Crunch culture. The two words everyone in the video games industry knows all too well and constantly hope that they don’t have to be a part of. Crunch is basically the act of working ungodly hours so that a game can ship on time.
One of the most infamous perpetrators of crunch is none other than Rockstar Games. You’d think that one of the most successful game companies in the world would be able to provide its employees good working hours on top of other benefits but that’s not what game testers at Rockstar Lincoln have been getting.
Late last year, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier published an article that detailed the abusive and unhealthy practices that Rockstar was inflicting on its employees.
The article states that employees were subjected to not weeks but months and even years of crunch where some employees had to work “100-hour weeks“.
In the same article, game testers at Rockstar Lincoln had explained that they were hired on temporary contracts and were treated like robots who existed only to work for Rockstar. Some of the testers explained that they were never paid for the dozens of hours of overtime that they worked.
Fortunately, things are looking up for the testers at Rockstar Lincoln. A new article from Kotaku reports that game testers at the establishment are being converted into full-time employees. The changes were apparently in effect starting from 1 August 2019.
Past rules such as not being allowed to have their phones at their desks have been rescinded and the company is also experimenting with “flex-time” which will allow workers to have a bit of freedom in shifting their assigned work hours.
No doubt all these changes have been made thanks to the efforts of journalists at Kotaku and other outlets who have unraveled the abusive practices happening in Rockstar Games as a whole.
Perhaps it’s all only a “Okay we did it, happy now?” media move by Rockstar but it’s still an improvement nonetheless. We’ve seen more and more dirt being dug up in recent years concerning how badly video game developers are treated and it’s good to see changes are being made.
If you’re in the mood to watch an informative episode on how bad things in are in the video games industry, you can also check out the latest episode of Hassan Minhaj’s Patriot Act.