Kotaku is running an interesting article covering Chris Pfeiffer and Max Garber, formerly of Insomniac, have decided to split and set up a new studio in China. The reason? Lifestyle.
"It isn't the days when Atari programmers were going catatonic at their desks, but people haven't been able to wrap their minds around the fact that individuals are internally self-throttled."
The new studio, Balanced Worlds, claims of offer developers just that, a balance between your life and work worlds. I am not sure why being based in China makes this any more possible than being in the US or France. Sure, the law states that no one may work more than 11 hours a day or have more than 36 hours of overtime a month. Of course the laws in China are creatively enforced provided one has the right friends.
Balanced Worlds plans on offering their employees three free meals a day, dry cleaning, car wash, grocery and maid service. This is possible due to the relatively low wages of some sectors in China. Given China's consistent economic growth how long can these low wages really last? While the perks are nice, it sounds very much like a studio where employees do not leave to go live their life.
There are a lot of complaints about crunching. Can you really get away from it by changing your environment or is it just an ugly aspect of game development? entertainment in general? Friends of mine in television and film ( one was the visual effect supervisor for the upcoming and highly anticipated Frank Miller adaptation 300, the other was a costume designer for CSI:New York ) often have work schedules as or more grueling than video game crunch time. This is balanced by relatively high salaries and copious time off. Is this crunch really such a problem?
Because if they offer a Chinese 500$ per month, he'll agree to work 24 hours a day. That's how he's going to have a balance between private life and career: he won't have any private life at all. Except during Chinese New Year :)
YID YANG Wrote:
Still expensive. $300 over here. Free if you are a poor long distance relative.
Yeah, sure, I said if they offer 500$... My wife works 8 hours per day in an international trading company and gets 200$ per month... A university professor has the same salary.
More or less the same then. Minimum wage in the highest paying province in Indoland is 80 bucks per month. Though people get by with 30 buck per month.
My $1400/mo seems low to me, but in comparison, it sure is a lot. Of course, bills account for almost all of that, so it is just enough to "get by" where I am living.
Earning 1400$ per month in the US is proportionally much less than earning 500$ in China. The important part is not how much you earn, but how much you have to spend. Most Chinese spare money for many years and then buy an apartment for their child. So young Chinese usually shouldn't worry about paying rent. The bills? Only electricty bills are expensive (average about 12$ per month), but many Chinese tamper with the counter so that they won't have to pay at all. Food? It's ridiculously cheap. Eating outside is almost cheaper than buying products and cooking at home. We usually spend about 7$ per day on food (two people), and we are almost always eating outside. Sometimes even outrageously expensive things like Kentucky Fried Chicken, in which four large chicken parts + eight chicken wings + large bottle of coke cost 6$. Clothes are expensive only if you buy from well-known brands; if you are satisfied with pirated copies, you can easily buy, for example, a pair of shoes for 8$. Original PC games cost about 7$...
Yeah, I know very little about how money compares around the world or how the cost of living compares. Though some of your prices aren't all that far off from what I can find here. Shoes, for example, can be around $20 and eating out (fast food-style or even certain places, like Bickford's) tends to run under $10 per person. So shoes and food are only double here. The electricity, though, is very cheap. Heat (Gas)+Elec tends to be $120-$160/month during the winter months and $70-90/month in the summer. Summer is really just electricity and cooking, so you can figure that most of that cost is the electric bill and I don't use an A/C unit.
I guess the biggest thing is the rent, though. I'd love to save the $575/month that I pay in rent (and that's cheap where I live).
This industry is no longer that young. The industry needs to follow the same labour laws as everyone else, and the workers must be organised. As it stands, the games industry is one where few people ever manage to stay on for any longer time, let alone until retirement.
Игги Друге Wrote:
Why must the workers organize? Game developers are pretty well paid, at least compared to similar industries even more so when you consider the work is often creative in nature. Much more so than say working on a fixed income trading system.
developer slary survey
The trade off for the casual, creative environment and decent pay is ... well ... crunching close to launch.
Like I said, during TV shooting she, my costumer friend, shows up an hour or two before the actors arrive and leaves an hour after the shoot ends. 5am to 9pm six days and some times more. However she gets the whole summer off. If you are into fashion, costumes, dress making etc there are few good paying job that do not come with the grueling hours.
All organizing is going to do is make it more expensive to make games and drive development overseas to low wage countries like manufactoring and textiles. This is probably the REAL reason those guys opened a China office not the quality of life.