After releasing “Fable: The Journey” for Xbox Kinect, Microsoft laid off about ten percent of it’s developer staff at Lionhead Studios. Following my theme of precarity from last week, we see that this situation is not too different than the television and film industry, seeing as all of these industries are project-based.
Developers staff up to make a huge game, then shed members once it ships because they no longer have anything for them to do. It happens again and again, whether the game is successful or not…
Dustin Clingman, the executive director of the International Game Developers Associateion states that layoffs of this manner are “becoming the norm.” Many game creators and enthusiasts disagree with this model, however. Many think that this business model stifles creativity. That is, at the end of a project, a team of developers has learned a lot through trial-and-error, but they are then disbanded and therefore unable to apply this newly acquired knowledge to another game.
Not only does this “hire-fire-repeat cycle” disband groups of employees who have found their groove, it also can be horrible for employee morale and loyalty:
Some employees, he said, might have a “productivity boost,” putting in extra effort to keep their jobs. “But others may simply give up, or the stress and worry takes their minds off of their jobs so that they make mistakes and underperform.”
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment