"EA Spouse" and the Crisis of Video Game Labour: Enjoyment, Exclusion, Exploitation, and Exodus
Canadian Journal of Communication
The blog postings of “EA Spouse,” partner of an exhausted video game programmer, have catalyzed discussion of epidemic overwork in the digital play industry. This paper analyzes the crisis of labour in this glamorous new medium. After a brief overview of the industry and its production process, we discuss its labour conditions under four headings. “Enjoyment” examines the real pleasures game workers find at their jobs. “Exclusion” discusses the gendering of game work. “Exploitation” investigates the corporate processes that drive toward a work culture of extreme hours and the consequences game workers suffer. “Exodus” looks at current attempts by workers to escape this predicament — attempts including legal action, educational efforts, entrepreneurial flight, and union organizing.