Exploited Game Workers Win This Round
The life of the game designer/programmer has not been portrayed through our reading and the news as a glamorous one. There are countless stories that emerge about arduous hours and poor working conditions along with the fear to speak-up regarding their rights (as to not be branded a “trouble-maker”). But this week, a Utah game developer pays the price for his abuse.
David M Rushton of Sensory Sweep Studio in Salt Lake City, was found guilty in a rare criminal case regarding the nonpayment of employee wages, and now must pay over $1.2 million in compensation as well as serve 6 mos. in prison for tax fraud and racketeering.
Sensory Sweep Studio, like so many development companies, was known for churning out games quickly, taking a percentage of royalties from moviemakers and others.
Employees interviewed regarding the case, although angry about being denied their wages, seemed not surprised about its occurrence. One of the over 211 employees slighted expressed that getting paid “next Friday” became the running office joke.
“Much like with an ex-girlfriend, I’ve just moved on,” said one employee. “I’m a realist. I understand I’m not going to see any money. I’m not as bitter as I was when this all started going down years ago.”
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