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Devs at risk of burnout

Union calls for better conditions.

A spokesperson for broadcasting and entertainment union Bectu has warned that many game developers are being forced to work long hours under poor conditions - and that they are getting burned out as a result.

Speaking to the BBC, Bectu's assistant secretary general, Gerry Morrissey, said it was "not unusual" for development staff to work 12-16 hour days for three or four months at a time.

He added that many employees were afraid to protest in case they were replaced by younger members of staff prepared to put in the extra hours.

"People are generally happy with their pay. However, the big complaint is about the long hours culture," Morrissey said.

His comments were echoed by Bizarre Creations' Gareth Wilson, who warned: "The industry can take young, green people, put them through the mill and spit them out.

"It is extremely rare not to get some form of overtime at the end of a project. I have never worked on a project without it... But we try to avoid overtime. If we need more hours, we hire more people."

But this is not the case as far as most studios are concerned, according to Wilson, who added: "Some companies have forced staff to work long hours because they can get away with it."

Bectu is trying to encourage more game developers to join the union in a bid to improve working conditions. "We are trying to build up membership so we can go to employers' associations and show we represent the industry, the critical mass," he stated.

"We are a long way from that."

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.

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