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NYTimes OpEd: Video Games are Destroying the People Who Make Them

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In a NY Times op-ed yesterday, Jason Schreier tackles the long-standing problem of crunch in the games industry and the toll it takes on developers' lives.


Among video game developers, it's called "crunch": a sudden spike in work hours, as many as 20 a day, that can last for days or weeks on end. During this time, they sleep at work, limit bathroom breaks and cut out anything that pulls their attention away from their screens, including family and even food. Crunch makes the industry roll - but it's taking a serious toll on its workers.

Schreier provides several anecdotes from developers across the industry - including emergency room visits, memory loss, and being unable to walk - and cites a 2016 survey from the IGDA where "crunch" was considered the norm in the industry.

Read more of the op-ed here.

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It's not unique to the games industry, sadly. I was part of a consumer product launch where the crunch lasted for months. Folks were catching an hour's sleep at a time on bean bags in the office. It wasn't uncommon to get home at 1am, and be back in the office for an 8am start. One poor fellow was sent across the country ostensibly for a week, and wasn't able to return home until the project shipped, 6 weeks later...

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