Game development is becoming a genuine career path in South Africa, with many tertiary institutions now providing the option of entering the industry.
There are some down sides however, as long working hours have become standard in the gaming industry and developers are bound into contracts that don’t provide for any normal hours of work or overtime pay.
Recently, several academics analysed decades worth of survey data to get a picture of just how hard game developers actually work. Looking specifically at the Quality of Life surveys filled out by respondents in 2004, 2009, and 2014, the researchers found that:
According to the 2014 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) survey of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), 32% believe that there is a negative perception of the game industry.
When asked why, working conditions was the top response (68%), just before sexism in games (67%) and perceived link to violence (62%).
Below are the graphs representing hours worked each week over the three time periods:
These graphs only represent the average weekly work hours but do not account for any “crunch time” periods – days, weeks or sometimes months where developers are expected to work longer shifts.
Crunch time is a threefold problem, as workers can be asked to add hours to the regular weekly working hours, extend this practice over a few weeks or a few months, and repeatedly engage in discrete periods of crunch over a certain time period.
Below is a graph representing how “crunch time” effects working hours:
The study regarding the demands of the modern-day game developer can be found here.
How do the above hours compare to your average work week?