Kotaku: Pissed Off ‘Employees’ Bash Pretty Much Every Major Video Game Company

1
Just read this at kotaku
http://kotaku.com/5940672/pissed-off-employees-bash-pretty-much-every-major-video-game-company?post=52427014

is this situation true for all? im beginning to lose hope on this industry; i have worked on one of the companies mentioned and it is exactly correct. i guess kickstarter, the app store, pre made game engines, etc pave the way for indie dev, but for the bigger, epic games is this really the price?

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  • Ace-Angel
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    Ace-Angel polycounter lvl 7
    I HOPE not...
  • Snefer
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    Snefer polycounter lvl 11
    No its not :P But it would be boring if they made an article with 500 positive/meh-reviews, wouldnt it? No one would read the article called "people are feeling ok, some enjoy their jobs, some not"
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 14
    well, they did just search for negative reviews.
  • Karmageddon
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    Karmageddon polycounter lvl 7
    This article has Feel Good written all over it
  • Stradigos
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    Stradigos polycounter lvl 9
    It's difficult to find the truth in all of this without a lot of honest perspective from those actually inside the industry. These could very easily be disgruntled ex-employees who simply didn't fit the mold, and that mold can only be filled by a certain type of individual. I have no experience in the games industry, but from what I hear, it takes a certain kind of someone. My guess is, these people had the wrong expectations going in.

    I'm not sure I can take glassdoor.com's word for it, and by extension, Kotaku's. It's kind of the same thing with ratemyprofessor.com. What kind of people do you think flock to those websites ready to blow off some steam? If your answer is, "Mostly immature people who had different expectations than what reality dictates" then you're probably correct. In other words, it's not the best indicator.

    Having said that, one of the ways to discover truth is by checking to see if there are multiple attestations. I hear -a lot- of groaning from those in the industry. Again, there's probably a lot of butt hurt based on wrong expectations, but there's also a lot of legit bad stuff going on. There's no excuse to work someone 14 hours a day. I don't care if "that's the industry we live in" or not. There's working hard and working smart. It sounds like there are lot of project managers who need to be fired.

    But that can also be said for every industry. It really seems to be true for the games industry through, where shortcuts, high turn around, and high expectations of talent are king.
  • Mark Dygert
    Kotaku: I'll take a paper bag with a big pile of crap in it.

    GlassDoor: Wouldn't you like something else, like beer?

    Kotaku: No I'll take the crap thanks and hurry, I have a deadline and I need as much of this stuff as I can cram into some kind of an article.

    GlassDoor: Ok... here's your crap...

    Kotaku: WOA this isn't my crap is it!? Are you guys hiding in the sewer or something? I live in an apartment complex how do you know what's mine!? AAAAHHHH.... (runs away screaming).

    GlassDoor: This isn't going to make us look good is it?
  • skylebones
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    skylebones polycounter lvl 9
    People that love something don't usually take the time to write about it. But people who dislike something will scream it out until the ends of the earth.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 14
    I hear people talk about politics in the game industry - I wonder if they've worked in a "normal" corporate environment and dealt with the crazy ass, high school level politics
  • Mark Dygert
    Ok getting serious...
    Regarding career development, I asked the lead game designer for WoW about what it would take for me to move from being a tools programmer to a game developer. My problem was I had no experience, and all job requirements say you need at least 2 shipped titles. Guess what his answer was!? He told me "to be quite honest, you'll probably have to leave Blizzard, get some experience else-where, then come back to work here". You've gotta be freakin' kidding me if you consider that career growth, and advancement opportunities.
    Ok you work for one of the most monolithic game studios of all time, Blizzard isn't a nursery and they don't hire saplings.

    This is like walking into Koticks office and demanding that he create a new studio, install you as head and let you do whatever you want because well you worked in the mail room for 8 years.

    You want to be a rockstar? You don't get there through osmosis, go get some skills. Don't blame the company for not inventing an entire educational pipeline so employees can flow from coffee boy/QA to designer to CEO over night.
  • adam
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    adam polycounter lvl 14
    This just in: Employers have unhappy employees.
  • ebagg
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    ebagg polycounter lvl 11
    I stopped paying attention to Kotaku, they are the TMZ of game journalism. This article is another example of how much of a sensationalist slant they use.
  • glottis8
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    glottis8 polycounter lvl 9
    I guess take it with a grain of salt? I am sure that all employees don't feel the same way, but its great to have a place where you can read salary expectations for a position and peoples pros and cons based on their PERSONAL experience.

    There are good reviews as well as bad. Read both and rationalize it. If you just base your decision on a couple of bad reviews then you might be looking at this from the wrong perspective.
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 14
    This is your typical Kotaku making a story out of nothing article.

    Take a look at what's actually on the Activision page for example -
    http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Activision-Blizzard-Reviews-E3809.htm
    The reviews run the full gamut from 1 star to 5, and I'd expect that the rest of the pages look somewhat similar (besides the Valve one).

    Glassdoor is a valuable website, but Kotaku's article is pretty misleading.
  • Ace-Angel
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    Ace-Angel polycounter lvl 7
    Ok getting serious...
    Ok you work for one of the most monolithic game studios of all time, Blizzard isn't a nursery and they don't hire saplings.

    This is like walking into Koticks office and demanding that he create a new studio, install you as head and let you do whatever you want because well you worked in the mail room for 8 years.

    You want to be a rockstar? You don't get there through osmosis, go get some skills. Don't blame the company for not inventing an entire educational pipeline so employees can flow from coffee boy/QA to designer to CEO over night.
    I beg to differ!

    600full-osmosis-jones-poster.jpg
  • BlvdNights
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    BlvdNights polycounter lvl 8
    Wait. You're telling me games journalists like to point at something negative and blow it up to a big whole controversy?? Quick, someone call Jim Sterling!

    This is no different than any other job in the history of employment. There will always be disgruntled people in any field.
  • Isaiah Sherman
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    Isaiah Sherman polycounter lvl 10
    Video game company reviews are no different than reviews of movies, restaurants, or products. Like mentioned before, people are MUCH more inclined to write something if they have a negative experience than if they had a positive experience.

    This is true in all facets of life.

    That being said, all companies in every industry have issues. If you want to work somewhere, try to get a behind-the-scenes interview with 2-3 present/past employees to see how it was at the studio.

    You'll get more honest and critical feedback by doing the research yourself.


    I do have to say shame on Kotaku, though. They purposefully took all the negatives and none of the positives. They made it sound like every company was the worst place to work, which is not true.
  • levin
    its nice if its a true meritocracy mark, but the company i previously worked for had top level producers who love to play 'game designer' and 'art director'. im just afraid this might be true for most other companies
  • Stradigos
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    Stradigos polycounter lvl 9
    http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Gawker-Media-Reviews-E40769.htm

    LOL. So, pretty much everything they posted is true about them as well. Long hours, being taken advantage of, etc. FFS.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 14
    It's just like searching for apartments - I had a nice apartment in VA but the negative reviews made it sound horrible, one reviewer wrote that it "reeked of curry". So just like apartment hunting, look at the reviews but check it out for your self during the interview.
  • Bigjohn
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    Bigjohn polycounter lvl 8
    That's a cool site. Didn't know it existed.

    Is it just me, or is Valve not on there? It seems like in general Valve is very stealth-mode in this industry.
  • artstream
  • Wells
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    Wells polycounter lvl 14
    anonymous person has bad opinion on the internets. news at 11.
  • roosterMAP
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    roosterMAP polycounter lvl 9
    lol, i love how valve is the only one that's loved. I swear every one there goes through an indoctrination process. haha
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir sublime tool
    i will make fixing this my top priority!
  • Bigjohn
  • Paradan
    I hear people talk about politics in the game industry - I wonder if they've worked in a "normal" corporate environment and dealt with the crazy ass, high school level politics

    dude, I once got written up for lowering my chair to low. the girls I worked with didn't like having to raise it back up, and yes, management took it seriously.
  • Ace-Angel
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    Ace-Angel polycounter lvl 7
    Bigjohn wrote: »
    That's a cool site. Didn't know it existed.

    Is it just me, or is Valve not on there? It seems like in general Valve is very stealth-mode in this industry.
    I think this is good, because 'drama' should only surface when truly needed, not willy nilly, as in this case.

    I mean who is to say some kid who never touched a competent software in their life, but watched millions of videos on Youtube didn't just bad mouth a company because they're a tester?

    I can count on my hands how many time something happened with Valve, and each time it truly was a concern (example, Mudds doesn't get published but Revelations 2012 does because it uses Source engine, back lash occurs, Valve gets GreenLight going).

    And as I keep on saying, Kotaku is a shit-hole of a site.

    Most of the time it's female writers coconut up an article out of blue air, in which they make their sex known pretty well every 5 seconds and bring it up with a controversial opinion and follow up with Jade-Trick retorts, guys like Tot made a huge fucking deal on why the female character in the new AC game is black, but isn't voice by a black actress (funny thing is, that it's the same VA actually voiced Ash from pokemon!), and berated the dev's for not putting up extra money for a black VA.

    I usually stick to reading articles by Luke only at this point.
  • oXYnary
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    oXYnary polycounter lvl 14
    Cmon guys. Be fair. Yes, they had to come from an angle to write that article. At the same time, it does us no good to deny there is a issue in this industry with some of the corporate big dogs mistreating their employees.

    All you are doing is attacking the messenger and not addressing the cause.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 14
    this is one of my jobs I had before the game industry:
    The Villages Media Group
  • Ace-Angel
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    Ace-Angel polycounter lvl 7
    oXYnary wrote: »
    Cmon guys. Be fair. Yes, they had to come from an angle to write that article. At the same time, it does us no good to deny there is a issue in this industry with some of the corporate big dogs mistreating their employees.

    All you are doing is attacking the messenger and not addressing the cause.
    And what exactly are gamers going to do? We're talking about a site that interacts with people who usually say stuff like "I hope everyone at EA loses their job, should teach them right for charging us money to play BF3, oh what's what? Another COD game is out? Here's 100 bucks for it!".

    This is something people internally have to deal with, get Human Rights Watch or something on the case, be active about it from within, not wait for some site to report on it randomly.
  • oXYnary
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    oXYnary polycounter lvl 14
    Ace-Angel wrote: »
    And what exactly are gamers going to do? We're talking about a site that interacts with people who usually say stuff like "I hope everyone at EA loses their job, should teach them right for charging us money to play BF3, oh what's what? Another COD game is out? Here's 100 bucks for it!".

    This is something people internally have to deal with, get Human Rights Watch or something on the case, be active about it from within, not wait for some site to report on it randomly.

    Thats the job of reporters. Should gamers not even be given a hint what happens in this industry? Should reporters have kept mum about Foxconn and Apple? As it was internal?

    Your argument holds no value.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    SHEPEIRO polycounter lvl 13
    if you read inbetween the quotes i think you can see a fair amount of positive stuff about most of the companys

    interesting read but yeah needs to be read with a pinch of salt, some sugar douhnuts, a dumpling stew and half a bag of chips
  • MainManiac
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    MainManiac polycounter lvl 8
  • aivanov
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    aivanov polycounter lvl 5
    Hugh wrote: »
    Ok so valve is doing everything right? That cannot be possible. I'm sure that has to be biased,right?

    For whatever reason, really hearing *anything*, good or bad, about Valve internally is very hard.
  • LMP
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    LMP polycounter
    Paradan wrote: »
    dude, I once got written up for lowering my chair to low. the girls I worked with didn't like having to raise it back up, and yes, management took it seriously.

    Oh my god... my Wife HATES when I lower the chair. And this is at home, no chair issues at work, though.
  • SuperFranky
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    SuperFranky polycounter lvl 6
    Hugh wrote: »
    Ok so valve is doing everything right? That cannot be possible. I'm sure that has to be biased,right?
    Valve is perfect, deal with it:thumbup:
  • SuperFranky
  • MrHobo
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    MrHobo polycounter lvl 8
    oXYnary wrote: »
    Thats the job of reporters. Should gamers not even be given a hint what happens in this industry? Should reporters have kept mum about Foxconn and Apple? As it was internal?

    Your argument holds no value.

    The thing is... They're not reporters, well not seriously.
    Game journalism has not really matured to that point yet. They're more like film critics from your papers arts section at this stage.
    At the end of the day, they're blog. Granted they're very passionate people but I'm not sure if I'd put them in the same boat as other reporters.
  • Hristo Rusanov
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    Hristo Rusanov polycounter lvl 7
    VALVE- Cons – very competitive internally (high standards)

    I just can't see how this is bad(for lack of better word)
  • Skamberin
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    Skamberin polycounter lvl 9
    Soo.. that entire article was pretty much the same as someone going on metacritic and taking only the negative reviews there to get an idea of how a game is.

    LolKotaku.
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm interpolator
    haha what the...? first that autodesk rumor, and now this?

    I can so see how this really makes you hate Ubi:
    "To go from my desk to the bathroom and back, I had to go through four security doors, using my keycard to unlock each."
    - john "diarrhea" smith (*)

    great journalism - "we went to a 'say crap about a company site' and picked one negative review to sum up the entire company! plus we took more cons than pros...". I got no problem with journalism exposing malpractices, but making blanket statements like this is just sensationalist attention whoring. But I'm having a good laugh.

    (*) did you pay attention? It's just 2 security doors for one way! unacceptable! Thinking of it, almost all companies I worked for had 2 security barriers before the loo. Although sometimes they were just door opener buzzers. Conspiracy or industry standard? you decide
  • jimmypopali
    All I heard was 'bad management, upper management don't know what they are doing'. Do these management guys come from a development background, or business school?
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 14
    Ace-Angel wrote: »
    Most of the time it's female writers coconut up an article out of blue air, in which they make their sex known pretty well every 5 seconds and bring it up with a controversial opinion and follow up with Jade-Trick retorts, guys like Tot made a huge fucking deal on why the female character in the new AC game is black, but isn't voice by a black actress (funny thing is, that it's the same VA actually voiced Ash from pokemon!), and berated the dev's for not putting up extra money for a black VA.
    Let's not do that. I have to listen to enough blather from the journos on my twitter going on endlessly about game developers being a bunch of sexist troglodytes without you proving them right. The problems are endemic to Kotaku US as a whole and from the sounds of things much of the rest of Gawker Media's network too.
  • Hazardous
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    Hazardous polycounter lvl 11
    I liken this stuff to an MMO forum. Its full of people who hate the game, while the ones that are enjoying are too busy having fun to write anything....

    You're probably always going to find the disgruntled employees talking about the bad experiences, because lets face it, in life when you feel like you get fucked over your first instinct is revenge.

    Unfortunately the opposite is generally not true - if you're feeling really great and happy about working at your company you don't go onto websites explaining why your so happy do you?

    When's the last time you came to polycount or any art forum and created a thread about how much you love creating art and you love your job and explained why it is that you love it and the great things about the company your working for?
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm interpolator
    Hazardous wrote: »
    When's the last time you came to polycount or any art forum and created a thread about how much you love creating art and you love your job and explained why it is that you love it and the great things about the company your working for?

    funny, I did that a few days ago. But yes, you're right. We're usually having too much of a good time to write about it, and who wants to read good news anyway? It's the sensationalist horror stories that sell.

    Having said that, I'm on a leadership level and people seem to complain mostly about leadership, and it gets tricky there. Even if you encourage people to tell you their problems, there's always restraint when talking to your boss about bad stuff. There's all the psychology "will they think me a whiner?", "should I be rather the sheep that follows?", "is it wise to draw too much attention to myself?", "nobody likes whistleblowers", etc.

    It can be difficult, especially with large teams, to really build a connection to employees so they speak out without fear of reprisals, so you can tackle those issues. But then again some companies don't care about a transparent work environment and rather prefer expendable sheeple than responsible employees.

    A good example is that autodesk thread - people on the bottom have no clue what's up and we were lucky enough that "management" checks out polycount so they could disperse our fears. It's similar in a company. It's often not too easy for the "high ups" to read the real mood in the trenches (assuming management cares).

    Some companies have an ombudsman who collects anonymous feedback in a professional manner (i.e. not just rumors) and sorts out the most ridiculous complaints from folks who always take offense at anything, and then mediates. But having an obudsman is rare in games.
  • Blaizer
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    Blaizer polycounter lvl 14
    This industry is only for nomads and masochists :).

    The kotaku article is not that bad and it reflects a REALITY (it may be not yours, so stay quiet and be thankful to god), give or take. The fact is that if someone still has his job... they won't say anything. You know, ignorance make happiness, and being humans, we will not move ourserlves until the bad luck touch our back.

    Since the beginning, i assumed we are just TOOLs, 3d monkeys... and the proof is in the huge amount of layoffs in this industry. Being cynical, i said once that there should be a section for the layoffs in polycount, due to the overflow of threads with layoffs. It's insane.

    That said, be happy if you found a good place to work in, but remember, have in mind all the days, that you are working in a volatile industry, you may loss your job like the guys of Radical, 38 studios, etc... BTW, there are some horror stories coming from Vigil :)

    All the companies have their shit, and it's always great to know where you can work well.

    When i buy hardware i always look for reviews, and i'm after the most negative ones in order to buy something good. In Spain we say: "when the river sounds, it's because it has water".
  • Ace-Angel
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    Ace-Angel polycounter lvl 7
    oXYnary wrote: »
    Thats the job of reporters. Should gamers not even be given a hint what happens in this industry? Should reporters have kept mum about Foxconn and Apple? As it was internal?

    Your argument holds no value.

    Reporters? Who? Kotaku? The very same site and people that bitch when their wife becomes pregnant because they couldn't attend PAX, and several times had fights with members from Polycount when they tried and voice their opinion from a professional area of things?

    Also, what exactly was achieved once the Foxconn and Apple drama came about? Nothing, it wasn't even Kotaku that got the news and reported on it, other 'bigger' sites got the news, and even then nothing happened. The ONLY reason the situation got slightly better was because the workers later on staged strikes and actually did something about it, however, in terms of 'external' help, they got nothing, just a bunch of Facebook likes.

    I'm sorry to say this, but pity isn't going to help me solve issues nor help me get a decent job, actions are on the other hand, and considering Apple didn't even get slapped with a Settlement Case for the entire issue, I would 'caring' about someone else issue has long sailed the port.
    Jackablade wrote: »
    Let's not do that. I have to listen to enough blather from the journos on my twitter going on endlessly about game developers being a bunch of sexist troglodytes without you proving them right. The problems are endemic to Kotaku US as a whole and from the sounds of things much of the rest of Gawker Media's network too.

    Not really, since I'm going to bitch if they bitch, simple as that, they're not Kings or Gods, their right to bitch about the smallest of things doesn't make it OK, especially when they nerd-bait alot, but hey, I guess drama is what they like to generate to get hits, and I have to act superior and forget about all of that!

    If I learned one thing, it's that complaining has achieved more then any superior thinking ever has.

    Also, fun-fact, Io9 and Lifehacker have none of these issues, I have seen plenty (if not, ALL) female writes on Io9/LH as well the dudes be totally OK people, without generating any drama nor LINKING to other Gawker media sites and generate cross-breeding drama (EI: Kotaku linking to Jezebel or vice versa with blanket statements on how all guys above 20 playing games are not men because you see anatomy work on their 'folio site).

    Between Joystiq, Destructoid, RPS and GiantBomb, why the fuck do people even go to this baiting site? Are 4 sites which actually do have the funny and clever in them not enough, and take an extra day or two in writing something so bad?
  • XenoKratios
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    XenoKratios polycounter lvl 8
    None for Bethesda?
  • IchII3D
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    IchII3D polycounter lvl 8
    None for Bethesda?

    I'm assuming having no reviews is a good thing... Doesn't that mean there is no one angry enough to rant? Hahaha.
  • JO420
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    JO420 polycounter lvl 14
    Blaizer wrote: »
    This industry is only for nomads and masochists :).

    The kotaku article is not that bad and it reflects a REALITY (it may be not yours, so stay quiet and be thankful to god), give or take. The fact is that if someone still has his job... they won't say anything. You know, ignorance make happiness, and being humans, we will not move ourserlves until the bad luck touch our back.

    Since the beginning, i assumed we are just TOOLs, 3d monkeys... and the proof is in the huge amount of layoffs in this industry. Being cynical, i said once that there should be a section for the layoffs in polycount, due to the overflow of threads with layoffs. It's insane.

    That said, be happy if you found a good place to work in, but remember, have in mind all the days, that you are working in a volatile industry, you may loss your job like the guys of Radical, 38 studios, etc... BTW, there are some horror stories coming from Vigil :)

    All the companies have their shit, and it's always great to know where you can work well.

    When i buy hardware i always look for reviews, and i'm after the most negative ones in order to buy something good. In Spain we say: "when the river sounds, it's because it has water".






    I completely agree, the article does reflect a reality in this industry, there may be people fortunate in this industry to have good stable jobs,with minimum overtime,decent pay and a management that looks out for their employees. But if you happen to be one of these people i think it is wrong just to dismiss people as disgruntled employees.


    When you label someone as disgruntled its like completely shrugging off what they say because they are an ex employee. Sure sometimes there are ex workers who are just looking to get back at their old companies but there are also those who would like to warn other people from going to a nightmarish work situation.

    I have my fair share of horror stories along with mates of mine who have somehow worked at worse places, just because your job is nice dont assume people who have grievances
    are just tryingto get back at their old employers.
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