3 Reasons Why U.S. Gaming Companies Are Awful and 2 Reasons Why European Ones Are Great
Ahhh, the American dream. To work at a gaming company and raise a family, or take a break from your toil as a game creator and take a nice vacation. Think again bucko. Just don’t get sick or it’s actually game over.
Workers in the European Union (sorry England but you voted for Brexit so… that’s on you) are entitled to 20 days of paid vacation per year. At least. Crunch is not a solely American problem in the games industry, but due to our increased reliance on contractors in the gaming industry, there are no protections in place for workers toiling for hundreds of hours on a game.
U.S. Health Care
Jesus Christ why do we even have a government? If you’re a U.S. resident, you’ve probably spent more than a little time worrying about your healthcare coverage. Any gaming companies that employ freelancers or contractors (or media companies that hire freelancers to write about games, winky frown) are usually not providing healthcare to those employees.
U.S. Parental Leave
You know when you have a baby and it’s so cheap you can just not get paid for 3 months and it’s no big deal? Oh wait. The U.S. legally protects 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. Which is…the stupidest f***ing thing I’ve ever heard. Some major gaming companies do offer paid leave, but as more companies are created with no federal protections in place, it’s bad news for any kid havers in the industry.
European Stance on Banning Loot Boxes
Besides having actual gun laws and reasonable healthcare to protect children, some European countries even want to protect them from predatory gambling masquerading as in-game randomized items, aka Loot Boxes. Diablo: Immortal recently made headlines because the “free-to-play” game will not be allowed in Belgium or The Netherlands due to Loot Boxes.
European Stance on Menstrual Leave
I’ve been pitching this idea for years. Every month as I wearily fight through the nausea and pain of a cycle I ask myself, couldn’t I just have stayed home today? And if I worked for GOG, the digital marketplace owned by Polish publisher CD Projekt Red, then the answer would be yes. Also all of Spain recently announced that they’re giving period havers menstrual leave. In the U.S. if women and peeps who bleed monthly are still getting paid less (we are), at least we should get an extra day off every once in a while.
While the abuses of employees in the gaming space are well documented, some gaming companies in the U.S. are treating their employees like actual human beings. And I’m sure somewhere in a European gaming company there’s a horrible boss or two. But overall, if anyone wants to sponsor me for citizenship, I’ve been taking French lessons.