Excitable Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter - who is allowed to comment on the games industry for some reason - has been talking about crunch time at development studios. Here's what he said (via Industry Gamers): "The cool thing about this industry is, if you’re good, you’ll make a ton of money. I just don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for people who say ‘I worked for such-and-such, and I didn’t get paid, and that’s not fair’. If you want to be an hourly employee, go build automobiles, and what will happen is they’ll close down your autoplant some day and you’ll be out of work."
Unwisely, Pachter continued: “I think there’s a legitimate complaint if crunch time is never-ending. Crunch should be the last three to six months of game development.” So IF you are trapped in some kind of Greek allegory where you are forced to crunch game dev for all eternity, then you are allowed to complain. But to who? Hades himself, probably. But he won't care, he's from my Dad's generation, and therefore too old to understand videogames.
It's best to imagine that if you work in game development, then you've won a fantastic prize. If you don't get paid for overtime that's fine, because you're in Disneyland!
Pachter also attacked the idea of unions within game development, saying that people who earn a lot of money don't need any protection, apparently because money provides them with a cloak of impenetrable entitlement: “I think unions are in business to protect workers from, I think, dangerous working conditions and unfair labor practices. Sweatshops should have unions but games studios, which tend to pay people a lot of money, shouldn’t. I just don’t think people who make over $100,000 a year need a whole lot of protection cause they might have to work overtime.”
There aren't any people who make less than $100k a year in the games industry, incidentally. They are all so rich. It's great.
Pachter's opinions drew plenty of discussion from developers, including Size Five Games' Dan Marshall, who commented: "Actually I think he's right. If you lot in The Games Industry just pulled your fingers out and worked a bit harder ALL games could be 9/10. Look at LA Noire! If you lot in The Games Industry just stopped whinging so much and worked more hours, ALL games could be like LA Noire."
Which is a fair point to make, I think. Anyway, I'm off to play Sweatshop, why don't you join me?