, both only beaten by the need to improve pay.
The issues, as well as many layoffs that occurred this year, ultimately lie at the feet of business management. At the very least, widespread harassment, as well as unpaid or underpaid overtime can occur when people in charge are completely incompetent. Management is either ignorant or, in the worst case actively promotes and perpetuates these issues.
Instead of hoping that companies can solve these problems themselves in the video game industry, it should join forces. Although unions can’t solve all issues within a workplace however, they can make a difference by voicing their opinions to management on behalf of employees and requesting better pay and working conditions through bargaining as well as strikes.
I am I was a bit the news on the actor’s and writers strike in Hollywood in the summer of last year and the outcomes of these strikes show how organized labour and union actions can be beneficial for the workers working within the industry of entertainment. Both the actors’ and writers unions were able to secure increases in pay as well as protections for employees to their employees, which includes protections for labour against artificial intelligence, a subject which game developers are concerned regarding.
The good news is that even though there isn’t an all-encompassing union for gamers as of at present there has been a growing push for unionization in the video gaming industry in recent times. The Hollywood strikes received the support of the public that may have assisted the discussions. If players want skilled developers to remain in the game industry and create excellent games, they must be supportive of this actions in the world of video games when it happens.
While I’d love to see even more amazing games come out in the coming year, I would like to see the emergence of an active unionization and labor movements in the game industry. We hope that this type of effort will make the coming years a great time for gamers and game designers alike.