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Amazon Game Studios employees laid off right in the middle of E3

Mar 8, 2018
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In an alternate reality Amazon would have never acquired Double Helix and we would have seen Killer Instinct 2 from them.
 

Skyfox

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Thanks for destroying a terrific studio!

They made three of my favourite games:

Star Trek Deep Space Nine The Fallen
Enter the Matrix
Killer Instinct

Who knows what else they might have made as these were highly unique titles. Killer instinct seemed an impossible title to resurrect and tv and movie based games are almost universally garbage.

Go with the prophets! I hope these guys and gals get snapped up quickly.
 
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pqueue

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Jun 11, 2019
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Bullshit from Jason emphasizing "during E3".

Amazon has been a non-player. I would not be shocked if they continue reassignment their gaming portfolio of assets.

And it makes sense to do it now, during June, before the quarter is over so that they can include explanations in their quarterly financial reporting.

Yet Jason is all "Muh E3".
 

Contica

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Feb 1, 2016
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Can't wait for him to push the need for a union idiocy again.

It sucks that thar people lost their jobs, that's just how things work in software development. If they're good they'll land on their feet just fine
Coming from a country where unions are the norm, I'm curious. Why "union idiocy"?
 

GermanZepp

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Feb 15, 2017
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Damn, wow laying off people in middle of e3 really make it seems like a wider message from their games division. Like, fuck it. Can't wait to nextweek.
 

Mattyp

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Coming from a country where unions are the norm, I'm curious. Why "union idiocy"?
Ahh unions, a good way to get paid $100 bucks an hour in Melbourne so 5 of you can monitor a truck going in and out of a driveway or something just as stupid. I'm sure unions have different results in different regions but.
 
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TLZ

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Ahh unions, a good way to get paid $100 bucks an hour in Melbourne so 5 of you can monitor a truck going in and out of a driveway or something just as stupid. I'm sure unions have different results in different regions but.
$100/hr monitoring trucks? Show me where to apply please.
 
Coming from a country where unions are the norm, I'm curious. Why "union idiocy"?
Unions are silly for software development, you're not working in a fucking coal mine. If you're working for a company that doesn't take care of you then you move on, you don't need 400 union reps to suckle on your endless union dues, make games impossible to be financially viable and make getting things done next to impossible
 

Mattyp

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$100/hr monitoring trucks? Show me where to apply please.
Get an average paying job in Melbourne, then join this mob and you'll have 100,000 people with you working off work anytime you don't think your pay is up to scratch. They have the state by the balls, but yes obviously some exaggeration in there :messenger_grinning_squinting:
 
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gspat

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Apr 23, 2016
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Public sector unions need to be pulled into check, yes.

Private sector unions are desperately needed though, to provide job security and income stability for the members.

Many seem to forget that a union is simply a group of people that group together to enable themselves to get the best work contract that they can for all their members.

If game companies can't do it, what are major movie studios doing wrong?
 
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Anyone know how much Amazon pays their gaming employees?

Maybe it's a matter of costs.

All I know is when Amazon was promoting HQ 2, they kept blabbing how the average office worker would make $150,000/yr.

Sounds like a lot to me. I know tons of people who work at head offices (pharma, consumer goods, electronics) and have always worked at a Canadian head office in every job I've had. And there is no way the average business casual rat racer makes at any head office I know makes an of average of $150k/yr.

Maybe Amazon is floating too much salary out there?????????????
 

Riven326

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Unions are silly for software development, you're not working in a fucking coal mine. If you're working for a company that doesn't take care of you then you move on, you don't need 400 union reps to suckle on your endless union dues, make games impossible to be financially viable and make getting things done next to impossible
But they would have you believe that these game developers work for free and can't get a job elsewhere.
 
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Unions are silly for software development, you're not working in a fucking coal mine. If you're working for a company that doesn't take care of you then you move on, you don't need 400 union reps to suckle on your endless union dues, make games impossible to be financially viable and make getting things done next to impossible
I find it amazing that so many union leaders and members complain about overpaid execs, yet union leaders make a ton too.

 
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Riven326

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Maybe the shitty ones can get into game "journalism", seems like it's pretty easy to get into
The fucking worshipping of these people makes me sick. They hate the publishers and act like the devs are slaves. They are forced to work and get no pay. So you better never critize a game developer. You don't know how much they sacrificed for your entertainment!

It's a bunch of bullshit. These people are paid to produce a product. If the product sucks I'm going to call out the people who made it and say they did a shit job.
 
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Cubamus Prime

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Thanks for destroying a terrific studio!

They made three of my favourite games:


Enter the Matrix
Enter the Matrix is an action-adventure video game developed by Shiny Entertainment and published by Atari, released under the Atari brand name. It was the first game based on The Matrix series of films. Its story is concurrent with that of The Matrix Reloaded, and features over an hour of original footage, directed by The Wachowskis and starring the cast of the film trilogy, produced for the game.[1] It sold one million copies in its first eighteen days of release, 2.5 million over the first six weeks, and ultimately 5 million copies. The success led to the game being re-released for multiple consoles' budget brands, with the PC version getting a DVD-ROM version.[2]
 

Enjay

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Based on what I've played, game development does not need to be any more comfortable of a job. These guaranteed safe workers shit out the worst games.
 
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Based on what I've played, game development does not need to be any more comfortable of a job. These guaranteed safe workers shit out the worst games.
Gaming employees have been blessed with the fact it's a job industry that has tons of fan interaction. So you get lots of tweets, forums, and gamer/employee interaction.

So what happens is a dev team gets canned, employees tweet disappointment and gamers pity them as if everyone is best buddies..... which they are not.

Then a news cast comes out saying an airline is going to cut 2,000 jobs disrupting service, and vacationers are stuck at an airport...... and many people will think..... "who cares, sucks to be them"
 

brokenduck

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Dec 20, 2018
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it’s a very generous layoffs though , 2 months to look for job in same company, if it failed they still got a severance package. They didn’t produce any successful titles so I think most of them are already in process of looking for a new job, Hopefully the devs worked for anthem are doing the same thing and don’t wait till inevitable layoffs happen.
 
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lol only the NeoGaf community can look at an industry with rife with epic mismanagement, 100 hour workweeks and extremely questionable layoffs [see Activision] and then go "No, its actually the over-entitled employees that are the problem!".

Coming from a country where unions are the norm, I'm curious. Why "union idiocy"?
For decades a lot of people in this country [USA] have been under the impression that private sector unions are evil and can't possibly be of any use in an industry where the balance of power is obscenely stilted towards the top.
 
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lol only the NeoGaf community can look at an industry with rife with epic mismanagement, 100 hour workweeks and extremely questionable layoffs [see Activision] and then go "No, its actually the over-entitled employees that are the problem!".



For decades a lot of people in this country [USA] have been under the impression that private sector unions are evil and can't possibly be of any use in an industry where the balance of power is obscenely stilted towards the top.
The image gaming employees want to give is they are slaves working 100 hour weeks and are so tired they sleep at their desk.

Unions were important probably 40 years ago. Not so much anymore.

As a whole, the best paying jobs and career fields aren't even jobs/industries heavy in unions. So it goes to show non-unionized organizations aren't such scrooges where employees are paid minimum wage. If people are valuable, they will get solid wages and perks regardless of whether they are unionized or not.

Unions are made simply to protect ones ass from being canned for someone better. That's why there's so many policies protecting a lousy union person from getting fired for a better replacement like non-union workers getting canned and someone stepping in to fill in.
 
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The image gaming employees want to give is they are slaves working 100 hour weeks and are so tired they sleep at their desk.

Unions were important probably 40 years ago. Not so much anymore.

As a whole, the best paying jobs and career fields aren't even jobs/industries heavy in unions. So it goes to show non-unionized organizations aren't such scrooges where employees are paid minimum wage. If people are valuable, they will get solid wages and perks regardless of whether they are unionized or not.

Unions are made simply to protect ones ass from being canned for someone better. That's why there's so many policies protecting a lousy union person from getting fired for a better replacement like non-union workers getting canned and someone stepping in to fill in.
That's a grossly misleading and reductive way to try and summarize what unions are for. Unions are for leveraging power to try and get the employees the best deal that they can. Employment protection can be part of it, maybe it isn't. Usually its things like better pay, benefits, and protections against forced crunch caused by gross mismanagement. None of these are things that game devs have *TOO MUCH OF* right now.

Like, I get why those things might be a problem is the company is also failing anyway, but this country is rife with examples of major companies fucking their employees into the dirt and then the people on the top congratulate themselves with raises and/or golden parachutes that are completely unjustifiable under the "The company can't afford it!" or "Unions are too powerful!" excuses.

The correlation between the loss of power of the American middle class and the decline of private sector unions is pretty much direct. I get that public sector unions can really push it sometimes, but you've got to be insane if you think a game developer union president is going to make anywhere near as much money as Bobby Kotick.
 
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Unions are silly for software development, you're not working in a fucking coal mine. If you're working for a company that doesn't take care of you then you move on, you don't need 400 union reps to suckle on your endless union dues, make games impossible to be financially viable and make getting things done next to impossible
Move on to what though? Epic crunch times and layoffs have been established as industry norms and there aren't many studios that go out of their way to avoid them. Leaving for a non-VGD job won't fix that by itself. The only thing that will really change that is.....

.....drumroll......


a union.

Also if top executive bonuses and middle management bloat don't make games financially unviable, a gaming union sure as shit isn't going to do it either. When Bobby Kotick reports that Activision had its heighest quarterly earnings in the company's history within hours of laying off 8% of the entire company's workforce, the logical conclusion isn't that unions are somehow going to ruin that company.
 
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That's a grossly misleading and reductive way to try and summarize what unions are for. Unions are for leveraging power to try and get the employees the best deal that they can. Employment protection can be part of it, maybe it isn't. Usually its things like better pay, benefits, and protections against forced crunch caused by gross mismanagement. None of these are things that game devs have *TOO MUCH OF* right now.

Like, I get why those things might be a problem is the company is also failing anyway, but this country is rife with examples of major companies fucking their employees into the dirt and then the people on the top congratulate themselves with raises and/or golden parachutes that are completely unjustifiable under the "The company can't afford it!" or "Unions are too powerful!" excuses.

The correlation between the loss of power of the American middle class and the decline of private sector unions is pretty much direct. I get that public sector unions can really push it sometimes, but you've got to be insane if you think a game developer union president is going to make anywhere near as much money as Bobby Kotick.
You don't need unions in modern age.

Maybe ages ago when all of us can see or read about archaic manufacturing where factories were smoggy and people were getting killed with lousy safety policies (I remember reading how amazingly dangerous factories were 100 years ago where guys would get crushed because they had to make mad dashes in and out of industrial carpet pressers, and if they tripped they were literally steamed flat like a rug).

Or for white collar jobs, the company is so vile, every business is killing employees with shit wages, bad perks and insane hours.

But this is not true.

Companies succeed by having good employees and good corporate cultures. And that involves offering good wages, perks, and for tech companies somehow cool snazzy offices are often included when every head office I've worked at have boring beige or grey paint and trashy 10 year old office chairs that are falling apart.

What unions often do is overexaggerate negatives, always want more money, odd perks, hard to fire policies, and set wage scales (at least for blue collar kinds of jobs).

The reason why union people seem to think they are underpaid is because the union does deals with management, and what happens is some kind of middle ground is agreed to if there is a union. So the shitty workers milk the system and great employees feel beaten down and underpaid. That's the way traditional unions work.

Whereas in a non-union environment. You are as good, and paid according to what you negotiate and how good you are. Salaries and wages can typically be higher, but can start out in the shitter. The wage gap is often bigger because a new grad scrub will be paid low, while a vet will probably be triple the wages. Companies have no problem paying 6-digits if the person is worth having. It's as simple as that. If someone is that good, they can make 7-digits.

Pretty sure Google with all their nicely paid employees don't have a union. Probably neither does MS, Adobe, Cisco or Amazon white collar workers. Companies know if they try to downgrade everyone to crap pay and crap offices lots of good people will bolt. You want good talent, pay up so product quality doesn't go down the toilet.

Unionized environments want job protection and higher wages almost always as #1 and #2 priorities. And never do any of them say they want these in return for being good performers or higher quality output. You'll never see it.
 
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Move on to what though? Epic crunch times and layoffs have been established as industry norms and there aren't many studios that go out of their way to avoid them. Leaving for a non-VGD job won't fix that by itself. The only thing that will really change that is.....

.....drumroll......


a union.

Also if top executive bonuses and middle management bloat don't make games financially unviable, a gaming union sure as shit isn't going to do it either. When Bobby Kotick reports that Activision had its heighest quarterly earnings in the company's history within hours of laying off 8% of the entire company's workforce, the logical conclusion isn't that unions are somehow going to ruin that company.
That's too bad.

Gaming seems to be a cyclical industry where companies are fully staffed during development and can have crunch times. But once the game releases, companies get rid of non-essential staff and crunch time is over. Then when the game is in full dev, they'll rehire people later.

No different than other industries.

Retailers hire probably double the store staff in Q4 to help out with the holiday season, and then they can them in January. And any manufacturer that is seasonal (Christmas rush time) does the same. Our warehouse staff probably doubles too as we make and ship those holiday products in heavy quantities a bit earlier. While stores set up shelves in Q4, manufacturers start making the product in the summer and unload it in September or so. We start cutting the temp hires in December because we've already shipped out all the Christmas stock.

For vacation spots, pretty sure they are more fully staffed in summer weather instead of being overstaffed when it's snowing.

You get the idea.

As I said before, if people are getting canned despite companies being profitable (as you mentioned Activision), it shows those staff add no value at that time. If that is the case, it is on the employee to prove they can be hired full time all year round to keep a job.

And if they are getting canned while still getting severance pay, it shows their existing value is even lower. It's a pain to go through layoffs and severance package (which can lead to legal battles). So if a company would rather pay you off to get rid of you instead of keep you areound on the payroll for months waiting for full development to begin again, it actually shows how little value some employees are during the quiet periods.
 
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DocONally

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"So, as you can see, we've got tonnes of new games coming to the Amazon platform soon. We hope you enjoyed the show. Oh, and Ted, Mary, and Kevin, don't bother coming in on Monday. Thank you E3!"
 

Skyfox

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Enter the Matrix is an action-adventure video game developed by Shiny Entertainment and published by Atari, released under the Atari brand name. It was the first game based on The Matrix series of films. Its story is concurrent with that of The Matrix Reloaded, and features over an hour of original footage, directed by The Wachowskis and starring the cast of the film trilogy, produced for the game.[1] It sold one million copies in its first eighteen days of release, 2.5 million over the first six weeks, and ultimately 5 million copies. The success led to the game being re-released for multiple consoles' budget brands, with the PC version getting a DVD-ROM version.[2]
Do more homework
 

Contica

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That's too bad.

Gaming seems to be a cyclical industry where companies are fully staffed during development and can have crunch times. But once the game releases, companies get rid of non-essential staff and crunch time is over. Then when the game is in full dev, they'll rehire people later.

No different than other industries.

Retailers hire probably double the store staff in Q4 to help out with the holiday season, and then they can them in January. And any manufacturer that is seasonal (Christmas rush time) does the same. Our warehouse staff probably doubles too as we make and ship those holiday products in heavy quantities a bit earlier. While stores set up shelves in Q4, manufacturers start making the product in the summer and unload it in September or so. We start cutting the temp hires in December because we've already shipped out all the Christmas stock.

For vacation spots, pretty sure they are more fully staffed in summer weather instead of being overstaffed when it's snowing.

You get the idea.

As I said before, if people are getting canned despite companies being profitable (as you mentioned Activision), it shows those staff add no value at that time. If that is the case, it is on the employee to prove they can be hired full time all year round to keep a job.

And if they are getting canned while still getting severance pay, it shows their existing value is even lower. It's a pain to go through layoffs and severance package (which can lead to legal battles). So if a company would rather pay you off to get rid of you instead of keep you areound on the payroll for months waiting for full development to begin again, it actually shows how little value some employees are during the quiet periods.
All I can say to this is that I'm very glad to not live in your country, because what you describe as perfectly normal, to me sounds like insanity. It would never fly here, and one of the reasons why is, well, unions.

Workers have a right to know when their next paycheck is coming, and unions fight for that, and tons of other things to ensure workers aren't taken advantage of. Sure we have temp jobs, but you know ahead of time how long it's gonna be for. And for store workers in holidays, it tends to mean more hours on the job, and the overtime pay that comes with it. Almost everyone, outside of very young people who don't know better yet, are in unions here.

Seasonal jobs are honestly a completely foreign concept to me.

This anti unions mentality sounds like some alien american thing where the big spenders have managed to trick people into believing unions are bad.
 
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NeoGAF has a very different reaction to Amazon laying employees than to Activision Blizzard doing it. Now I know who dislikes those Amazon and Jeff Bezos monopoly videos on YouTbe.
 

Lanrutcon

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Shitty stuff, but hey...it's Amazon.

I'm super curious as to what happened to pr0cs pr0cs and StreetsofBeige StreetsofBeige to turn them into bitter old fucks though. Bet you neither work in software development.

You are as good, and paid according to what you negotiate and how good you are.
I laughed so hard at this. And companies have no problem paying if the person is worth having? Are you for real? Does Disney music play every time you think about this imaginary industry? Please, you gotta share what country your from. People everywhere need to know about this magical Utopia where everything is great and developers don't need any kind of protection. You have this crazy vision of software development companies that seem to originate from Google recruitment videos or recruitment agency brochures.

I swear to God, warehouse guy, when you sit down at the keyboard and decide to share the next volume of tales from your ass it better have some Elves and a magic ring.
 
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Panajev2001a

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Can't wait for him to push the need for a union idiocy again.

It sucks that thar people lost their jobs, that's just how things work in software development. If they're good they'll land on their feet just fine
That is just how things work in <corn fields/coal mines/sweatshops/...>, not sure why that is such an idiocy as a concept of if you have a reasonable argument on why it cannot practically work / is not useful.
Unions are not about making firing impossible, there is more to the work life than having a job or not... unless we just whitewash it away when people ruin themselves, burn out, etc... due to working conditions... all just normal or then stop buying made in China... etc... etc...

On top of that sure you may have people with a mix of Stockholm syndrome and heavy survivor bias where they normalised a certain environment and they see it just also because they were able to survive or thrive in it...
 
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Panajev2001a

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Based on what I've played, game development does not need to be any more comfortable of a job. These guaranteed safe workers shit out the worst games.
? Who is talking about guarantee work and all these other generic exaggerated claims?
 
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Shitty stuff, but hey...it's Amazon.

I'm super curious as to what happened to pr0cs pr0cs and StreetsofBeige StreetsofBeige to turn them into bitter old fucks though. Bet you neither work in software development.
Who's bitter? I make good money, have a 9-5 job and a good job. What's so hard?

If some software jobs require big time crunch, that's the job. Too bad. Maybe if they wanted a less stressful office job, they should have done a finance job like me who crunches numbers and analysis all day. Most people hate numbers and think spreadsheets and SAP are the plague. Oh well, I like numbers, dollars, and any PC program that involves metrics and long ass formulas. Jobs like mine are rarely seasonal. Aside from the H&R Block tax guys who come out in droves during income tax time, my kind of jobs are usually FT and the workload steady (although end of quarter and end of year are mini crunches).

Sucks to be someone with a shitty job, but if it's no good then change.

I laughed so hard at this. And companies have no problem paying if the person is worth having? Are you for real? Does Disney music play every time you think about this imaginary industry? Please, you gotta share what country your from. People everywhere need to know about this magical Utopia where everything is great and developers don't need any kind of protection. You have this crazy vision of software development companies that seem to originate from Google recruitment videos or recruitment agency brochures.

I swear to God, warehouse guy, when you sit down at the keyboard and decide to share the next volume of tales from your ass it better have some Elves and a magic ring.
For sure companies have no problem paying. It all comes down to the job and how much you request and how good you are.

To make good money at a good job, you don't need to be sweating it out working OT and getting ballbusted by bad bosses. The myth is every worker gets treated like shit with bad pay, while bosses all have ferraris and golf all day. Not true. Believe it or not, there's lots of good jobs people have with normal schedules.

It's actually pretty easy......

- The better you are, they more they will pay you
- The more steady the workload, the more they will keep you FT year round

But if someone stinks, your salary is gimped, and if your value and workload swings wildly, they might just offer you contract work. So after 6 or 18 months, that's it.
 
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Fafalada

Fafracer forever
Jun 22, 2004
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Maybe it's a matter of costs.
Mass restructuring/layoffs is 'always' a matter of costs. Even in companies that pay slave wages.

Anyway there's plenty of public data on Amazon compensations(eg. https://www.paysa.com/) - numbers show it to be in line with the rest of US tech-industry giants (Apples,Googles,Netflixes etc.). Which is a fair bit higher than games industry average to be sure.

Please tell me Leslie Benzies wasn't affected by this
Why would he? He never worked for Amazon.
 

Animagic

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Jun 6, 2019
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Bullshit from Jason emphasizing "during E3".

Amazon has been a non-player. I would not be shocked if they continue reassignment their gaming portfolio of assets.

And it makes sense to do it now, during June, before the quarter is over so that they can include explanations in their quarterly financial reporting.

Yet Jason is all "Muh E3".
There are a bunch of people pushing hard for unionization as they see the writing on the wall of industry contraction.
That’s where that kind of headline comes from. Got to stay on message.
 

oagboghi2

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Shitty stuff, but hey...it's Amazon.

I'm super curious as to what happened to pr0cs pr0cs and StreetsofBeige StreetsofBeige to turn them into bitter old fucks though. Bet you neither work in software development.



I laughed so hard at this. And companies have no problem paying if the person is worth having? Are you for real? Does Disney music play every time you think about this imaginary industry? Please, you gotta share what country your from. People everywhere need to know about this magical Utopia where everything is great and developers don't need any kind of protection. You have this crazy vision of software development companies that seem to originate from Google recruitment videos or recruitment agency brochures.

I swear to God, warehouse guy, when you sit down at the keyboard and decide to share the next volume of tales from your ass it better have some Elves and a magic ring.
I work in software development, and I can tell you you don't need a union. If you don't like a job, quit and work elsewhere.

How many of these employees were just contract workers? That question never seems to be asked
 

oagboghi2

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I laughed so hard at this. And companies have no problem paying if the person is worth having? Are you for real? Does Disney music play every time you think about this imaginary industry? Please, you gotta share what country your from. People everywhere need to know about this magical Utopia where everything is great and developers don't need any kind of protection. You have this crazy vision of software development companies that seem to originate from Google recruitment videos or recruitment agency brochures.

I swear to God, warehouse guy, when you sit down at the keyboard and decide to share the next volume of tales from your ass it better have some Elves and a magic ring.
Serious question, have you ever held a job or negotiated a pay raise? Especially if it's the software field. That happens all the time
 
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what happened to @pr0cs and @StreetsofBeige to turn them into bitter old fucks though. Bet you neither work in software development.
Funny you mention it, just had my 25th anniversary at work this year in software development. Guilty as charged about the old part at least.
I've seen a lot of things in the coding industry. Management that doesn't give a fuck about its employees, developers that aren't worth shit and in it for the money. Developers who can't code their way out of a bag and make shit for the good people to constantly fix.
A hard fact remains, if you need someone to protect you then you suck and you are in the WRONG line of work.
Unions in game development would kill gaming
 
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Lanrutcon

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Serious question, have you ever held a job or negotiated a pay raise? Especially if it's the software field. That happens all the time
Yup and yup. Been in software development for about 14 years (but only got corporate in the last 9). My job history has been so different than some of the stuff you guys are describing, and I'm not talking about myself per say: I've seen talent burnt and exploited over and over. People getting paid what they're worth especially. Phrases like "The better you are, they more they will pay you" are just so idealistic in my experience.