Behind the galloping success of video games, the harsh reality of the industry’s working conditions


In a Twitter thread, Laralyn McWilliams, a video game designer since the 90s, discusses the “unspoken taxes” to be paid in the world of video game development, one of which is moving often. She lists in particular her many moves (10 in 27 years) which have weighed on her personal life. “It almost certainly destroys your spouse / partner’s career because they have no consistency, no long professional experience, less opportunity for advancement. And it gets harder and harder to make friends in new cities as you get older, especially for an introvert like me, ”says McWilliams. But this dynamism, which specialists plan to continue in the years to come, does not prevent employment in the sector from being precarious. Careers can be irregular, change quickly, or stagnate. And when passion is at the heart of the profession, his work can encroach on all areas of life.

“One of the reasons I and so many other immigrants stayed in Montreal was the number of studios. You can change jobs without giving up your friends, your property and your quality of life, ”responded Gavin Young, responsible for programming projects, raising a problem concerning immigrant workers. A constraint that often forces employees in this sector to accept the first job offered, or to have to move to another city to maintain their quality of life.

The story continues In April, the technological news media The Verge underlined the risks of expulsion incurred by many foreign designers by publishing the testimony of several developers working in gaming.

The engagement of video game developers comes up against a complex and saturated market. In the United States, the industry directly hires 143,000 people, thanks to major publishers like Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard and Valve, according to the Entertainment Software Association. But apart from the United States, very few countries can provide a large number of jobs. 60 days to find a job

Because “[w]In the gaming industry in particular, getting hired within two to three months is just not a thing, or really rare and difficult to do, ”Jennifer Scheurle told The Verge. After the plans were canceled, Scheurle lost her job and had only 60 days to find a new job in order to avoid being deported. This short span of time has caused her not to be able to listen to her desires when making decisions for the future of her career. “They’re not just losing a job. They could be forced to give up their lives completely and leave the country. This fear spills over into different aspects of their careers, limiting where developers can afford to take jobs and the leverage they have to demand better wages or working conditions once they are in. post, ”writes The Verge reporter.

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