All this talk about this game journalist I never heard of made me want to chime in. This is all my opinion so read if you want.
I stopped following game journalists for the most part when Next Generation magazine went out of print. I will read an article here and there and I still watch Yahtzee game reviews for entertainment more than what he thinks of a game. I was a fan of Jim Sterling on Youtube, but he has become so focused on video game working conditions of late that I have stopped following him. I do sympathize with over worked/undercompensated workers in any industry. Things are getting worse in general for all workers across all industries in my opinion.
I used to care about insight into the video game industry when I was going to college because I desired to be a video game developer in those days. Reality set in for me and I realized how hard it was to get into the game industry and relocation to California did not appeal to me. I live in Maryland and there is a lot of government work in this state. I got into software development for the federal government and that seems to have been a more sound decision for me. The work is not as glamorous as developing a video game, but it is similar work with normal work hours and decent pay.
I do worry about how big business is treating workers across the board. I don't think game industry working conditions should be the focus of video game journalists. Gamers want to be entertained when reading a video game focused article. Real life news about companies overworking and laying off employees is already covered via other news outlets.
That's how I feel anyway.
I'm glad I unlurked, because this has been an illuminating discussion. What a nice summary you have here, one that I think myself and anyone can read and sort of "get it" a little from reading. Thanks. You did "buy" my attention mentioning Next Gen mag tho. Were you a subscriber back when they printed the names of all subscribers on pages that said, "Next Generation Salutes Those Who GET IT." I tore the page out that had my name, highlighted it, and put it on my wall for years with sticky tack. I think I was in high school.
Anyway, you've done well for yourself, certainly much better than I have! Sounds like you've had to make compromises, too, but I admire how you've navigated it.
And of course I agree with you that labor is its own issue, a serious one. And I understand what you're saying here, that maybe it could be kept separate. That said, I don't know how we deal with important, serious issues, without getting people's attention, and without trying to show them how it applies to their daily lives. But maybe we should be focusing on their daily lives rather than the daily lives of game devs. I really don't know. I also like Jim Sterling but have basically never watched him... ever... So maybe I would be annoyed too. I don't know.
Get what you're saying either way tho.
TBH I'd be more concerned with the working and living conditions of those manufacturing the consoles (and peripherals, computer equipment used to make the games, etc.) than the working and living conditions of those creating the intellectual property. I'm not saying that abusive practices don't happen among developers--crunch was/is/will be a thing. But stacked up against the wider picture of the product cycle I doubt very much it's the most abusive part of said cycle. And in the end, the surplus value trickles upward (to shareholders and/or investors).
You are 100% correct, of course. I would hope we are able to walk and chew gum at the same time and advocate for those folks as well (I think a broader labor movement focuses on this, not Schrier), but we don't want to turn a blind eye toward ourselves either... or the rest of the "supply chain"-- and you are still 100% correct IMO all that said
I think this is probably because advocacy seems like a novelty to you. You said yourself you don't spend a ton of time reading it. I'm on twitter all the time and people are constantly yelling at me and trying to tell me what to believe. It's my own fault to some extent; I've sought it out and gotten into those opinion spaces. That's why I'm sick of it.
I can't relate to other people telling you game devs have it great. Working 80 hours a week, even for a six figure salary, sounds like hell to me. I do think labor conditions could probably use some improvement and I bet Jason is probably doing something to help further it. That doesn't mean I want to consume or trust his writing.
Advocacy is generally a gross space to me even if it's a necessary evil because I have a very small amount of tolerance for untruth.
Okay, got you. Even if I don't feel that way, I do get it, and as you said, maybe if I were all over the internet still, I'd feel the same way. I guess I can't comment without knowing the specific untruths of which you speak. I think I have a tolerance for hyperbole if I know people are suffering, and I also have a pretty broad view of suffering that not only includes people living in horrendous conditions, but also you and me, and goofy game devs driving fancy cars and working 80 hours... (although I do think the majority of the gaming industry does not make six figures... I think that's mostly the nasty CEOs and their underlings... thinking of Activision's Bobby Cotick (sp?) who has been in the news for almost as long as I've followed gaming news), but it's all over the place).
I appreciate your opinion and will be thinking about it. I have never thought of advocacy as necessary evil... though you might be right... one of those things that should not have to be necessary, is how I have thought about it I suppose.
You think we play games because our lives suck? I can’t even justify that with an intellectual response.
I think, in general, animals (people) "play" in order to expand their awareness. There's also some type of make-believe involved. We do this regardless of whether our lives suck, but if the "real" world isn't providing enough stimulation (i.e. because of crap conditions), we might be inclined to do it even more, IF we have the energy and time. If not, we will be more like most Americans, who watch a lot of TV (something like 40 hours per week) and "play" vicariously. Many will watch others "game" instead of doing it themselves. But I think vicarious play is still play.
So, sure, we will probably do it regardless, whether our lives suck or not, provided we have time/agency. I think lack of agency is why a lot of people play, and if people have less and less agency in real life, playing might help even more.
There is also a space people can fall into, which I think is most "first-world" people, from the times of the Roman Empire and earlier until now, where we are just unhappy but pacified by whatever coping methods we've found. I think it was Marcus Aurelius who referred to this as "bread and circus," i.e. keep people fed and "playing" (whether vicariously or not), and they can't advocate much. I am not blaming games for being circus. Even our bread is circus now. It is just all meant to milk us dry while making is feel temporarily better.
I think video games provide much more value though personally!
If you are not playing games to improve your life (i.e. have fun and expand your awareness), you may need a new hobby or replacement behavior for an addiction, but I think even people who we would argue have great lives, still play to expand their awareness and make up for a lack.
If your life is great, then I hope you have the time/spirit/gumption advocate for the rest of us. Whether we are here with you or on the third-world, as was pointed out above...
Anyway, thanks everybody. That was nice. Reminds me why I like CAG so much. I feel like this is a vestige of leftovers from the "old internet" before facebook and whatever else changed it.