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Why you don't want to work for EA
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Why you don’t want to work for Electronic Arts.

I read the article, read the responses, and I can still hardly believe it’s so bad. I know people who work in game and software development, so I’ve heard the stories and seen the effects of “crunch time” when the product is reaching deadline... but what people are reporting from inside EA is ridiculous.

When I was first in college I was aiming for a degree in computer science, and possibly a future working in game development. With an amazing ease, I got an tour of EA Canada’s campus, one-on-one, with one of the heads of project management. I wondered at the time how I so easily got that, but I can see now that such specialised treatment is part of their cost of business—sweet-talking naïve college kids is cheaper by far than treating their existing developers well enough that they’ll last for more than one or two projects.

I used to wonder how EA, such a huge developer with massive resources, could produce such buggy and lack-luster titles that are essentially yearly remakes of the same old game. You’d think they’d have figured out how to program a hockey game by now, even if they have to do it from scratch. I suppose the bugs aren’t so surprising when you demand that developers work overtime for the entire length of the project, and the inability to design anything new, let alone get the hang of programming the same damned game every year, would very simply arise from the half-life of your workforce being a single project.

This kind of managerial stupidity (denying workers compensation, demanding longer hours, downloading work-overload to the employees with the message that “you can do it!”) was the main reason I left my last job. What I can’t understand is how these practices make any kind of sense. Yes, the company gets to pay its employees less, and get more hours of work for their investment. However, they also lose all sorts of efficiencies due to error: when a $5000 instrument needed for a plane scheduled to leave ASAP is damaged because the employee wasn’t trained how to handle it; when the repair of the fuselage is delayed an entire day (at multiple thousands of dollars a day) because someone forgot to get the repair instructions for a piece of it to the right people; when an engine cowl is damaged for tens of thousands of dollars in repairs because ten seconds weren’t taken for the inspection of a spring; you have a problem. A company can lose millions of dollars in productivity by mistakenly trying to squeeze as much productivity out of their employees as possible.

It’s downright stupid.

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Unfortunately that report is all too true. And has been even from when I was there. It's like it's just expected that games programmers are so socially stupid that they *WILL* kill themselves for the good of the company, with no compensation other than their name on the game and a free copy. Been there, done that, never *EVER* f'g want to do it again.

I thought Hubby's workplace was bad, and the non-game software places that I've worked at, but no -- this takes the cake.

Overtime is reality in any segment of the software industry, but permanent 220% weeks with no compensation is beyond absurd.

The worst thing about this is that I keep hearing from people who have worked at EA and people who have (lost) friends and family at EA that it's not a hoax -- it's all true. I just can't even fathom it.

There's a reason 'not a games software guy' is on my list of criteria for dating. I mean, even Juggler's said he'll probably be working late/weekends 'for the next four months' minus two weeks, where late often approaches midnight. If people accept the hours and the job, though, nothing's gonna change.

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