vending-machines
alt_bar

NOW IT'S ON

13 November 2004

I never liked Electronic Arts. To me they have always been the huge inhuman corporate machine, churning out mindless sequels to franchises year after year, improving on a few little things -but not so much that it would warrant anything more than those changes being released in patch-form. The games they produce themselves are uninspired pap, derived from either top-dollar licenses or based on sports -not sporadically featuring the face of some popular practitioner of said sport to increase recognition. All in all; pretty bland stuff, and it wasn't as if we really needed yet another reason to refrain from touching EA's games with anything less than a twenty foot pole.

Sorry that this is going to be yet another game-related rant. But my mind is ever with games, and thus I can't escape talking about it occasionally. If you like it, let me know, if you don't, drop in a line too. You know where to find the email-address.

Rergardless though, there is a very firm reason for this seemingly unprovoked lash at EA. Three days ago an unnamed woman calling herself 'ea-spouse' anonimously posted a horrific recounting of events on Livejournal. Anonimity was required because there is much fear for our little multi-million revenue-scooping mediamogul retaliating with measures that would put the disgruntled salaryman out of the industry for good. This spouse tells us that her husband remained in a calculated everlasting crunchtime. Normally, chrunchtime is the period in the development cycle of a game where it has to ship in, say, three weeks, and everybody is required to stay in and make long hours to make sure the game is done. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because if everything is right, all the people on the team are eager to make the best game ever and want to see it done in time.

However, this is not your ordinary crunchtime. This is mental and physical abuse, plain and simple. A workweek of no less than EIGHTY-FIVE (written in length for maximum effect) hours, with not a single day off, no pay for overtime and no compensation time (extra time off afterwards). This crunchtime lasts the whole of the cycle, only increasing in severity and workload. It is no surprise then, that employees of EA leave the company after only a year, totally wasted and their naivitivity stolen from them. EA uses people up like expendable resources!

Then another post appeared on Livejournal from a former EA-programmer, who chose to abandon anonimity and face the enemy head on. His writing capacity obviously butchered by the mental stress that EA imposed on him; he still managed to confirm that things were grandly amiss with his former employer, and also enriched the world of cabaret by quipping 'you can't spell ExploitAtion without EA', in the process.

We can find some relief in the knowledge that
a big-time lawsuit is heading the aggressor's way. But obviously, EA has no right to be the world's leading publisher anymore. The company is morally completely bankrupt, and although these practices are certainly not EA's alone; they are certainly among the ringleaders, and must serve as an example. This is a powerhouse that should be brought down, because it's clear now that it has become a butcher's house. Boo hiss, EA, boo hiss.

And another thing. What the freak is that 'Arts' doing in 'Electronic Arts'? Is it the art of torturing employees? The art of assimilating small development studios and making more profit over their backs? The art of gobbling up people and spewing them out like chewing gum? Surely not making games that are actual works of art!

I haven't ever witnessed a company that is more ludicrous and disturbing in every respect than Electronic Arts.

Roderick.