Feeling Crunched: Labor Conditions in the Video Game Industry

(Source) As we react to another spike in the coronavirus pandemic, many people are wondering how our work lives will change in the distant future of a post-COVID-19 world. One hope is that employers will be more understanding of a work-life balance and reevaluate the eight-hour workday. However, we know that burnout is a real threat that not only impacts productivity levels, but also can lead to a decline in physical and mental health. One industry that is thriving during the pandemic has been grappling with a work culture of burnout and overworked employees for a while now: the video game industry. Americans spent $10.86 billion on video gaming in the first quarter of 2020, the highest total in U.S. history. While people have been using video games to socialize and to experience nature in health-safe ways, the video game industry has been struggling with many of the same logistical hurdles in production as other industries, leading to conditions that feel familiar to many a video game developer: crunch. Crunch, also called “crunch time” or “crunch mode,” was first coined to describe intense periods where software programmers would work extra hours for extended periods of time to meet deadlines or [read more]