Board Talk – Brian Robbins for March 2014

robbins_160x160A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a hiring manager from a large company in the game industry when they started lamenting about the “privileged” kids that were applying for positions in games today. His main complaint was that almost all of them were asking questions about what quality of life was like at their studio, and trying to understand how much they crunched, and if it would be expected of them. Apparently most of them had heard it could be really bad and wanted to know if that was true. This manager hated that fact, and felt that everyone “needed to put in their time” before they started getting so full of themselves to think that they wouldn’t need to crunch. To him crunching was almost a rite of passage. He even went so far as to indicate that he wanted to hire people willing to work hard, not “babies” that were so concerned about the amount of hours they put in.

This, more than anything else I can think of, illuminated just how far this industry has come since I joined the IGDA board, and how far we still have to go. On the one hand, I think it’s awesome that young people just getting into the industry are paying attention and asking about quality of life. Awareness and education is a huge step in getting this industry to move away from that destructive practice.

On the other hand, it is obvious that we still have a long way to go when hiring managers think someone is “a baby” for asking about how many hours they will be expected to work and whether or not a studio crunches. It’s particularly appalling to me that not only are there still people who think crunch is okay but that they are offended when someone feels so “privileged” to ask about it as part of the interview process. While I personally believe (and have the data to back me up) that crunch does not enhance productivity and is bad for the studio, the individual and the final product, I still think that it’s up to each individual to decide what they are and are not willing to do. I don’t like studios that crunch, but the ones that try to hide it from prospective employees are doing an even greater disservice to themselves and showing a complete lack of respect for their potential employees.

When I joined the board 4 1/2 years ago I had plans to transform this industry into one that treated its workers with respect, and celebrated their lives in and outside of work. I hoped that we could make issues like crunch and quality of life a thing of the past. While we still have a long way to go the fact that even students are asking about it shows how far we have already come.

This is my final month on the Board of Directors and I’d like to close by thanking all of our members, volunteers, supporters and staff for everything you have done to push the mission, vision and values of the IGDA. The IGDA is truly a volunteer association, and it is all of you that make this organization what it is.

Thank you!

Brian Robbins
Board Member Oct 2009 – March 2014, Chair August 2010 – March 2012, IGDA Foundation Trustee 2010-2014.

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