sure there is – the economics.
Like all entertaiment industries, games are very, very competitive and increasingly so.[/quote:e2589b7b20]
Yes, the economics of the situation is definitely worth thinking about
Even from a simple supply and demand point of view; there’s a lot of people who want in to the games industry, a large supply of potential employees, if you will, and this drives wages and working conditions down.
This is arguably analogous to modern day sweat shops, or industrial revolution coal mining conditions – when you have so many people wanting so few jobs, employers can get away with treating them worse.
A pattern that sometimes has been used to combat this situation in the past is to unionise – but this doesn’t seem to be happening much in the games industry. I am not sure why not, as some of other entertainment fields being cited here (eg movies) are comparitively highly unionised.
As it stands, some companies in the industry have highly lucrative business models, making substatial profits while rewarding employees minimally. And the employees continue to put up with it while they are young and naive, then leave to get a better job – at least this is a picture painted by many sources.
People are willing to make sacrifices to do what they love, but you’d think developers would be smart enough to realise that by individually competing so hard with each other, and being willing to accept any conditions to get the job they want, they are hurting the group as a whole.
Other groups of employees, often with less education, have realised this in the past.
I think Idora is right – this industry needs good producers.
But I’d like to add that perhaps what we really need is veteran developers with Business sense.
Something that could be achieved if certain companies (that make the headlines a lot) (i.e. EA) were to start running partially-funded\fully-funded training schemes for veteran developers and potential managers that will send these people back into College on a part-time basis to give them the proper up-to-date, industry-standard Managerial training they will need to set & make realistic deadlines. [/quote:e2589b7b20]
I actually amn’t sure how it would be in EA’s interest to do this, as they seem to do very well out of their current model. More educated, vetern, expensive developers might mean less profit.
There is one other side to it though… re: the quote above re: developers and bad estimates – many of these bad practices have simply become entreched in the industry over years and years of mis-management, i.e. developers stepping up to manage teams and projects when they have no training or experience in the area. This legacy still affects the industry today, although it has been changing over the past 5/6 years [/quote:e2589b7b20]
This situation also exists within the larger software industry, and yet there are considerably less problems there than in games.
Many of the problems are from clueless mismanagement of developers. But also some are from a calculated desire to squeeze more from the given allocation of developers, to meet business goals, a problem which can only exist because of the situation games developers created for themselves by being willing to work bad conditions…
I think this is in line with what Idora is saying here:
Getting your developers to work 10/12 hrs per day, gets an extra 10 – 20 hrs out of them per week. Shite, I know, but it does go on. [/quote:e2589b7b20]
i think alot of the problems and ive said it before is that bedroom programmers setup a company off the back of a few z80\ games and they suddenly think they can manage ppl\making games\money\pitches etc.i would say that only about 5% of these guys can actually do it successfully, they are developers at heart not managers, with no business training or previous business dealings!!!! [/quote:e2589b7b20]
Again, this happens a lot in the larger software industry, but there’s a lot less problem with overwork and exploitation there. Because it’s less of a vocation, and if you try exploit your developers, many of them will leave.
You also paint a grim picture about the management skills of techies that end up in more management roles. It should be pointed out that there are many famous counter examples to this, not least that of google.