Management and Organizational Studies Publications


Working time among video game developers: Trends over 2004-2014

Document Type


Publication Date



Gamasutra: The Art and Business of Making Games


The video game industry is an object of unrelenting criticism about its working conditions and is often accused in social media of treating its developers poorly. According to the 2014 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) survey of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), 32 percent believe that there is a negative perception of the game industry. When asked why, working conditions was the top response (68 percent), just before sexism in games (67 percent) and perceived link to violence (62 percent) (Edwards, Weststar, Meloni, Pearce & Legault, 2014). Among those engaged in core game development roles this number rises to 77 percent (Weststar & Andrei-Gedja, 2015). The labor issue of working time stands out among others that besmirch the industry’s image: discretionary rules in establishing wage levels, in appointing to projects, in attributing credits, insufficient intellectual property rules and funds for updating knowledge; lack of job security and arbitrary hiring and firing decision processes; non-disclosure and non-competition agreements that may end up in legal proceedings. Long working hours have become an inescapable feature of the industry where developers are often bound by contracts that do not include any terms and conditions of employment relating to hours of work and normal working hours or any policy regarding overtime work and compensation.