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Here's Why Game Developers Are More Satisfied Now

Good news from the world of game development: all the outrage over crunch appears to have made a positive change. The 2019 edition of the International Game Developers Association's Developer Satisfaction Survey indicates that workplace conditions have improved. Devs are less crushed by crunch.


Before we get to all the improvements, it should be noted that crunch is still a widespread issue in the industry. The survey reports that 41% of devs said that their job involves crunch. Crunch means long, desperate hours of trying to meet a deadline, oftentimes without additional pay. (The IGDA indicates that only 8% of devs received paid overtime.)

Less crunch than before

All that said, the crunch rates are evidently lower than before. In 2017, over half (51%) of devs reported working crunch time.

During 2017, many Rockstar developers were pushing through a two year crunch. Yes, you read that right. Typically, crunch time is expected to last for a couple months at most. In order to deliver on the lofty promises Rockstar had made about Red Dead Redemption 2, devs had to work back-breakingly hard. At the time, inside sources reported that they had been encouraged to stay in the office as long as possible. Some offices even offered laundry services and three square meals in order to keep their workers from having to head home.


In 2017, 53% of devs reported that their organization expected crunch or overtime hours out of their employees. Now in 2019, 42% say that they're expected to put heads down and give in to crunch.

Still more work to do

The Developer Satisfaction Survey does carry some bad news, in terms of some progress lost from the 2017 survey.

In the conclusion of the 2019 report, the IGDA says, "many respondents (65%) felt that there is not equal treatment and opportunity for all in the industry. In addition to this, 45% of respondents perceived inequity towards themselves and 65% towards others on the basis of gender, age, ethnicity, ability, or sexual orientation. These numbers are higher than the 2017 DSS and continued monitoring is required to determine whether this reflects sampling effects or persistent trends."


There's still work to be done, apparently, but in some ways the industry has improved.