Management and Organizational Studies Publications


Working time among video game developers 2004-2014: Summary Report

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The industry is an object of unrelenting critics about its working conditions and is often accused in social media of treating its development talent poorly (for just a quick snap-shot: Acton, 2010; Handman, 2005; Hyman, 2008; Kennedy, 2007; Rockstar Spouse, 2010; Scott, 2014). According to the 2014 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) survey of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), when considering the social perceptions of the game industry, while approximately a quarter (24%) remain “neutral,” 42% believe that there is a positive perception of the industry and 32% believe there is a negative perception. In considering some of the factors that might lead to the games industry having a negative perception from the public, it is interesting to note that “working conditions” was the top response (68%), before “sexism in the games” (67%) and “perceived link to violence” (62%) (Edwards, Weststar, Meloni, Pearce & Legault, 2014). Among those engaged in core game development roles (i.e., programming, audio production, visual art, and game design), this number rises to 77% (Weststar & Andrei-Gedja, 2015). Poor working conditions have repercussions for workers, studios and the industry as a whole - for instance: stress, burn-out, work-life balance challenges, high turnover and associated attraction, retention and knowledge management challenges. Working conditions in traditional studios may also be related to the rise in self-employment and independent development in the industry. It is therefore critical to better document the working conditions of game developers and assess this as an important factor in the health of the industry.


Published by the International Game Developers Association