In the gaming industry "crunch" is a term used to describe working overtime, particularly when there is a fast-approaching deadline. Game developers commonly work 60-80, even up to 100 hours a week, typically during the months leading up to a game's release. Developers forced to crunch end up sacrificing weekends, time with their families, and their personal health in the process. Speaking up or refusing to do overtime can jeopardise current or future job opportunities. Japanese companies like Nintendo and Sega have significantly reduced crunch, but in western countries it remains a huge problem.
A former Rockstar Games employee explained, "If you're really passionate about the game and working there, and want to prioritise that over your life, it's a really great place to work. But if you want to prioritise your life, it's not."
In some cases overtime isn't paid, which has led to lawsuits. In 2006 Electronics Arts paid out US$30 million to settle two class action lawsuits that claimed the company underpaid its graphic artists and programmers for overtime. Rockstar Games settled a similar lawsuit in 2009 for US$2.75 million.
- Game Workers Unite is calling for the game industry to be unionized. Learn more at
Game Workers Unite