Jason Schreier: “Covid Is Forcing Video Game Companies to Rethink Remote Work”

1 : Anonymous2021/10/15 15:46 ID: q8r677
Jason Schreier: "Covid Is Forcing Video Game Companies to Rethink Remote Work"
2 : Anonymous2021/10/15 15:53 ID: hgr2pj4

"covid is forcing video game companies to rethink remote work"

ID: hgrcveo

rethink remote work"

mine thinks its a big fat nope despite working from home for the past year and half or more.

ID: hgt4kvq

Crazy right? I’ve been WFH for two years with 0 problems, actually saw an increase in productivity and quality for my work. Yet, for some reason, I had to return to office this week and sit in a big ass cubicle farm, everybody separated by three desks for social distancing and have to wear a mask for 8 hours. What the fuck is the point? I swear it’s about control.

ID: hgr396v

It seems so insanely obvious, but there are so many people that seem to have zero understanding of how game dev works, so maybe this is more helpful than it would first appear?

ID: hgr91sj

Cannot read the article due to paywall but to me it should be possible to do like 90% of game dev work from home. Obviously some things like mo-cap, audio recording are not as easy. My only concern is how much WFH affects creativity. You always hear about it but in our case (working on software) this has been a non-issue

ID: hgsckm8

Yes, but this is a video gamer journalist covering the subject for a major paper. He’s making a larger point through his worldview.

We need more articles like this in every industry, because a ton of executives are excusing the resounding cultural drumbeat with “yes, but my industry is an exception because _____”, which is a fallacy for any company that does its work on computers. (Obviously you can’t be a remote limberjack...yet. Farm tractors are controlled by satellite now, and the driver is just there to sit as a liability protection.)

ID: hgtmkzt

And like.... Last year already lol.

What is this post

3 : Anonymous2021/10/15 16:33 ID: hgr8kvn

It's a move for the better, as it potentially means people don't have to move to an area where housing is stupidly expensive, yet despite that their job barely covers the means of living there. It also opens up positions for those with accessibility issues, be it physical or mental.

My only worry is companies hiring people living in, let's give an example, the North West of England, will want to pay that person much much less for doing the same job as someone living in London. We already see some companies wanting to pay less because people aren't travelling, despite the fact the previous pay had fuck all to do travelling (the amount was never taking that into consideration, especially since for many positions it barely took into consideration the higher cost of living in that area).

Hopefully, those companies will be few and far between, and their ancient ways of thinking will be a case of them either being dragged into relevancy or else fall into irrelevancy.

ID: hgscwu3

I love remote working, but it is going to fuck people in places like San Francisco, because I can do the same job for half the price and still have a larger house, better car, and take more luxurious vacations. I imagine “antiUber” type laws are around the corner that prevent remote working across state lines to “assure taxes are spent in their appropriate provinces.”

Montreal is already on the way there, according to the article:

Some game companies are taking a wait-and-see approach, such as hiring developers in other cities and leaving it ambiguous as to whether they will eventually have to relocate. And sometimes government oversight complicates the plans. In Quebec, which has attracted thousands of game developers by offering generous tax credits to companies that hire employees in the province, that means publishers like Ubisoft must hit certain staffing thresholds in order to continue receiving the perks. But remote workers wouldn’t count toward those totals, making it more difficult for Montreal-based game studios to be quite as flexible.

4 : Anonymous2021/10/15 16:55 ID: hgrbtac

Companies built out their infrastructure to work remote, so why not use it more?

5 : Anonymous2021/10/15 16:22 ID: hgr6zpz

It changed remote work thinking at the company I got hired at in February and because of that my life has been changed for the better.

Wouldn't have had this opportunity otherwise and without COVID and the increased attention on remote work, I don't know if I would have ever focused my job search on working remotely even when my skillset is perfect for it.

Video games are a little bit different I'm sure with the high levels of secrecy, but if they can figure that out it will be a huge boost for people in smaller cities that can't or don't want to relocate.

ID: hgrcg1w

There's nothing special about video game companies. I'm a software engineer for a global company and have been working remotely for over a decade, way before COVID happened. My company's headquarters is an 8 hour drive away. I deal with confidential information and software code daily. Video game companies can make it work. I think a lot of companies still have that old school mindset that if they can't see you, you're not working. If anything, I actually find myself working more when I'm at home since I'm not wasting time getting ready and driving to and from work.

ID: hgrwraz

There's nothing special about video game companies

There is obviously the creative side of the process where visuals and discussions are can be more valuable in person. Seems really ignorant to just discount that

ID: hgrsxi8

There's nothing special about video game companies.

Yes there absolutely is. Just like television and film post-production has special needs and can't just 'go remote' like most office workers.

They'll deal with much larger file sizes for assets than a traditional software company - art assets, audio/video files, etc. That shit ain't tiny and doesn't all fit nice and cozy onto drobox.

They'll be set up for networked storage at their studios with a network infrastructure that likely cost millions to set up in the first place. That network infrastructure doesn't translate to remote work so easily.

It's all doable, absolutely, but it's an investment and an undertaking - they have to establish a whole new workflow, a way to share content easily and efficiently, and keep it all secure.

ID: hgsuugb

The difference is, I don't need Word or Excel to entertain me. I just need them to work. Game developers are in the entertainment industry. Getting creative people in a room together can be important.

ID: hgrev43

It depends on what you do.

I work in consulting and face to face is preferred for different situations. We do a lot of work remotely though too.

Software engineering seems easier to do remotely given that it doesn’t involve as much people interaction. But many IT firms were doing this way before covid. My friend who works in software engineering barely went into their office even before Covid.

ID: hgrjbri

Yep, you said it perfectly.

What people have to remember is how it has been done in the VG business is intentionally regressive for some bullshit "how it's done / you're not passionate enough" reasoning.

Same reason why getting credit in this biz is so awful. If you contributed anything to the production of a videogame, no matter how small, you should get credit for it. But many companies run by this arbitrary and punishing mindset, like excluding you from credits unless you cross the finish line, to keep people into their role and in the company.

It's about time the VG business gets up to date with the rest of the software industry, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Although, this isn't to say everything is peachy in the software industry as is, just that the VG biz is hopelessly behind in certain areas.

ID: hgt84j6

Yep the job I had when Covid hit ended up just permanently shifting remote and it was great. I actually don't mind working in an office (I like the general social nature), but not having to worry about drive times and traffic was so huge

6 : Anonymous2021/10/15 16:56 ID: hgrc03t

I'm a video game developer here in Montreal Canada and pretty much every major video game studios has adopted the work from home permanently even when all the pandemic will be over. It's to the point that if a studio doesn't offer it, it is now a negative and will turn away potential candidate.

ID: hgsivbf

Do companies provide computers for their employees to use or are they expected to already have capable machines? I would assume that development takes some pretty beefy computers, but I know nothing about development

ID: hgsjrjk

Depends of the company or the type of work you do. On my old job, we had work computers set up at the studio and we were connecting via vpn remotely from our own computer. So it was like streaming for work. But obviously it's not ideal for all type of work, so they did provided work computer to bring at home when needed.

At my current job, they provides everyone with computer to work at home.

ID: hgtk2aa

One company I've worked for.
Every user has a virtualized machine. Some with a very beefy virtualized machine. Most employees have never had a physical machine in the office, just a device allowing them to access this virtualized machine.

So far the people having the most trouble are those very computer illiterate and those who have chosen unwisely not to have a personal computer.

It's really a case of having a solid network connection, multiple monitors, and the area to do work.

Some people do and some don't. A few people come into the office and many others don't.

At another job, people were working from laptops anyway, so they just needed a decent connection to the server which was made possible by the VPN.

ID: hgsmq3e

Makes sense, I would absolutely hate having to move across the country (or even out of it) every time I got a new job. Remote work just makes sense if they want to keep their best staff members and not burn people out on the treadmill.

ID: hgsj1bv

Not a videogame dev here. But across the IT industry as a whole I've seen quite a large shift from everyone that we expect work from home either in part or whole.

Any company that expects people to come into an office is putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage, they're committing slow commercial suicide.

7 : Anonymous2021/10/15 22:47 ID: hgsogjv

I work at a AAA studio and they've been amazing during the pandemic and with working from home. However, they still want to return to the office and are not providing permanent remote working.

8 : Anonymous2021/10/16 07:29 ID: hgu4jlt

As a programmer myself that worked 100% from home and now working 3 days from home and 2 days from office (aka, hybrid) I can safely say working 100% from home gets stale at some point.

I like the hybrid model way way more.

ID: hgve6yi

Not for me. I was working from home for 2 years and im still loving it. Sure, I dont got “work friends” but I get to answer calls a few times an hour while I play video games. Way better then the whole “ find something to do” bs every job makes you do.

9 : Anonymous2021/10/15 17:17 ID: hgreznl

Water reported as being wet.

ID: hgrmt26

Seriously. 24 months in and Jason got a tip that people have started working from home recently …

ID: hgsu1ot

Well he did work at Kotaku for almost a decade. The outlet whose parent company said in court they'd publish porn of children as young as 3.

10 : Anonymous2021/10/16 02:14 ID: hgtccrr

I am a game developer for big companies. Remote work works perfectly fine when we working on mobile titles. The von set up is easy and even after corona we will most likely keep it WFH. In general the tasks gets done and the quality of life increases by a lot in general. For more demanding projects for PS5, we have to work in the office since the risk of leaks are too high especially for triple AAA titles. After 2 years I am back in the office working on a huge game but after 1 week I just realized how much more I can get done by working from home. And I mean the usual stuff, grocery, time management better sleep schedule. I actually prefer working from home. And it shows that our working culture does not work to take care of everything on your own after a 10 hour work day. That is what I realized. So hopefully the work culture will change to 4 days a week like other countries testing out at the moment or 6 hours per day.

11 : Anonymous2021/10/15 20:12 ID: hgs49yn
12 : Anonymous2021/10/15 21:12 ID: hgscivo

Is this 2 year old article?

13 : Anonymous2021/10/15 19:39 ID: hgrzpez

Plz copy paste the text since half the population are now ban from him. Thank you.

14 : Anonymous2021/10/15 21:25 ID: hgse3a4


ID: hgsu99x


15 : Anonymous2021/10/15 18:10 ID: hgrmw8k

On a recent episode of the “Pivot” podcast there was an interview with MS CEO Satya Nadella where he talked about remote work. Overall his impression regarding work-from-home productivity was positive with the exception of game development. He specifically called out that corner of their workforce as “needing to be together.” Take that for what you will.

16 : Anonymous2021/10/15 20:26 ID: hgs6a9d

The office building I work at went full remote last year.

Laid off 20 maintenance staff and cut all grounds contract work (5 businesses that depended on that).

Now every other business in the area wants to do that.

If a drone won't take your job public safety and convenience will.

Crime is already on the uptick and I fear it will only get worse now.

17 : Anonymous2021/10/15 20:18 ID: hgs51qq

I mean, this counts to all companies out of videogames.

18 : Anonymous2021/10/15 22:39 ID: hgsnikx

I wonder how remote work is affecting work of game dev studios. I have impression that this type of work involve a lot of close collaboration with others and I think that is just harder working remotely.

ID: hgtjdy4

Being in enough environments. Yes they require collaboration but not the kind where you need to being in the same room 5 days a week. We have plenty of tools to collaborate, it's just about learning to be comfortable with them.


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