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ESA president: Crunch “hasn't been a significant issue” for ten years

Industry body's leader Mike Gallagher also believes call for unions is “in its infancy”

The president of the Entertainment Software Association has downplayed industry concerns over crunch and the growing desire to create unions that protect developers and other professionals.

In Waypoint's feature talking to leading companies about the impact of crunch, ESA president Mike Gallagher said this is "an issue we haven't had to deal with much" during his tenure, citing high wages, low barriers to both entry and exit as a developer, and the abundance of opportunities for creativity.

"When you put all of those elements together, it's created great opportunity for individual laborers, or the game makers, at whatever level, to make choices that empower themselves," he said. "So I think that's why we've had less... it hasn't been a significant issue in the game industry for the last ten years."

He acknowledged that "where crunch is in effect, there's definite impact" but claimed more and more publishers are rejecting this style of working.

Waypoint pressed Gallagher on the rising call for unions, most notably seen around GDC earlier this year. The ESA boss assured that the trade body is aware of the discussion but doesn't believe action needs to be taken just yet.

"We are, of course, paying attention and we are listening because there issues, we've learned, you have to pay attention to them when they're small because they can become big," Gallagher said. "And when they're bigger, they're much more difficult to manager.

"But right now, the dialogue that's happening is at a level that is, I would say, in its infancy, to the extent that it's going to grow, I don't know."

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006