A Big Union Wants to Make Videogame Workers’ Lives More Sane

“We were working 100-hour weeks,” Rockstar Games cofounder Dan Houser said ahead of the 2018 release of Red Dead Redemption 2. As fans prepared to play the long-anticipated action Western game, Rockstar employees were still reeling from “crunch”—the industry’s widespread practice of working excruciating, sometimes mandatory, overtime hours ahead of a game’s launch.In just the…

A Big Union Wants to Make Videogame Workers’ Lives More Sane

“We were working 100-hour weeks,” Rockstar Games cofounder Dan Houser said ahead of the 2018 release of Red Dead Redemption 2. As fans prepared to play the long-anticipated action Western game, Rockstar employees were still reeling from “crunch”—the industry’s widespread practice of working excruciating, sometimes mandatory, overtime hours ahead of a game’s launch.In just the last year, employees at gaming’s most lauded companies—Epic Games, BioWare, and Activision Blizzard—have detailed harrowing stories of being overworked or suddenly laid off en masse. The turnover rate in the games industry is around 15.5 percent, according to LinkedIn, higher than in any other tech sphere. Talk of unionization is catching wind among workers in an industry built off childhood dreams. As of Tuesday, one of America’s biggest unions, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), is throwing its weight behind those efforts.“Companies in the technology and game industries have gotten away with avoiding accountability for far too long,” CWA president Chris Shelton said in a press release. “Workers in these industries are exposing the reality behind the rhetoric. This initiative will help tech and game workers reach the next level in their efforts to exercise their right to join together and demand change.”CWA on Tuesday announced its move to help unionize workers at gaming and tech companies, dubbed the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, or C
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