The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) just released findings from its 2017 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS), which looks at issues, demographics and working conditions for people in the video game industry.
Crunch, long hours, and unpaid overtime have been issues in the video game industry for years — the anonymous EA Spouse letter first brought the issue of crunch to international attention in 2004 — and the annual DSS allows us to see how prevalent it remains.
According to this year’s report, it remains quite prevalent. This year, 51 percent of respondents indicated that their jobs involve crunch. A further 44 percent reported working long or extended hours. That’s a shift from last year, when 65 percent reported crunch and 32 percent reported long or extended hours.
While that shift could indicate a move away from the practice of crunch, it’s not entirely good news. Less than half of this year’s respondents said that they worked a regular schedule of 40-44 hours per week. Instead, long hours seem to have been normalized for many developers, with nearly a third working between 45 and 59 hours a week in their regular, non-crunch schedule.
Extended hours can have a negative impact on developers’ physical and mental health. Unmitigated overwork can also be detrimental to productivity, job performance, and ultimately, the success and quality of the game produced by overworked employees. For more details on the hazards of crunch and how they can be avoided, see Crunch Hurts, a white paper commissioned by Take This.