I have worked at 3 game studios - Amaze Entertainment (now Griptonite), Sony Online Entertainment, and now Microsoft. I've worked on the PSP, PS3, PC, and Xbox One. I have worked on relatively short cycle year long games as the main programmer, I've written back end software for MMOs as a core-tech guy (mostly removed from the game) and as a part of the game team. I've worked on more MMO titles than most devs.
The closer you are to the game, the more hours you're going to work. SOE was particularly bad - I worked there for 6 years and only had a single real raise. The first two years was on a core tech team that was really awesome. My manager was super experienced, and we set time lines and expectations for raises, and he followed through. I learned a lot, and was making my way up. But then the team evaporated and I was put directly on a game team. I was promised bonuses that regularly fell through. "When we hit Alpha in June, you'll all get bonuses!" - Great! Oh... the game doesn't hit Alpha in June? Well, there goes June.. July... August... Game gets a facelift... Alpha the next year in June! Or July, or August. Get used to that. And promotions? Few and far between, and they always pull the "no promotions until we ship" card, which if you're working on a 6-year long dev cycle for an MMO doesn't make sense. I don't know of a single programmer who got a promotion while at SOE for the last 4 years when I was working there. At most places, if you're not directly on a team, you get a standard bonus at the end of the fiscal year - it's not huge, but it's pretty reliable. If you are on a game team, you get milestone bonuses instead, which get pushed around, and without fail they always claim that the parking lot will be filled with Ferrari's.
Management is usually bad. My last boss seemed bipolar about my performance. One month it was "Great! On track for a promotion at alpha!" to "We really expect you to put in 60 hours a week." When you're young and fresh into the industry, don't have a wife or kids, you can do 60 hours a week. But you're going to feel miserable doing it when you're trying to have a reasonable work/life balance, and with experience you'll realize that 60-hour weeks for a year is not sustainable. There was a month when I did 90+ hours every week to help a project ship on time - I didn't get a bonus, didn't get any time off, nothing, even though my manager for the project praised my work.
Of course, there is a reason I still work in games. The most passionate programmers are working in games. You get to do something you absolutely love, with really smart people, and make pretty good money doing it. At Microsoft I'm a bit more removed from the game team - which means I do my 40 and I go home. I think that you have to strive to find the balance that you want. I can't see myself ever trading my job for some boring programming position outside of games.