Gameloft's Apparently A Terrible Place To Work

vansau

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May 25, 2010
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Gameloft's Apparently A Terrible Place To Work



Apparently Team Bondi isn't the only studio Down Under that's got some problems with its working conditions.

Gameloft's got a reputation for some quality casual games across a variety of platforms. That said, it's also earning a reputation for being a crummy place to work, thanks to some new allegations that have been leveled against its studio in Auckland, New Zealand. Based on claims from a former head programmer, the hours were insane and conditions were unbearable.

According to Glenn Watson, who filed the complaint against the studio, working for Gameloft was a pretty awful experience:

"Some weeks I was work­ing 100 to 120 hours a week," Watson said. "Starting at 9:30, going home at 2:30 [the following day], and then com­ing back into the office at 8:30 to start work again was not unusual."

"There were other times when I would be called back into the office at 23:30 by the studio producer, only to head home again at 2:30. It was after I worked four consecutive weeks of fourteen-hour days - including weekends - that I realised I needed to resign."

Apparently the straw that broke Watson's back, though, came after he resigned from the company: "Gameloft asked me to 'apologise' for leaving the studio and shouldering others with the burden of my work. I feel the best apology I can give is to ensure that they never get put through the same rubbish conditions again."

Watson's claims are being confirmed by a number of other employees, and "seemingly authentic" email conversations are on record that document Watson discussing the long hours with senior management. The management reportedly claimed that the insane time requirements were in accordance with employee contracts.

Honestly, the Auckland office sounds like it has a ton of issues at present, including an uncertain future. Aside from these problems with work conditions, a hiring recruiter spoke to games.on.net and reported that there's a hiring freeze in Auckland and Gameloft is working on setting up a new studio over in Brisbane, Australia.

Source: <a href=http://games.on.net/article/13193/Trouble_at_Gameloft_Auckland_Developer_Blows_Whistle_on_120-Hour_Weeks_Dangerous_Conditions>games.on.net via <a href=http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2011-07-18-gameloft-auckland-accused-of-poor-working-conditions>GamesIndustry.biz

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DustyDrB

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Jan 19, 2010
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120 hours?

That's about 17 hours a day. Yeah, that's a fast-track for depression.
 

The Random One

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¡Lo suspeché desde un principio!

It's very obvious from Gameloft's games that they are the soulless kind of games made by people who haven't been sleeping properly. The only reason they don't get as bad a rep as Zynga is that they aren't as famous. They are, however, just as ubiquous.
 

Orcboyphil

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Sounds like somebody couldn't handle the crunch. I hear that pretty much all studios go through the exact same thing when a release gets close to gold. Normally you get a few weeks off after this period in order to relax.
 

SenseOfTumour

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"The management reportedly claimed that the insane time requirements were in accordance with employee contracts."

This is the sort of shit that needs lawyers.

Just hiding the fact that you intend to abuse your staff in the small print of the contract should not means it's ok.

I fully understand there's deadlines, and people might have to pull some 12 hour shifts and come in weekends in the last few weeks before a major title release.

It's NOT ok to pull that kind of shit every damn day.

I find it's usually places that pay a set salary with no paid overtime that try to force stupid amounts of unpaid overtime out of their staff too.

When I ran a liquor store, I was expected to cover every damn hour my staff wouldn't and I wasn't allocated enough in the wages budget to cover paying staff to cover all the hours minus my 40 per week.

They'd pretty much decided I'd be working for free each week and that's how it was.I was y oung and stupid enough to feel like it was 'part of the responsibility of being a manager', and ya know, maybe that's why that company had so many young managers and such a huge turnover in management.

Hell, there were few times where I'd go to more than a few monthly meetings in a row without being introduced to a new face and we'd be missing one of the old ones.

There need to be stronger work laws where if you're fucking your staff it comes around and hurts your ass in the end. By which I mean massive fines to the company, as money is the only thing they understand, and losing it makes them cry.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Four consecutive weeks of fourteen hour days...

Sorry...I'm calling bull on that, I've done 70 hour weeks and that's put me into mental exhaustion. If you're pulling a 100 hour week, you'd be losing your marbles after a fortnight. Even with some of the workloads I know some people have, you simply cannot do that.
 

King Toasty

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My sister read this, and was all, "100 hours? That's Australian time, right? So really only 70 hours."

...wat
 

Unhappy Crow

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They need to start lowering the hours of work, otherwise Gameloft will have their employees so tired, they can't work as fast as a well rested employees. And I'm a fan of their Asphalt games.
 

Tomate Diseno

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Though not related to the game industry I once worked a job that occasionally had me going in on Sunday afternoon to tidy up a few things in prep. for Monday morning and not leaving until Tuesday - 36 hours later. The design industry in general has an appalling attitude towards staff, "You have to work an additional 60 hours per week unpaid because we just say so and actually you'll thank us for it because you've got a job and there's a hell of a lot of unemployed designers out there?" it's incredulous.

Best paying job I ever had Per Hour - pulling the guts out of chickens.
Worst paying job I ever had Per Hour - designing promotional materials for some of the largest brands on earth.

And the chicken gut thing didn't require getting into £1,000s of debt during years of college either.
 

King Toasty

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Dr. wonderful said:
King Toasty said:
My sister read this, and was all, "100 hours? That's Australian time, right? So really only 70 hours."

...wat
Dude, I spilled my water laughing at that.
I don't... I don't know the logic. We live in Canada, I'm pretty sure Aussie is ahead of us. Not... 30 hours... what?
 

Booze Zombie

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I had often wondered why a lot of modern games seemed like they were made by someone not quite paying attention... I've got my answer!
 

ResonanceSD

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King Toasty said:
My sister read this, and was all, "100 hours? That's Australian time, right? So really only 70 hours."

...wat
Nah in Australia we use a different base unit for time. She's correct. You should listen to her more often. One of your hours is in fact, only 70% of an hour for us.
 

Numachuka

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Orcboyphil said:
Sounds like somebody couldn't handle the crunch. I hear that pretty much all studios go through the exact same thing when a release gets close to gold. Normally you get a few weeks off after this period in order to relax.
Where does it say this was nearing a game going gold?
 

King Toasty

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TypeSD said:
King Toasty said:
My sister read this, and was all, "100 hours? That's Australian time, right? So really only 70 hours."

...wat
Nah in Australia we use a different base unit for time. She's correct. You should listen to her more often. One of your hours is in fact, only 70% of an hour for us.
Ah yes. The "What the fuck, Australia" rule. Little-known fact.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
its shit like this that made me decide going into the game industry was stupid
 

Scars Unseen

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TypeSD said:
King Toasty said:
My sister read this, and was all, "100 hours? That's Australian time, right? So really only 70 hours."

...wat
Nah in Australia we use a different base unit for time. She's correct. You should listen to her more often. One of your hours is in fact, only 70% of an hour for us.
That's hardly a fair assessment. It only turned out that way because your South Australian government refused to recognize the standard 60 minute hour everyone else was using and stubbornly stuck to their own 85 minute version. I hear that the Attorney General tried to force the issue, but South Australia threatened to start counting seconds in base 4.