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[P]
Electronic Arts and the mighty dollar

By Gabbahead in Culture
Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 10:06:31 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

Behemoth publisher EA seems to be a bit hard on its employees, reslting in law suits. But employee abuse and poor working conditions isn't as simple to solve as it might seem. And EA is the catalyst for a potential revolution


My, oh my, which way will Arnie go? The honorary Terminator and new governor of California has proven that he does like games by passing the friendlier bill forcing retailers to pay attention to the age ratings (or face the consequences) - something that is good in the long run because it disarms a lot of the comments used by anti-game violence activists. But the matter at hand are the recent suits filed against Electronic Arts by disgruntled employees, bringing to light yet again the terrible working conditions inherent to game development. Granted, Schwarzenegger probably won't have much to do with this one, but the implications of such a case could easily have a far-wider reach than any game-related law signed in by him, especially in the industry's current problematic state.

You see, the relationship between publishers and developers - and how publishers as a whole treat the industry and the companies they work with - has been an issue begging to come out of the closet, but it's being kept at bay because business does not like reform, regardless of what their spokes people tell you. This case, though, drags the topic into the daylight. On the one side are over-worked and abused employees, on the other side the world' fifth-largest software company, boasting a capital worth of just under $16 billion. And they aren't that favoured, either. Despite some great game successes across the board, EA is regarded in ill light with a lot of gamers. This is thanks to a few things; firstly their habit of re-releasing games liked FIFA, essentially milking the market; secondly their avoidance of mature games - even though the company did break the rules with Def Jam Vendetta their CEO admitted that we'd never see a game like GTA come from their stable; lastly, EA represents the corporate side of the industry and if they weren't so good at delivering solid titles I think this could have easily turned them into the entertainment Microsoft. Unlike Microsoft, though, EA never worked off a monopoly (consider that Acclaim was the leading publisher in the 90s) and their success has a lot to do with meeting market demands. For every person out there that hates the FIFA series there there's one who loves Battlefield 1942, Black & White or The sims. Love them or hate them, but EA do know a lot about making games.

So there's more to this whole story than meets the eye. Randy Pausch's white paper on the company is a revealing document that explains a bit more about these scenarios. The paper, written by the Carnegie Mellon University professor, was the result of a semester spending time at the company, shadowing the place in the point of view from what to expect if you want to go there from University. The words "meritocracy" and "brutally honest" often appear in the paper because it reflects EA's internal culture - one where honesty is straight-forward and being the best at your job will take you a long way. Obviously that swings both ways since people who cannot handle such an environment will undoubtedly run into serious conflicts.

That's no excuse, of course, but it is indicative of the times. I've heard similar reports before. One pertains to a large banking group locally which employs several people I know. A story about this company includes when a group of people sued the bank for unfair employment practices. The bank settled the matter, for two apparent reasons: settling is far easier and more cost-effective than a court case and anyone who sues that bank over unfair labor practices isn't likely to get hired by any other bank afterwards.

It is pure corporate culture and I think EA slots into that perfectly. They have to, considering their consistent and large revenues combined with a large work-force which is heavily reliant on a management structure.

But there is a third player here: the now-famous ea_spouse Livejournal post that details how bad management, lack of compensation for over-time and crunch times are eroding employee relations and the general culture of the company. Pausch acknowledges this: "EA's biggest challenge is the dramatic increase in team size. There are other grand challenges in terms of game design and content, for example, how to get greater emotional involvement with games and characters, but the biggest challenge is clearly management of large teams." And the ea_spouse post makes it clear that management is a very big problem. The company has a strict policy: apparently the biggest sin at EA is for your game to be late, placing a lot of pressure on managers. Management is already a sticky topic in modern corporate culture, probably because a lot of people (especially high-rank ones) confuse the difference between a boss and a manager.

But I digress. I'm not here to defend EA. But I can see their problem - growth combined with the pressure of high revenues and looking good in a competitive market (if you are larger than Pixar and Apple combined, you have to shine to more than just the gaming industry) combined with a corporate culture that does work well under the right circumstances (which were when EA was smaller) but isn't working now equals a major challenge and balancing game for the company.

There's another, brief point to consider: EA is making money and lots of it without completely selling out on their principles of making good games. In other words, the company does very well without solely relying on licensed games. They are very reliant, though, on external IPs (Intellectual Property) but apparently this is changing as well to more original material. EA makes money by supplying both the masses and the hardcore buyers; so far they seem to be doing a good job of that. But the industry's publisher model is a serious mess, often indicated by the fall of a development studio due to a publisher problem. Gaming is a high-risk industry and even though there are plenty of life-long gamers eager to make games, if publishers want to attract a larger market they need a much wider base for their creative input. Sadly it seems that a lot of people aren't interested, thanks to the rumors and stories of terrible working conditions and an industry model pretty much in chaos.

EA's lawsuit indicates that gaming's problem is bigger than some bad employment practices. EA is an important company in the way they are approaching gaming because their methods are instrumental in gaming's mainstream acceptance, especially by the corporate world as an industry solidly on the same tier as music and movies. In short, more publishers need to be like EA. And as much as the practice can attract gamer spite, buying smaller development studios is a smart move, especially if it's a solid studio. Granted, these do lose a lot of their identity (I can hardly call Generals a Westwood game) but I feel that a strong corporate development culture combined with a resultantly safe and progressive industry will lay a more secure foundation for independent developers. At the moment independent development is either expensive or you often need to cut back on your ambition - no unsupported company can ever expect to produce something like Burnout 3. They might reach some of the highlights, but talent and ability cannot compete with talent and ability met by cash and other resources.

So we need them. But we can't do that at the expense of our talent. And as I've mentioned the expense of possible external talent. I'd watch the EA case closely, because it will have a wide impact on publisher-employee relations, at least with the few publishers I'd dare call progressive (and that's far fewer than you'd think). Of course the cynic in me says EA will settle and then continue its evil ways - sacrificing employees for the sake of business. But it's all about business these days. The trick is to find that safe and snug middle ground. Do not under-estimate the need for heavy-weights in this industry: EA has shown that it can be a forward-thinking company and that it has the culture to help make gaming really big, but whether it ends up leaning towards the mighty dollar or the talent that gets it that dollar will determine whether we should really start considering EA the friendly big brother of gaming.

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Related Links
o the recent suits
o Randy Pausch's white paper
o ea_spouse Livejournal post
o Also by Gabbahead


Display: Sort:
Electronic Arts and the mighty dollar | 119 comments (90 topical, 29 editorial, 0 hidden)
First posting for going outside (2.11 / 9) (#1)
by sllort on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 10:15:45 AM EST

This whole 'computer games' thing is overrated.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
boo hoo they made me work all day in an office$#$@ (1.92 / 25) (#5)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:16:42 AM EST

this is why every company is outsourcing everything to countries where people actually have some semblance of a work ethic like india and pakistan.

after these lazy programmers get laughed out of court and are rightfully shitcanned you can bet they will be the same ones whining on slashdot about how the US isn't protecting their right to be lazy and get paid for it.

what a heartbreaking story. tell this to my dad who worked 65 years, 80 hours a week in a coal mine with only a canary to keep him company.


How many hours a week do you work tough guy? (nt) (1.50 / 2) (#10)
by rodentboy on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 12:39:53 PM EST



[ Parent ]
ehhh 9-4:30, 5dpw, then 75 minutes a day for lunch (1.62 / 8) (#12)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 12:54:59 PM EST

you do the math fuckface

[ Parent ]
Don't you think (2.25 / 4) (#14)
by rodentboy on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:10:09 PM EST

you should lead by example and work 12 hours a day 7 days a week for a few months before calling these programmers lazy then?



[ Parent ]
my time is more valuable, obviously (2.00 / 3) (#15)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:22:13 PM EST



[ Parent ]
No it isn't obvious (2.00 / 3) (#16)
by rodentboy on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:33:36 PM EST

If you are suggesting they just grow some balls and leave their abusive relationship with their employer then I agree.

I've walked away from jobs for way less than this.

It would be better to provoke a firing however and sue their asses after.



[ Parent ]
No too conciliatory (none / 1) (#17)
by rodentboy on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:40:37 PM EST

Fuck that I'm going to easy on you. Either tell me how people who work 85 hours a week can be considered lazy or STFU.



[ Parent ]
typical open source hippie attitude (2.40 / 10) (#18)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:42:24 PM EST

habib mujibar and his fourteen wives from india will be graciously thanking allah for the laziness of you and your post dotcom brethren

[ Parent ]
Let them have the jobs then (3.00 / 7) (#19)
by rodentboy on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:56:28 PM EST

Programming as a career is dead. The only people enjoying it are the hobbyists. Every one else working as a programmer is either 1) bored to death warming a seat 2) working way too hard. For some reason this is not a contradiction. I've had contracts at each extreme.

Either way they work at something that can only be considered interesting for a few years at most.

Really, programming is dead end. How interesting is it to find that your form won't work because of a missing close form tag somewhere in 52K of spaghetti HTML? How much intellectual stimulation is there is fixing bugs in crummy code maintenance jobs? Programming is full of difficulty but has next to no complexity, in other words frustrating but not challenging.

I say let them have those crummy programming jobs and US programmers should grow some balls and start creating opportunities for themselves instead of twiddling bits on making leds go blinky blink.



[ Parent ]
YHBT, YHL, HAND [nt] (none / 1) (#80)
by Nimey on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 12:18:19 PM EST


--
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]
Better than shelf-stacking, or government work. (none / 0) (#91)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 06:45:14 AM EST


"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Indians aren't Muslim.... (1.00 / 4) (#22)
by GreyGhost on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 04:09:58 PM EST

They are Hindus and Siekhs....at least a lot of them. They do yoga and shit....



[ Parent ]

Uhh (3.00 / 5) (#29)
by nr0mx on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 10:39:31 PM EST

They do yoga and shit....

I believe everybody does the latter.

[ Parent ]

Simultaneously? (none / 1) (#41)
by spasticfraggle on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 06:18:28 AM EST

I thought he was implying that they do them together.

Uh-oh, I think I hear a Balderson approaching... ^_^

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

Holy crap! (1.50 / 2) (#53)
by nr0mx on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 09:27:39 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Muslims too. (3.00 / 5) (#33)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 01:18:31 AM EST

Half my hometown (in India) is Muslim, but I doubt I've seen any with 14 wives though.

Nevertheless, I'm amazed you guys are getting baited by Tex Bigballs of all the people.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]

Tex is a master baiter [NT] (3.00 / 3) (#81)
by Nimey on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 12:19:36 PM EST


--
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]
That he is, but you're missing a key point here. (none / 0) (#102)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 11:07:51 PM EST

He's an old baiter in these parts. I mean, the moment you read "Tex Bigballs", your troll-detectors should go wild.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]
Muslims in Pakistan (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by epcraig on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 10:20:19 AM EST

There are maybe 120,000,000 Muslims in India, not all that many among a billion, but more than most Muslim countries.
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org
[ Parent ]
Holy shit (none / 1) (#24)
by eejit on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 05:52:35 PM EST

Wow, amazing story. Thanks for the link.

[ Parent ]
You lazy fuck (none / 1) (#20)
by GreyGhost on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 02:14:55 PM EST

That's nothing compared to the hours your average game programmer needs to log in per week.



[ Parent ]

my time at work is actually spent working (2.28 / 7) (#21)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 02:21:10 PM EST

you don't see me wasting my time screwing around on the internet

[ Parent ]
You mean like posting to K5? NT (1.50 / 2) (#34)
by bjlhct on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 02:13:44 AM EST



*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
ha ha... that fucked him (none / 1) (#42)
by m a r c on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 07:10:28 AM EST


I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]
questionable roll model (none / 1) (#31)
by jsnow on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:25:43 PM EST

India and Pakistan are our roll models now? Sorry, I'd rather keep my high standard of living.

[ Parent ]
I roll however I like (none / 0) (#94)
by LaundroMat on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 08:13:28 AM EST

I need no models for that, thank you.
---

"These innocent fun-games of the hallucination generation"
[ Parent ]

oops, s/roll/role/ (none / 0) (#101)
by jsnow on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 10:48:29 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Fuck You, Fucky-Fuck Fucker! (2.30 / 10) (#56)
by Peahippo on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 12:58:58 PM EST

People bled real blood here in America for the 40hr workweek. Anyone who calls that result "lazy" is simply in need of a raw cactus enema.

If you are some moron working 60hr weeks as is "ethical", then I simply can't buy the idea that your children even recall what you look like. (If they even care ... as a latchkey kid I know that *I* didn't care about the ghost (laughably called a "mother") that came in late each day.) Overworked parents are a good foundation for animal children.

Throwback. Go back to the fucking 1800s as you deserve. Remember to take your kids with you, so they can catch silicosis (sp?) in some factory along with you.

ENJOY THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM, FUCKHOLE! God, your kind simply disgust me.


[ Parent ]
Oh, the cognitive dissonance. (3.00 / 2) (#86)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 09:50:09 AM EST

You know, I have a habit of zeroing every obsenity laced post I find - except that I agree with all the other words you used, 100 percent.

Work may pay for my life, but my life is not my work.

Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
[ Parent ]

Treating employees poorly makes me cry (2.00 / 8) (#6)
by The Baby Jesus on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:24:43 AM EST

Companies with $3.2 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in cash reserves is unforgivable no matter how much of me they consume. At least when you're eating my body and blood, transubstantiation is a factor.

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!! (nt) (none / 0) (#105)
by Baby Jesus on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 04:02:41 PM EST



[ Parent ]
So? (none / 0) (#30)
by jeremyn on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:18:30 PM EST

They're not Sierra, killing Looking Glass and Black Isle *grumble grumble grumble*

Not quite. (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by Lacero on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:08:02 AM EST

Eidos killed Looking Glass, if you're going to rally against the evil publishers make sure you get the right ones :)

[ Parent ]
lol, sorry (nt) (none / 0) (#108)
by jeremyn on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 05:57:51 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Manpower (3.00 / 9) (#32)
by ZorbaTHut on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 12:14:23 AM EST

I've never understood how companies can spend that many resources on a single game. The game company I worked on had 14 employees when I left, and we were making full-scale PS2 games. Took a year and a half for a game, and that's without working crazy crunch hours. Where the hell is EA spending all these people?

(For the curious, and to dispel the inevitable arguments - yes, we already had an engine for that game. Same engine we used on the last game, which we wrote from scratch - total time, 2 years - and which has since been licensed to other studios.)

I'll tell you why gamers don't like EA. (2.87 / 39) (#35)
by Kasreyn on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 04:05:48 AM EST

We dislike EA because they buy great games companies , piss on them, rip them into small shreds, burn them, and then run them into the ground. Witness Origin and Bullfrog and Westwood... the list goes on. EA buying a company is literally the Kiss of Death for all creative value in its franchises. All the actual creative people flee, and the plodding sequel-grinders tool up the production line.

Here's the life cycle:

1. A few brilliant oddballs like Sid Meyer, or Peter Molyneaux, or Chris whatsisnuts of Origin, start a new games studio. Usually they pitch some really brilliant game idea - like Civilization, or Populous, or Ultima, at some investors who like the sound of it.

2. The small company hires some hip, creative guys, has a few months of passionate, sweaty sex with rendering and compiling servers, and ejaculates an original, inventive game.

3. Gamers cautiously try the new studio's offering, and find it good. Often it gets Game of the Year.

*4. The studio gets a much bigger budget, hires more people, and slams out a badass sequel or two. Usually it takes the franchise in completely new directions or even into a new genre.

*5. Gamers buy the sequel and go berserk. They start weird cults focusing on the game, rummage through its creators' garbage, and form online communities whose purpose is to rhapsodize the game's virtues and exclude newbies.

(steps 4 and 5 are optional)

6. EA begins to sniff and circle around the game, smelling money. EA offers ridiculous sums of filthy lucre to anyone controlling the studio. EA continues to offer these wages of sin until someone relents and takes it.

7. Every person with a functional creative gland flees the company, occasionally with heads rotating 360 degrees with smoke pouring out their ears. They are replaced by mass-produced EA drones.

**8. EA releases a pre-stale notice of the upcoming sequel to the franchise. Conspicuously, not a single member of the original band of brothers (and occasional sister) who made the originals, is on this team.

**9. The clanking, muck-encrusted gears and wheels groan into action as heartless overseers crack whips. PR flunkies continuously release screen shots so that no one risks experiencing anything resembling surprise at the final product.

**10. The game is released with great fanfare, and gamers release a loud raspberry. A few of the more hardcore fans of the original series commit suicide, or worse, become Young Republicans, in protest of the hateful mockery EA has made of their cherished memories.

Repeat the cycle of steps 8-10 until...

11. Dwindling sales of the franchise reach such a low point that an EA executive pulls the plug and no more sequels will be made. The world heaves a sigh of relief.

12. Elsewhere, the guys who started the original studio have created a new one in the meanwhile and released more brilliant, original games. EA now begins to circle, buzzardlike, above their new encampment...

...profit!

P.S. Before I get roundly flamed, EA does ONE kind of game well: sports games. Well, that and racing games, because only EA can afford the ridiculous fees auto makers charge to license the images of their cars. But sports games, since they require no creativity but great attention to graphical detail, are just EA's speed. Kinda like a slow underhanded pitch at the Special Olympics. :P


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
sports games (none / 0) (#62)
by Delirium on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 05:33:53 PM EST

Some sports, like soccer (football), could use a bit of brilliant design in the interface. It's hard to pull off a balance between "game is actually playable" and "game does not feel like an arcade game", and I'm not sure EA has excelled at that.

[ Parent ]
Of course, thats where they can lose (none / 0) (#70)
by wumpus on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 11:32:12 AM EST

If anybody gets around to making GPL'd sims. I don't really believe there will be many GPL'd games (maybe the odd MMRPG), but sims (sports, vehicle simulation, RTS) would work. You couldn't ship with official team names and stats (they're over there at www.piracy.ofshore_of_everyone, nudge nudge), but it might work.

Wumpus
Not volunteering.

[ Parent ]

So we should go get crowbars... (none / 0) (#93)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 06:51:44 AM EST

...and stand in a circle around Valve's offices, beating back the encroaching EA zombie lawyers?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

less innuendo, less article, more meat (2.66 / 6) (#44)
by khallow on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 07:39:18 AM EST

I'm particularly demanding as a reader, but I think you should cut out a lot of your story and add some real meat. Drop Arnold. Drop the innuendo and the shilling. Maybe everyone who left EA and whines now couldn't handle the "meritocracy" and "brutal honesty", but you don't get get the kind of epically bad reputation (just IMHO, of course) in the industry that EA has without some real sleezy exploitation of your employees.

How about a brief list of the "solid titles" that EA has cranked out in recent times? Randy Pausch's article isn't particularly serious or helpful, and you may want to drop it. It's effectively an ad. He glosses over flaws like the youthful age distribution of the company, it's horrid working working hours, etc with the phrases you seem to like so well. OTOH, I didn't have to read between the lines much to get an idea of the corporate culture at EA.

But if there's one thing I want you to take away from my ranting, it's a keen desire to shorten your story and cut out the gobs of fat. The other problems I can live with.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

RE... (2.50 / 2) (#46)
by Gabbahead on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:09:17 AM EST

I can't drop Pausch - while the guy might have a glossed-over report (or not - this is really a subjective debate unless you can determine this with Pausch himself) his opinions give a balance to the whole debacle. If I drop his I have to drop the EA spouse blog as well since I could accuse it of the same things. As HST said, there is no objective reporting. Using both those I can at least represent some sort of balance if readers want to check out the situation for themselves.

The bank story illustrates EA's position. Yes, they have a reputation but I mean to bring across that this isn't a unique one, so we can't simply disregard it as EA's bad reputation. We have to at least acknowledge that EA's treatment of its employees has a lot to do with the company's culture meeting the high end of corporate business. EA is a new player in this domain - despite the company's size its growth is fairly recent in terms of business.

Cutting away the so-called bloat on the article basically means that all the reader wants are the facts. In that case all I should do is place links to the myriad of opinions, stories and other written pieces on the topic. I could just link to the IDGA's letter, give you Rob Fahey's opinion on the matter and perhaps dredge up some good pro and anti EA posts from around the web.

But that's not the point. Yes, I'd like to transfer facts over, but I also do this with my opinion on the topic. It's also an exercise in creative writing. While the feedback on this side of the process is interesting, arguments for cutting away this-and-that are mostly subjective and are not points I'll likely concede to without a bigger and more generalized outcry on these elements in the article. I think the editorial part of this should be to correct facts, spelling and grammar. My role here is not to please you with a well-written piece that meets your criteria. I'm here to present my opinion on the facts at hand. My writing style is subject to how people react to it. Sitting at the base of the editing queue does not qualify as meeting an audience. If my writing is bloated, then I'll concede it AFTER seeing a general reaction. Until then I'll kindly read, but not react upon, suggestions about the writing style. Criticize my facts and my opinion, but I don't understand why it's becoming a fight to see this article appear at all because some find the writing bloated. Maybe I like bloated writing. If I wanted concise facts neatly arranged on a platter I can go to Reuters. But don't attack the writing based purely on subjective taste. Everything, after all, is in the eye of the beholder...

[ Parent ]

ok, so you like bloated writing (3.00 / 5) (#48)
by khallow on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:12:17 AM EST

I still think you should cut, cut, cut.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Seriously (none / 1) (#84)
by mikepence on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 05:15:50 PM EST

Make The Elements of Style your friend and you will be a much better writer, IMHO.

[ Parent ]
More reasons to hate EA... (2.75 / 4) (#58)
by onealone on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 01:47:14 PM EST

For buying exclusive rights to use real footballers names in games, therefore killing off almost all competition in that genre.
Then, if that wasn't enough, producing an endless slurry of terrible, unplayable football games and chunder inducing ads for them.

oic (none / 0) (#87)
by sanchi on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 03:17:19 PM EST

I didnt realize that Sega's ESPN series couldnt use the name of real NFL football players...

[ Parent ]
You'll notice I said "real footballers" (3.00 / 2) (#89)
by onealone on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 05:27:36 PM EST

meaning people who kick a ball with their feet, not people who run into each other wearing body armour.

[ Parent ]
snotty european nt (none / 0) (#118)
by mpalczew on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 03:43:31 PM EST


-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
oh no... (2.00 / 5) (#59)
by flinkflonk on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 02:52:24 PM EST

1. Do get your language right. Apart from apparent typos ("reslted") and missing punctuation there is wrong use of adjectives ("honorary Terminator"? Hey, there's nothing honorary about it, <i>he played the terminator</i>).
2. wrong focus. It's not about computer gaming, or the industry that produces these computer games. It's about how coporations treat their employees. It's just that <i>this</i> time it's a computer game company that is in the spotlight.

-1 for bad research.

--
Verb is a noun, which simply isn't fair. Fair is a noun or an adjective. Adjective is a noun, but can also be an adjective, as can most English nouns. Go figure, which is both a noun and a verb and good advice.

and note to self... (none / 0) (#60)
by flinkflonk on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 02:54:09 PM EST

preview :)

Dammit, that's not how I wanted it to look. Ah well.

--
Verb is a noun, which simply isn't fair. Fair is a noun or an adjective. Adjective is a noun, but can also be an adjective, as can most English nouns. Go figure, which is both a noun and a verb and good advice.
[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#85)
by Gabbahead on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 04:50:24 AM EST

Well, let's consider this: he is the longest running and most prominant Terminator - in my books that easily qualifies him as 'honorary'. Secondly, your lack of research claim confuses me. I stuck to the core - the news are ticle, the EA_spouse blog and the White Paper - between those three its easy to establish the links in the above article.

Besides, I'm not interested in talking about 'bad corporate behaviour'. I'm talking about EA and the effect its actions in this regard could have on the industry. I do spend mos tof the time expalining why the company has such a big influence and what the situation is, but the point is clear enough.

Stupid reader: -2

[ Parent ]

Oh geez (1.60 / 10) (#61)
by foon on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 05:10:18 PM EST

So what you're telling me is, that Electronic Arts is a corporation, and they are fulfilling their responsibilities to shareholders rather than caving in to every ludicrous demand an employee happens to make? That is an outrage, it must be stopped now!

ludicrous demands.... (none / 1) (#65)
by skelter on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 01:43:32 AM EST

not having an enforced 80 hour workweek?

[ Parent ]
Are they forced to work there? /nt (none / 1) (#71)
by skyknight on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 11:44:12 AM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Are they told what the conditions are like (3.00 / 2) (#76)
by Gruntathon on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 05:41:27 AM EST

before they get hired?

Well they might have an idea now I suppose.
__________
If they hadn't been such quality beasts (despite being so young) it would have been a nightmare - good self-starting, capable hands are your finest friend. -- Anonymous CEO
[ Parent ]
Whose responsibility is it... (none / 0) (#79)
by skyknight on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 10:31:27 AM EST

to figure out working conditions? Is there any reason they can't leave after they find out it sucks? If you don't like a job, then leave it. It's not like this is the third world and there's only one factory in the country.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Whose fault is it... (none / 1) (#82)
by Shajenko on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 01:45:05 PM EST

If the company deceives the employees about the working conditions?

After all, fraud is still illegal in the US. But give Bush a few more years to take care of that.

[ Parent ]
Are there any companies... (none / 0) (#83)
by skyknight on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 02:57:42 PM EST

that don't deceive potential employees about working conditions?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
So you're saying... (none / 0) (#88)
by Shajenko on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 03:39:58 PM EST

ALL companies should be prosecuted for fraud?

[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#90)
by dirtmerchant on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 06:17:18 PM EST

and theft.
-- "The universe not only may be queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think" - JBS Haldane
[ Parent ]
I think that unless... (none / 0) (#98)
by skyknight on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 05:35:34 PM EST

the employees have legal documentation asserting that their jobs will be fun, and what constitutes "fun" is spelled out in painstaking detail, then we are wasting our time bickering about this.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Who said anything about "fun"? (none / 0) (#107)
by Shajenko on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 04:42:03 PM EST

I never mentioned the word "fun". Why do you suddenly bring it up? I'm talking about corporations committing crimes and getting away with them. Do you support that?

[ Parent ]
The "fun"... (none / 1) (#109)
by skyknight on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 06:00:19 PM EST

refers the working conditions in companies. To what crimes are you referring? Are corporations supposed to sell themselves to potential employees by casting themselves in a really negative light?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I see... (none / 0) (#110)
by Shajenko on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 07:02:03 PM EST

So to the question of, "Do you think companies should be allowed to defraud new employees?", your answer would be yes, isn't that right?

[ Parent ]
I would appreciate it if, (none / 1) (#111)
by skyknight on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 07:11:41 PM EST

for the purpose of this argument, you would clarify to what you are referring when you speak of new employees being defrauded.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Simple (none / 0) (#112)
by Shajenko on Sun Nov 28, 2004 at 01:02:58 AM EST

Company extends an offer of employment to an individual. The terms of the contract (it's a contract whether it's on paper or not, or whether it can be terminated at any time or not) state that the conditions of the employment will be one way. The actual conditions of the employment are different, and the company intentionally presents the conditions of the employment as different from the real conditions.

This is fraud.

[ Parent ]
Yes, that would be fraud, but... (none / 0) (#113)
by skyknight on Sun Nov 28, 2004 at 08:22:00 AM EST

That's not what actually happens. What happens in practice is that nothing is said explicitly about work conditions, the interviewee assumes that they will be tolerable, he/she doesn't ask the right probing questions, and comes to work for them grateful to have a job because it beats living under the bridge. Might the company have been deceptive? Sure, but it was deception through omission, not through stating mistruths. It's unfortunate, yes, but it's a fact of reality that this happens all the time. It's how our media deceive without lying, it's how our politicians manipulate without telling a falsehood, it's how people shirk responsibility.

I, personally, try to be above that kind of behavior as I feel that it breeds en environment of cynicism and defeatism, but you have to realize that such practices are basically omni-present in the real world. Nobody is going to badmouth the working conditions of their own company. They will tell you the good, and neglect or down play the bad. This has been occurring everywhere forever. The only way for it to change is for people to get smarter when they go to job interviews, not to enact leviathan legislation. Legislation is scarcely ever agile enough to deal with such nimble problems.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Hold on... (none / 0) (#114)
by Shajenko on Tue Nov 30, 2004 at 01:55:04 AM EST

What happens in practice is that nothing is said explicitly about work conditions, the interviewee assumes that they will be tolerable, he/she doesn't ask the right probing questions, and comes to work for them grateful to have a job because it beats living under the bridge.
(emphasis mine)

But then you say:
The only way for it to change is for people to get smarter when they go to job interviews, not to enact leviathan legislation.
All that will do is cause a few naive people to ask the question, and the companies will simply move on to the next candidate, who won't ask questions and will get exploited. As you say:
it beats living under the bridge.
In other words, the employer has the interviewee (all of them) over a barrel.

For some reason you think the invisible hand can do no wrong, when it is the invisible hand itself that is causing these abuses in the first place!

It's the same reason millions of immigrants come here illegally, and why companies encourage it, and Bush weakens enforcement on policing illegal immigration: it makes the average everyday worker weaker, and the corporations stronger, and that's how the people who benefit from all this want it.

[ Parent ]
The world doesn't owe you a living. (none / 0) (#116)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 01, 2004 at 05:48:45 PM EST

Deal with it.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
no one is owed anything (none / 0) (#119)
by mpalczew on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 04:01:42 PM EST

the world doesn't owe EA a corporate charter either.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
-1, Already Read this on Slashdot (3.00 / 2) (#66)
by egg troll on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 01:44:35 AM EST

But maybe next time you'll have better luck by lifting links straight from Fark!

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

gimme a fucking break (2.20 / 5) (#67)
by the77x42 on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 03:19:31 AM EST

if my employees were releasing the shit that EA pumps out i'd be skullfucking them too. they've killed all my favourite franchises from the 90's. remember nhl 94??? fuckers. now their shit is buggier than an anteater's


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

Modded 3 (none / 1) (#97)
by John Miles on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 03:14:33 PM EST

... for the anteater shit thing.  That's a classic.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]
-1, too homo-centric (1.00 / 15) (#68)
by dammahum on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 04:58:19 AM EST



Two things: (2.66 / 3) (#72)
by skyknight on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 11:48:15 AM EST

  1. The market punishes stupidity
  2. Nobody is forced to work at EA


It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Generals (2.66 / 3) (#73)
by hardburn on Sat Nov 20, 2004 at 10:52:39 PM EST

I decided to stop buying EA games after what happend to Generals/Zero Hour. Reasons:

  • No real attachment to C&C. No Kane. Not even Westwood developed. I was wary enough when Westwood went off on an alternate-alternate-reality with RA2, but Generals is completely off. The "C&C" part is nothing more than brand naming.
  • SW General was too weak in the orginal Zero Hour. Then she was made too strong in the 1.02 patch. She's been left too strong ever since. The only viable strategy against her is a rush. It's rare that anything else will work.
  • Scud storm bug. Any GLA opponent can launch a continous stream of scud storms from an unfinished launcher.
  • No obvious way to contact EA so they can remove accounts of blatent cheaters.

There has been no patch from EA fixing the SWG or the scud bug. Rumor has it that EA has stopped developing for Generals, and this rumor is supported by the fact that there hasn't been an official patch since 1.02 was released about a year ago. They left the game in a very broken state.

As such, I decided to just stop buying their games.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


Hellooooo.... (none / 0) (#117)
by Pxtl on Fri Dec 03, 2004 at 02:03:22 PM EST

it took you that long to realise that the C&C games were crap?  Hell, C&C was just a rehash of Dune II except they ripped off the plot to G.I.Joe.  Then they did it again, but with Soviets.  And again, and again, and again.  Didn't it set off alarm bells when Dune 2000 came out and it played just like the newest C&C game?  A remake of the original plays like their newest product?

I lost interest at the first C&C game, when I saw that Westwood wasn't doing anything new but graphics, while other companies were trying new shit (notice how warcraft 1 and warcraft 2 were actually different games).

Just play Total Annihilation.  That's the first and last real RTS.

[ Parent ]

Are you serious? (1.66 / 3) (#74)
by danb on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 12:34:14 AM EST

Programmers complaining about shitty long hours and harsh deadlines?

Are you freaking kidding me?!

Much less, they're suing their company! What the hell were they expecting?!

EA, give ME a call.

Some of us programmers are working crap hours or even working in a whole different industry because we can't find good coding jobs (in this country anyway) and you EA guys are bitching? I WANT an 80 hour work week. I need to make the money now while my body is still young enough to do it.



eXtreme Programming rule: No Overtime (3.00 / 5) (#77)
by ak1 on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 06:45:40 AM EST

From http://www.extremeprogramming.org/rules/overtime.html : Working overtime sucks the spirit and motivation out of a team. Projects that require overtime to be finished on time will be late no matter what you do. Instead use a release planning meeting to change the project scope or timing. Increasing resources by adding more people is also a bad idea when a project is running late.

[ Parent ]
XP is the way (none / 0) (#120)
by eray on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:52:08 PM EST

Yes, this is true. As a seasoned software engineer, I have first hand experience with XP run projects and non-XP run projects. The ability to recognize a poor schedule and the power to change that schedule does wonders for team moral and loyalty to the project. Also, defects are lessened due to more favorable working conditions and less stress. This is a fact. Metrics prove it.

I will not buy EA games.

[ Parent ]
What's your life expectancy? (none / 0) (#100)
by Gluke on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 06:20:30 PM EST

Huh? Or you mean you've got all the life force in the world to waste? Do you exist solely to make money?

[ Parent ]
Ha. (none / 0) (#121)
by ksandstr on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 04:09:30 PM EST

You actually expect to be paid for the overtime? Ha! And here I was, thinking I'd never witness such naïve attitudes again.

Back in the real world, you're likely to end up with just above minimum wage per hour. If you'd been flipping burgers, you'd also have had about 50 hours per week more free time. Do the math.

Fin.
[ Parent ]

1/3 links work, horrible grammar = published? (1.50 / 4) (#78)
by nanobug on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 09:00:25 AM EST

I don't know where you went to school, but perhaps instead of worrying about employees filing a lawsuit against EA, you should worry about filing a lawsuit against your public school system, since they've failed you.

Sentences do not begin with 'And' or 'But', your use of punctuation is atrocious at best, and your writing style has all the flow of a maxi pad.  It is my suggestion that you keep your unreadable rants on your blog until you can figure out how to write using proper english.  I don't know how this even got voted to section.

By the way, your links are broken.


Then what about... (none / 0) (#95)
by Gabbahead on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 09:19:20 AM EST

When ever I hear criticism based on writing style, I indulge myself with Trainspotting, Fight Club and a selection of novels that tend to breakk language barriers. Yes, the piece can use some rounding and I attribute that to a lack of experience, but your suggestions are mostly short-sighted and non-constructive. I openly admit that I regard writing 'rules' as guidelines and I'm not going to make excuses for that. Language is foremost spoken and open to its own evolution.

If you find my writing unreadable, perhaps you should follow that piece of advice and not read it. Happy?

[ Parent ]

Small correction. (none / 0) (#104)
by BlueGiant on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 01:15:42 PM EST

Obviously you went to school, but then did very little learning after that. Admittedly, the author can use some tuning on his writing style. That is fair. His public school system probably did fail him (and you as well it seems.)

However, there are things about writing that you seem to need to learn, such as when rules can be "broken". And it is quite possible to begin a sentence with "and" or "but", provided one includes a the key components (that would be a subject and a predicate.) The reason why starting with conjunctions is frequently is a bad idea is that they tend to lead to sentence fragments as someone will forget the predicate, or more often the subject.


This space is intentionally left blank.
[ Parent ]

Working links (3.00 / 2) (#96)
by Gabbahead on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 09:20:31 AM EST

Apologies about the broken links:

ea_spouse blog:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ea_spouse/

EA White paper:
http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/tshah/PauschAcademicsFieldGuideToEA.pdf

Shit like this (2.00 / 2) (#99)
by Gluke on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 06:13:50 PM EST

Is why I never ever play or buy the so called "computer games". What an utter waste of time and money, and not just mine. Bored? Got lots of free time and energy? Read a fucking book!

... like *what*? (3.00 / 2) (#103)
by jtrask on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 11:51:17 AM EST

You don't play computer games because of shit like companies struggling business-wise with their large size? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense... I'm not going to buy a computer because some big computer company is having business problems? Err...

[ Parent ]
Books Are Bad (none / 1) (#115)
by milican on Wed Dec 01, 2004 at 08:59:14 AM EST

I don't read books because all that wasted paper is bad for the environment.

JOhn

[ Parent ]

The working class hero (1.66 / 3) (#106)
by FrogAlarmClock on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 04:12:09 PM EST

So EA is working to bring out the urban poor again with its hiring of illegal immigrants and pushing out good Christian folks because they "DON'T WORK HARD ENOUGH." The red states have spoken and the atheist King W is going to elminate religion to further his New Age socialist goals. And EA is at the forefront.
-*-ALLAHCANBESEEN-*-
Electronic Arts and the mighty dollar | 119 comments (90 topical, 29 editorial, 0 hidden)
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