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This topic contains 18 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Steph 12 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #4111

    Ronny
    Participant

    You may have seen on the news that the EU are to scrap the choice for workers to put in more than 48 hours a week. Will this mean an end to crunch time?

    I know that most game dev companies don’t pay overtime, so will they have their staff just continue to work for free as they do now?

    Really tired so I won’t go into any detail about it. Just interested to see how it will affect us.

    Couldn’t find a decent link that gives an Irish perspective. Here’s what the BBC have to say though:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4535815.stm

    Thanks!

  • #21019

    Steph
    Participant

    Enforcement is the issue, not statutory regulations themselves. And, importantly, the cultural mindset of a particular population/group within the EU. And let’s not forget the actual job/responsibilities attached to it – viewed (rather) simply, the bigger the job/responsibilities/skills, the bigger the pay, the longer the hours.

    I could go on about how this is going to be a strict reality in France (because employees will give their respective companies no choice but to conform, else strike – it’s a French mindset thing, trust me on this :cry: ) but not in the UK in a million years (because the average Brit is twice the grafter the average French is, and employment law/statutes/enforcement of same is so much more lax in the UK), but facts will speak for themselves on this one.

  • #21020

    aphra
    Keymaster

    also a number of industry bodies in the UK games industry have been lobbying against these laws saying they will make the UK games industry less competitive..I know of at least a couple who were looking to get a UK derogation…not sure what happened there but they were certainly lobbying against it..

    as for the Republic…the usual strategy is to ignore such things….unless the unions say something…unions, in the games industry??

    Aphra.

  • #21021

    Steph
    Participant

    The competitivity issue is -for a change- a valid argument, in respect of any type of software development (not just games), as portions of a project could be (and increasingly are) outsourced to teams located outside the EU, and its work practices’ Directives. The proportion in which such outsourcing depends on business models (cheaper development) or overcoming local legislation, I’m not so sure about, but with one imapcting the other directly, it’s but a small leap to make.
    I’ve certainly already seen plenty of such decentralized developing in the industry, and other media creation software development companies in the UK, the US and Canada (you wouldn’t believe how decentralized Discreet is).

  • #21022

    fitch
    Participant

    i’m wondering how the hell they could enforce this .

    if i want to work, to earn extra money i will. there is no way Europe is going to stop me LOL

    Especially in Ireland, where the cost of living is probably twice that of France/Germany and Spain.. I need my loads of work/jobs/ overtime hours and actually love doing them.

    Motivation is a key word here i think too. If the workforce is being motivated by the carrot dangled or are a motivated force because of the quality of the work how the hell can anyone put a stop to that.

    excellence is acheived through motivation and motivation very rarely has 9 to 5 hours

  • #21024

    Steph
    Participant

    But you’re your own boss, whereas the EU legislation is mostly directed at employed workforce (and more the minimum wage lot than the professional/highly-skilled lot, at that).

    I’d venture that this is an anti-exploitation measure more than anything else… At the end of the day (if it gets to that), motivated people will take a second or even a third job, ensuring they do no more than the enforceable maximum in each one.

    And clever studios will open a subsidiary and have ‘double employees’ doing 48 for one and 48 for the other …erm… well, 39 for one and 39 for the other kinda thing :wink:

  • #21027

    omen
    Participant

    I guess for people like us who work extra hours without pay, if the practice continues, you’d make a complaint to some government agency about work paractices at your company and some sort of investigation would commence. Enforcement on people who actually want to work extra is not really possible is it.

  • #21032

    Darksaviour69
    Participant

    but there is a small point that everyone seems to be missing (i might be wrong but) i think that the hours per week are an average over 6 months or 12 months… so crunch is still possiable

  • #21033

    omen
    Participant

    But you’ll be forced to take extra holidays to bring down the average :)

  • #21034

    Darksaviour69
    Participant

    dam holidays…. when will they learn!

  • #21054

    Idora
    Participant

    currently, you won’t be forced to do anything… it’s a Directive, not law

  • #21056

    Steph
    Participant

    If a Directive has issued (and is not just still being debated at the 1st or 2nd reading stage), it’s as good as and only a matter of time until it turns into Law.

  • #21073

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Hi guys,

    It’s hard to see why game developers should be treated any differently from any other employees within the larger software industry. The revelations last year about EA [url:http://www.gamesindustry.biz/feature.php?aid=6013%5DGI.biz's roundup of the matter aren’t a surprise at all, and it is true that game development is going through a massive transition at the moment. It is these practices that are making senior, experienced talent to leave the industry every year because it is an industry that is not one of the most employee friendly in the world. Part of the problem is that when (not if) these 48 hour working weeks are brought into law, it will be the game developers who have not adapted into advance, and the publishers that continue to expect game developers to work 80 hour weeks that will sooner or later be brought to court in Europe.

    If it gets to this stage, there will be a ripple effect once the precedent is set and it is going to be a troublesome time for the industry. The attitudes will need a complete overhaul, and it’s not as if anyone has a problem doing a 48 hour week and having time outside of work to go to the pub, actually see the other half (I understand there are both good and bad parts to this ability) and generally have a ‘normal’ working life in the games industry.

    I’m finished my degree now, which is primarily a management degree. Then workplace environment in the 21st century has changed so radically that there are a number of big changes that are going to be adopted if they are not already adopted already. Work is not seen by people as it was the same way fifteen years ago, when it was a case of getting a job or having to emigrate to the US, the UK or Australia in order to maintain a standard of life. It’s seen as part of the overall trend towards people living a modern life. This currently includes home working, flexitime, job sharing etc. This is going to continue and best practice within the industry is pointing the way forward to a fundamental shift in mindset in how employees within companies are seen to be viewed.

    Simply put, the way things are going are all positive for the worker, because they will be doing a job within the protections that are afforded to them by law, which apply to every other company. This will lead to a considerable consolidation (as we have been seeing over the last few years) because of the technological costs involved in development for this generation of consoles.

    Companies (new and old, so there’s plenty of room for more if you’re contemplating setting one up) who offer these better of standards of working and employee practices will simply attract the best talent from the ones who don’t. New publishers will emerge to take on EA simply by targeting the game player a different way, and this is especially notable considering how many really, genuinely good ideas are being ditched on a regular basis. Not every game that is made is good, but there are large markets out there for the games that aren’t the most cutting edge, brand new games.

    I’m fed up of seeing the latest new FPS with one and a half new features and to be honest I have gone off the genre. I love Half Life 2, but it’s got a few new features but didn’t live up to what I expected it to be. I do admire Kapooki’s work on their circus title because there is a market out there for them to do really well with it once they can figure out where to target their marketing.

    When the directive eventually becomes law, Ireland is perfectly positioned to compete in the post-transition games industry. And I think that our one key critical factor is that we haven’t had a games industry before. We are really in a position to establish ourselves on the game development map.

    I’ve heard to many people at the shindigs thinking that the Irish game development industry is a charity case, people willing to work for next to nothing (peanuts, pittance, free) in order to get into this industry. The IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI have done a truly brilliant job in seeing that the Irish games industry is a huge growth area. For them, it creates exports and jobs, and for us it gives everyone who has wanted to get into games as a career a viable one. If you are a graduate with a good degree, or you don’t have a degree but have practical experience for a year or two, you are worth something to game developers. There is a tiny pool of qualified game developers working in this country. But it’s not as if that is a problem any more.

    Studios that are going to be attracted to Ireland will know and understand exactly what the job market in Ireland will be like. They will be happy to bring on inexperienced graduates into game development positions because they will have the people there to help train the skills the graduates need on-the-job. They will locate in Ireland where they can get the cheapest cost-base. Colleges that offer good courses giving specialist knowledge on the skills that the industry need will have game developers locating nearby because it is close to a source of qualified work.

    The next few years are going to see a lot of Irish game developers coming back, and they will bring their skills and experience with them. And for those starting out, once the skills are there, what is important is enthusiasm and creativity. This country is a completely untapped resource.

    I know I may sound overly enthusiastic about all of this, but I’m looking at the bigger picture. In the last ten years, gaming has moved out of being mainly console and PC. There are a few, main publishers who are currently focused on gobbling up each other trying to snatch IP, skills and so on. There are a few main console manufacturers producing video games, but the PC/Mobile/Handheld/Web games industries will become very viable industries for a lot of people. This is simply a result of the fact that the gaming market has grown so much that there is now $30 billion or so to be made, and this is ONLY going to get bigger. Gaming is a part of mainstream culture now.

    Ronny, all the EU regulations that are being brought in in relation to work are there because European culture at large is changing, and because there are so many different needs and requirements. A 48 hour week allows you to have an income that will meet your needs and give you a bit of leftover cash, but a 48 hour week will also give you the chance to get a good nights sleep, and be able to enjoy yourself in your spare time.

    It’s going to be good, and I have no qualms whatsoever about saying this. And for those of you who are thinking of ideas for a game, stop looking at what’s already there and start looking for what isn’t there. You might be surprised how many people would love to play a cattle management game, and games are not the only opportunities out there for games technology to be applied.

    Areas like engineering for example would probably love to incorporate the technology. Just think of it practically, they have big CAD drawings, they can import the information in and explore or walk around the structure to see if there are things that look good on paper but don’t look nice for someone who has to stare at it out their window every day.

    Wrapping up, I’m sorry if I have offended anyone while you have read, I am not trying to say that it’s not common knowledge or anything, but sometimes things just need to be said and when people open their minds to the opportunities are out there they’ll see the opportunities. The supports are there. Government support, investment being attracted in, colleges setting up courses now to provide the skills that the industry needs in three years time. Plus a community (ie GD.ie and the pissups/aka shindigs) that are done every month. People know each other in this industry more than they do in any other country, and people are willing to share information with people who need it.

    Now all we need to do is win the world cup >: )

    Jamie

  • #21098

    aphra
    Keymaster

    here is a brief and user friendly intro to the directive

    http://www.eubusiness.com/guides/working-time-directive

    (welcome back Jamie!)

    Aphra.

  • #21133

    Idora
    Participant

    Jamie, another solid and thoughtful post. Agree with most of it…

    I’m fed up of seeing the latest new FPS with one and a half new features and to be honest I have gone off the genre. I love Half Life 2, but it’s got a few new features but didn’t live up to what I expected it to be. I do admire Kapooki’s work on their circus title because there is a market out there for them to do really well with it once they can figure out where to target their marketing[/quote:0a85a1978b]

    Two things here… I disagree with you on HL2, specifically but I won’t go into that here – except to say that many of the features HL2 was lauded for were not necessarily glamorous (e.g. gameplay) but compatibility (e.g. keeping that great art style looking consistently great across a pretty large range of rigs). But the problems youputline with the FPS genre I do agree with and are not confined to the FPS genre, but to the RTS and the RPG genres among others also

    They will locate in Ireland where they can get the cheapest cost-base. [/quote:0a85a1978b]this is the other one I disagree with, simply because Ireland is approx. 30% cheaper than the US for game dev at present (excluding the fluctuating but huge affect of currency difference). Eastern Europe and to a growing extent Asia (India, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.) are MUCH cheaper than that again.

    So the upshot is unless you as a developer are adding value somewhere else along the line, outsourcing to Ireland is not really an option for a sustainable future in the industry

  • #21134

    Idora
    Participant

    If a Directive has issued (and is not just still being debated at the 1st or 2nd reading stage), it’s as good as and only a matter of time until it turns into Law.[/quote:ef5888d762]eh… you are aware of Ireland’s track record in implementing EU Directives, Steph, right?!

  • #21136

    Steph
    Participant

    ……………………yup :lol:

    ‘though it hasn’t got the Presidency anymore, right? So (possibly) a bit less room to ‘nudge-nudge-wink-wink Irish-implement’ as in recent years…

    Anyhow, as I’ve posted initially, it’s mostly a matter of enforcement, rather than implementation details & ramifications…and we all know how well statutes are ‘enforced’ in the ROI, right?

  • #21144

    Jamie McCormick
    Keymaster

    Hi Tony,

    A clarification on what you highlighted re: locating in Ireland, that was more to do with where in Ireland they would physically locate in relation to tax breaks available as well as access to a graduate pool, although I do know that because Ireland is so small anyway that this might not be as big an issue.

    Jamie

  • #21147

    Steph
    Participant

    Better tax breaks in Luxembourg and it’s smaller… but right on the doorstep re. Directives & (real) enforcement (prob their German genetic makeup makes them so pre-disposed to following rules & regs :wink: )

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