Deadlines for a Video Game or Abuse From The Industry

(Dramatic photo of gameboy advanced)

(Dramatic photo of gameboy advanced)

Jareb O’Shogie, Reporter

Feeling the excitement of seeing when a new game is going to be released as a kid is a nostalgic thing for many, but the joy these deadlines bring to the children also brings thousands of video game developers the misery of crunch. Crunch is compulsory overtime during the development of a game. Almost every game nowadays has a set public deadline that companies crunch to meet for the game they are working on. This wasn’t always the case, but modern video game culture has insisted on yearly releases for big title games. This problem has led to moral difficulty to play games, poor quality in games, and weakened the gaming community.

Developing a game has always been a grueling task, but the crunch only makes the mental toll stronger. David Zorn, coach of the ESports club at Clear Creek Amana high school says “ Personally it has made games harder to enjoy, especially the big triple A open world single player games. Knowing that lives and families were ruined for like five years to make some stupid shooting game makes enjoying that stupid shooting game a bit harder for me. I can’t imagine the stress and expectations placed upon these developers”. This statement demonstrates how difficult it is for gamers to enjoy games knowing all the suffering the developers went through. He also specifically states especially the big triple A open world single player games’ and this brings a bigger dilemma when it comes to crunch. Triple A games are typically the most popular games published making effectively most of the gaming community demotivated to play, leading into an overall decline in gaming space and games which comes to the next issue.

Video games had a massive boom when COVID hit making most activities forced to be at home. This unfortunately strengthened the need to produce games fast and weakened the need to make games of a high standard. An example of this can be seen with a popular triple A game series Call of Duty. Hirun Cryer, a freelance reporter and publisher at Gamesradar+ exclaims “Call of Duty has lost around 50 million players over the past year” One can conclude that this comes from Call of Duty’s bad image and lawsuits it has had, but is more likely to do with crunch. Call of Duty is an old game series that has been improving quickly after years and years. This has now come to a halt for a few years showing that the games could only go so far with yearly releases that put a crunch on the developers. Many gamers have been blind to the fact however causing a toxic outrage of Call of Duty fans yelling at the developers poor performance.

The gaming community has never been a place of low toxicity, but this has only intensified over the years with crunch’s effect on games. In the recent overall decline in gaming the fans have been angry and been yelling at whoever they think is responsible, tending to be developers. This demonstrates that not only does it make the lives of the people who make the games worse, but also makes the community worse as well. Furthermore, this could cause even larger scale problems if both sides suffer.  It could cause people to leave the gaming space altogether with the problems it has and both sides of the space won’t fix.

The excitement as a kid when you would see the new game releasing should be a feeling unfortunately the next generations shouldn’t feel. In conclusion, crunch is extremely harmful to the gaming industry because it causes mental harm, worse quality in games, and makes a more toxic community. These issues present a need for protest in the industry to help thousands of lives.