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EA Spouse Outed 104

patio11 writes "EA Spouse, who sparked a revolution (or, at least, a wave of lawsuits and promises for improvement) in the game development industry with a blog post decrying labor practices at Electronics Arts, was outed as Erin Hoffman in a Mercury News article. She and then-fiance, now-husband Leander Hasty were plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against EA and continue to develop games and be activists for better working conditions for game developers." From the article: "More than a year later, game developers have won settlements in three class-action lawsuits alleging EA created exhausting work schedules without paying overtime and successfully pressed employers to ease unrelenting workloads. And EA Spouse, whose true identity has been cloaked until now, is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork."
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EA Spouse Outed

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  • by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:42AM (#15211612) Homepage
    Whats interesting here is the guy used to work at taldren, who as I recall made Starfleet Command, and then went to work on Battle For Middle earth for EA.
    SFC was seriously good, and BFME sucked big ones. So it seems clear even if it was not already obvious that working people to death WILL result in substandard dross games, even if they obviously have the talent.
    Sadly BFME probably made mroe money, so the suits at EA who probably dont even like games dont give a damn.
    Thank god I left that stupid industry to work as an indie.
  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:48AM (#15211662) Homepage
    Well duh; if you're already working 7x13, would you still care about working the extra time to make it anything better than the worst quality you can get away with without getting fired?
  • by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:52AM (#15211692)
    Sleep deprived cranky game developers can't possibly be very creative, can they?

    Also unrealistic deadlines have a negitave effect on creativity.
    EA is a victim of it's size... they have a huge pressure to be sucessfull so huge in fact that they lose sight of what really makes games (and all art) great.

    Great inventive games do not always sell a lot of copies and that is the real crime here... EA wouldn't make crap if people didn't buy crap and then complain about it (but not return it because the big chains have made quality of product not a reason for a refund... but that is a diffrent rant.)

    Demand quality and don't settle for buggy incomplete games and this "problem" of overworked developers might just solve itself... or at least save gameing from a slow painfull death.
  • by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <info@nOsPAM.devinmoore.com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:05AM (#15211797) Homepage Journal
    It shouldnt be a surprise that if you want people to work longer than a 40-hour week but you don't pay them for overtime, that you will get an inferior result. What exactly is the employee's motivation other than termination? That's like a prison mentality, 'either break these rocks or we beat the crap out of you. Once you're done breaking the rocks, we'll beat the crap out of you.' Not much to look forward to except a delay of additional punishment in terms of more longer hours in the future.

    Eventually people will favor creativity, and people like me will 'herd the cats' and make some sweet games. Until then, have fun with John Madden 20XX!
  • entitlement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:19AM (#15211917) Journal
    is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork."

    As opposed to the culture of entitlement in most european countries?
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:20AM (#15211929) Homepage Journal
    So it will be awhile before we're like the Europeans.

    We don't want to be like the Europeans. Generally speaking, the US produces far more and creates much more wealth than most European countries. This is not only good for the economy as a whole, but it's also a good way to increase personal income [finfacts.com] and purchasing power. Europe knows this, and thus countries like France [cbsnews.com] are starting to repeal some of their Draconian employee protection laws.

    The problem in the US is that some employers abuse the strong work ethic. They only see graphs that say More Work == More Profit without properly understanding how things like employee exhaustion and low morale impact their bottom line. They also fail to understand that far more work can be produced by improving working conditions and morale rather than demanding slave hours. Unfortunately, many employees are reticent to change jobs during times of economic uncertainty, and they're also cautious about bringing suits against their employer. Thus some (not all) employers get away with it for a time. However, it can't last, and employers end up shooting themselves in the foot long-term.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:50AM (#15212196) Homepage Journal
    I found my effective personal income and purchasing power was greatly increased by the sorry state of the Dollar compared with the Euro.

    Putting aside the remark about the "sorry state" of the dollar (it's only a 1.2:1 ratio for the Euro, yeash), the lower value of the dollar is intended for exactly what you're using it for: Encouraging US production and foreign purchases. Thus your money is going into US pockets instead of European pockets. Which is good for the US at the moment, and very, very bad for the EU countries currently experiencing a recession.

    The dollar gets adjusted above foreign currency when wealth creation gets out of hand. This shifts the equation more towards the US becoming a world consumer and the rest of the world becomes producers. In short, money fluctuatations are what keep countries economically strong, and not a very good indicator of general health.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:05AM (#15212340)
    When I worked at EA, it wasn't simply "endless long hours". It was 12-16 hour days, every day including weekends, for 4-5 months straight. And I mean literally no weekends off during that time. I've worked places with crazy overtime required, but EA really takes the cake.
  • I'm not so sure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Malakusen ( 961638 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:44AM (#15212752) Journal
    And EA Spouse, whose true identity has been cloaked until now, is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork." Does America really have a culture of overwork, compared to other countries? Sure, we may work harder then Brazil or France or something, but India, China, Japan, Korea, alot of places like that are kicking our ass because we tend towards laziness.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @06:36PM (#15216588) Journal
    It is their way of life. Are they right? Well it all depends on what you use as measurement and how you measure it.

    Some very silly people use money as a measurement forgetting totally that money does not have the same value. 1 dollar in say New York has a totally different value then 1 dollar in say Greece. Hell everyone knows this is even true in far small areas like say New York vs Hicksville.

    So any comparison between the money produced by either economy is silly. Even more if you realise that even in europe working hour practices are different. The brits for instance lean far more to american working hours.

    So who is right?

    Funny thing but one of those wise lessons from american sitcoms/dramas is that nobody on their death bed ever regretted not having spend more time in the office.

    If you do not live to work then surely the only sensible number of hours to work is the amount you need to be able to afford to live right?

    So how much do you need to live? This can get very funny. It starts simple. Cheap supermarkets are open from 8 to 8 in Holland. (Can't say for the rest of the world so don't attack me for that). There are a few that stay open later but they typically charge more and only carry the brand names (wich are more expensive) and don't have sales. The cheapest places to get food however is the market wich opens officially at 8 but is usually closing as early as 16:00.

    So now you get the following effect. If your unemployed you got the least amount of money BUT have the time to shop at the cheapest place, the market. If you got a 40 hour 8-5 job the market is out so you need to shop at the regular but slightly more expensive supermarket. More money but your also spending more on food. Now if you work longer hours and can't make the regular opening hours you need the special stores at train stations. More money offcourse in salary but your food expenses shoot up. Work even more and you won't even have time to cook and eating in restaurants or takeaway really becomes fucking expensive.

    Kids follow a similar pattern. The more you work, the more you make but also the more you spend on childcare. I had one co-worker who flatly refused to work on a friday (4 day contract) unless the company paid him double since that was his day to take care of the kid and if he worked on friday his entire salery would go to childcare meaning he effectlivly worked for nothing AND missed out on spending time with his child.

    Same with other stuff. You can eat better cheaper and healthier if you can shop for fresh food every day. Don't have the time? Pay more AND pay for a huge fridge and the electricity.

    The above is not just crap made up by some slashdot idiot. The effect that being going from unemployed to employed while leading to an increase in salary actually ends up with the person having less money is a big problem for countries with a decent social security system.

    Some of you may even have experienced the effect of a promotion and payment increase actually ending up with you having less "free" money because all of sudden you need to buy rounds not of beer but whiskey or wear real suits or chip in for golf clubs instead of mousemat birthday gifts.

    Whenever I see someone defend a 80 hour workweek because they are more productive I don't even bother with trying to reason that such a person will be too tired at work to do a decent job. I just wonder how that person finds enough free time to actually have some fun. Congrats that you earn twice as much as me. I will be sure to envy you while I am sitting with my feet up in the sun after a short day at work.

System checkpoint complete.