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IGDA responds to 'Rockstar Spouse' accusations

Undisclosed and constant overtime is deceptive and exploitative, says industry organisation

The International Game Developers Association has spoken out in response to accusations published this week from an aggrieved group claiming to be the wives of Rockstar San Diego employees.

In an open letter, the wives claimed that working conditions for employees of the Red Dead Redemption studio had deteriorated to an unacceptable level.

The letter claimed that managers were dishonest about deadlines, employees were made to work 12 hours a day, including at weekends, and bonuses were not being paid out, leading to detrimental effects on the health of workers.

In reply, the IGDA said that these kind of events raised an important awareness of quality of life issues within the industry at a time when economic factors could be leading to increased pressures on businesses.

"In any studio, the IGDA finds the practice of undisclosed and constant overtime to be deceptive, exploitative, and ultimately harmful not only to developers but to their final product and the industry as a whole," it said in a statement.

"While our research shows that many studios have found ways to preserve quality of life for their employees, unhealthy practices are still far too common in our industry.

"The IGDA has made clear its stance on excessive uncompensated overtime, and this instance represents an opportunity for reflection across the industry. Particularly with the stresses imposed by the declining economy, game studios, like other independent businesses, are under increased pressure and therefore are more susceptible to production concerns."

Referencing its most recent Quality of Life survey of over 3300 games developers, the IGDA said that over half of employees felt that they needed more time for themselves and their families.

The association said that it issued an open invitation to Rockstar developers, studio heads and corporate officers to consult with it on the issues that had been raised.

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