New People Make Games Video Examines How Big Publishers Exploit Outside Labor

Publishers are outsourcing more than ever to finish video games, which results in an unsurprisingy amount of crunch for developers outside of Europe and the US.

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Video games are massive undertakings for any company these days, and while one primary developer works on the main part of a game, it's not uncommon for it to outsource work to another studio across the world. YouTube channel People Make Games has highlighted this practice, which unsurprisingly reveals that many of these satellite game development studios force its employees to endure brutal levels of crunch.

People Make Games host Chris Bratt spoke to 19 current and former developers across two Southeast Asian studios, discovering that the games industry continues to profit from a huge amount of unpaid labor. Employees were working 70-hour weeks while only being paid for 40 of those hours, often spending late nights at their workstations and clocking in on weekends to meet unrealistic deadlines.

As for why anyone would commit to such brutal periods of crunch, the employees interviewed explained that they were hoping that their efforts would allow them to land jobs at established studios, but this often led to them feeling completely burnt out by the time they'd finished running through the development gauntlet.

One notable example of this that Bratt's video covered was Lemon Sky Studios in Malaysia, which has been accused of exploiting its 300 employees while working on games such as The Last Of Us Part 2, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Gears 5.

"Everyone was so stressed out, I had a friend who cried at work, in the bathroom too, because she couldn't handle it," one former Lemon Sky Studio employee told Bratt. "Another friend would often get only three hours of sleep and basically go home to shower."

You can learn about how big studios and publishers make use of external studios and a whole lot more, in the excellently informative video above.

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