Alex St. John vs Everyone Who Has Actually Worked in Games

While I was working for the defunct social network, hi5, a new CEO took over, Alex St. John. He’s written this article for Venture Beat about his feelings on game developers complaining about their poor working conditions.

I won’t speak ill of his article here. Instead, this is what everyone else is saying about this article:

Steven Hansen for Destructoid:

In it, St. John hand waves away deplorable industry conditions like 80-hour work weeks with a bullshit argument: developing video games isn’t a real job. If you agree with the premise, then the industry gets away with side-stepping workers’ rights that your parents (or grandparents) fought for (like the 40-hour work week). Suddenly the labor standards held at other jobs don’t “count,” because those are real jobs, and video games are a wonderful fantasy land where some poor asshole has to spend 16 hours a day, 5 days a week over at EA modelling the taint of GoldenEye: Rogue Agent’s protagonist until it’s just right.

Jason Schreier for Kotaku:

Some have called on game developers to unionize; others argue that smart scheduling and good project management can help protect the quality of game-makers’ lives. St. John, on the other hand, says it’s all part of the fun, writing that he tells people who are unhappy with crunch to go make their own games.

“To my great shock and disappointment, they never respond to this feedback with any sort of enlightenment or gratitude for my generous attempt at setting them free – usually, I just get rage,” he writes, in a paragraph that might read like satire if it weren’t written with such candor.

Actual game developer, Rami Ismail from Vlambeer:

Don’t listen to this person. Please be in the games industry if you want to make games and care. I don’t care if you want to make games for 2 hours every night after work, or for 40 hours for a paycheck, or for 80 hours as an entrepreneur. Just don’t make others pay with their health for your shitty scheduling.