Student Editorial: The hidden risks of a career in video game … – The Westerly Sun

Mostly cloudy with occasional light rain…mainly this evening. Low 37F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%..
Mostly cloudy with occasional light rain…mainly this evening. Low 37F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Updated: January 29, 2023 @ 6:20 pm

Editor’s note: The following editorial was written by a student in the senior UConn English class taught by Jessica Cawley at Wheeler High School. The members of the class are Lucy Smith, Kiara Korten, Cydney Sottile, Benjamin Nave, Jason Mazzella, Payton Osborn, Madeline O’Gara, Nora Broderick, Lexi Taylor and Cat Coombe.
Video games have been an increasingly important part of many people’s childhoods for the past 40 years. The experiences they provide remain in their memories as they grow older. Some of these people, inspired by their experiences, may take an interest in programming as a career. Imagine them, young and idealistic, stumbling upon a job at the video game studio they loved as a youth. It almost seems too good to be true — a job at a company that may have been the spark that fostered their interest in programming in the first place. Now, they get to work for that company, and help bring new memories to a new generation. It seems perfect.
And yet, what might seem perfect hides a grim reality — the life of a video game developer, and the hardships that come with it.
To understand the situation is also to understand the work environment in which these programmers find themselves. Very often, employers put an incredible amount of pressure on their workers. The development of a single video game is often a multimillion-dollar project, and the resources invested in them don’t allow failure to be an option. Any project also operates under strict deadlines, fighting to release the game on time no matter the condition of the final product. As a result, these developers are put under an incredible amount of stress.
It would be incorrect to say that these developers are paid a pittance. Their median salary is $68,936, according to However, given the stressful working conditions that these employees endure, their pay does not justify the work they have to do. Another reality of working in the game development industry is overtime, as employees are forced to work longer and longer hours to meet deadlines. This overtime is unpaid, as in most states video game developers are exempt from paid overtime, according to Game Developer Magazine. This problem is compounded by the fact that a computer programmer has a median pay of $93,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These developers are paid less, on average, than other programmers in their field, and what is there to show for it? Stress, overtime, and burnout, a cascading series of symptoms of a systemic problem.
Many of these issues can be traced back to the nature of the video game industry. The release date of a video game can have an incredible impact on its success. Video game releases are often decided based on outside competition, ideal marketing dates, and capitalizing on the market, such as releasing an anticipated game during the holidays. Because of this, delays can have a detrimental effect on the success of a video game, so there is an immense amount of pressure to ensure video games are released on time. When a game is delayed, the results for the company can be catastrophic. Back in June of 2019, the video game company Nintendo delayed the release of a game in the popular series Animal Crossing from that year to March of 2020. Their stock proceeded to drop 3.5%, which, for such a large company, signifies a billion-dollar loss. This is only one such example of how a video game delay can have disastrous results.
Even when taking this into consideration, the conditions these workers operate under are unacceptable. Companies and consumers alike must be held accountable for the toxic culture of video game releases that are the root cause of many of these problems. The release of a new video game should not come at the expense of the people working on it. In order to address the issues these developers have to work through, the cycle of video game releases must be changed. Demand and pressure must be replaced with patience and an acknowledgment of the time and craft it takes to create any video game. If these changes occur, then the futures of these developers will look much brighter. And that child, all-grown up, will be able to enter the industry they love, knowing that their future will be focused where it matters — on the artistry and craft of the genre they love.
Sponsored by Antonino Auto Group: For the 2022-2023 school year, The Westerly Sun will be selecting high school Athletes of the Week. Voting closes on Tuesday at 9am and the top selection will be announced on Thursday. The nominees for the week ending January 21 are as follows:
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Note that any programming tips and code writing requires some knowledge of computer programming. Please, be careful if you do not know what you are doing…

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