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Dean Hall (DayZ) in dispute with New Zealand govt, wants to pay devs ($USD) $23k/y

lord pie

Member
Jun 10, 2007
987
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0
Bend, Oregon
http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/games/70139588/immigration-stoush-could-mean-game-over-for-20-million-dunedin-studio

According to the article, Dean Hall (DayZ developer) wants to expand his small game studio in Dunedin, New Zealand. It's currently 6 people, he wants to bump it up to ~30, with another 30 in the future. This is awesome. I grew up in New Zealand, and it's fair to say there are bugger all options for game dev jobs back home.

Good news?

Well unfortunately due to an apparent lack of local candidates he is planning to bring graduate game programmers to NZ from overseas. And in doing so he plans to offer them $35k NZD/year ($23k USD, £15k) for the privilege.

The NZ government isn't too happy to grant immigration visas for such a low salary in a highly skilled job - even if they are new graduates. They claim a more appropriate low end programmer salary is around $60,000. Due to this dispute, Mr. Hall claims he may be forced to move to the NZ operation to another country.

...

This is especially annoying to me, as my first game industry programming job was in Dunedin as a new graduate with very little work history. My starting salary was 50,000 NZD. This was over 10 years ago, so adjusted for inflation I was getting around 65,000 NZD (I work in the US now fwiw).

To me this stinks of arrogance and trying exploit people to cut costs. While the NZ dev scene isn't huge, if you offer a reasonable wage there are still excellent candidates out there. I'm also highly skeptical of a studio that is staffed mainly by new graduates - which seems to be implied by the wording (“mecca for graduates”). It's not as if Dunedin is especially cheap either - despite being famous for its student hovels, the average house still sells for ~ $300k.

Sadly this industry has a bad habit of exploiting new graduates, those willing to make sacrifices in order to land their dream job. :/
 

dcelw540

Junior Member
Oct 24, 2013
1,961
0
0
Man that's terrible :/ I gotta say that pay is awful... good for the government telling them they need to be paid more :)
 

Roland_Gunner

Member
Dec 20, 2014
4,810
0
0
It might not be very much money, but you get experience and get to live in NZ. Not a horrible deal.
It may be a decent deal for the graduate but the New Zeeland government is still justified in blocking their visas since Hall wants to pay them a below market wage.
 

Random17

Member
Jan 7, 2014
2,081
0
0
Auckland
It might not be very much money, but you get experience and get to live in NZ. Not a horrible deal.
As a NZer, 35k is nothing for a graduate. Prices in NZ are higher for most items compared to the rest of the world, and I'm pretty sure that 35k is well below the median and mean salary which is closer to 55k NZD.

Low purchasing power is bad in any country in the world.

http://m.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/Income/NZIncomeSurvey_HOTPJun14qtr.aspx

http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/09/beware_the_average_income_stat.html
 

FunkyMunkey

Banned
Aug 26, 2006
6,937
0
0
happily taking the day z money only to leave the game forever a janky mess, means this doesn't surprise me
 

Bashtee

Member
Jan 13, 2013
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410
A friend of mine who graduates this semester got a deal for 36k€ (germany), which is still rather low, but he has just a bit of experience in the tools and languages he will use (JS and Ruby on Rails). 40k€ is the average for a graduate and it should be. Developer is one hell of a job.
 

Hypron

Member
May 9, 2012
11,840
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520
Damn what a cheapskate. Who could live on that?
You can live on that here - I earn about that and always have spare money to save. But I'm a student, live in an apartment and don't own a car.

For a recent graduate that's a really shit salary though. All my friends that graduated last year and are now working earn significantly more than that.
 

Resilient

Member
Jan 4, 2010
7,011
0
715
It might not be very much money, but you get experience and get to live in NZ. Not a horrible deal.
DAMN am I in the 1900s again or what, dude WTF?

Straight up fucking exploitation, made worse by the fact that programming is basically dead in NZ and AU due to lack of work, but yea, let's import talent and pay them peanuts.
 

sturgboski

Member
Nov 18, 2013
3,884
0
0
New York, NY
It might not be very much money, but you get experience and get to live in NZ. Not a horrible deal.
Yep, definitely not a horrible deal for Dean Hall. For the graduates, that is another story. I very much doubt the studio is going to pay for relocation and other such things WHILE also taking advantage of the graduates salary wise.
 

Sakura

Member
Feb 13, 2012
8,609
431
600
Fukuoka, Japan
That is horrible. I could work at Walmart and make close to that. I don't think the visas should be granted.
He says he may be forced to move the operation to another country... what other first world country is he going to be able to pay such a low wage?
 

diamount

Banned
May 26, 2012
9,547
0
0
With all the money DayZ brought in, hiring programmers at $23k USD is insulting.
I thought Bohemia got the lionshare of that? Although, that probably makes sense if he went to form his own studio. But yeah, working your ass off for years and then to get paid a pittance is an insult and I hope nobody goes for it.
 

baphomet

Member
Oct 29, 2011
5,807
684
725
Denver, CO
Good on the government. You want to exploit people paying them what they could be making working at a fucking McDonalds to help you make millions? Good thing I've never spent a cent on this assholes games, nor will I ever.
 

Enduin

No bald cap? Lies!
Nov 29, 2006
13,304
0
0
That's a bottom of the barrel salary. Either Dean is being cheap as fuck or he has little to no funding and hoping to scale up to a decent sized team in order to be able to put out a project faster while he still can.

Wonder what kind of deal he got with DayZ Standalone. We know the game made huge returns but how much of that did he actually see?
 

JDSN

Banned
Sep 13, 2006
23,949
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A game that is not a game, paid with money that isnt money.

What an asshole, if he wants people working for shit while being abused he should do like everyone else a move to Usa.
 

shandy706

Member
May 3, 2011
15,994
1
0
Clemson Tiger Country
$23k in parts of the US is great starting out, but I gather from this thread that's pocket change in NZ. Edit* I'm old, see page 2.

Cost of living is the key to it all.

I live in one of the top 3 cheapest places in the US though.

$80-$100k can get a 3 bedroom house outside of a city here.
 

Tumeke NZ

Banned
Jun 9, 2015
237
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Wow that is really shitty pay and I'm kind of glad the govt is disputing this.
Only positive I can see is they are setting up in Dunedin and not Auckland. Living in Auckland is so damn expensive at the moment!
 

TheSeks

Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
Feb 14, 2009
56,116
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It might not be very much money, but you get experience and get to live in NZ. Not a horrible deal.
Yeah, no. New Zealand or not, they're paying you a wage that most of the US Middle Class gets above ($30-40K in the US for the middle class depending on industry). Why be paid less to go to New Zealand to develop games for Dean?
 
Nov 5, 2010
24,734
1
520
Australia
he plans to offer them $35k NZD/year ($23k USD, £15k) for the privilege.
Wow what the fuck. They would be better off working at McDonalds o_O

Dean Hall really rubs me the wrong way. Can't see him lasting much longer in game dev after the whole DayZ fiasco and now this kind of stuff.
 

Mario

Sidhe / PikPok
Jul 15, 2005
8,906
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Wellington, NZ
www.pikpok.com
lord pie said:
According to the article, Dean Hall (DayZ developer) wants to expand his small game studio in Dunedin, New Zealand. It's currently 6 people, he wants to bump it up to ~30, with another 30 in the future. This is awesome. I grew up in New Zealand, and it's fair to say there are bugger all options for game dev jobs back home.
It is not fair to say that at all as there are around a dozen game studios here currently hiring including off the top of my head us at PikPok, Ninja Kiwi, Runaway, Grinding Gear Games, Gameloft, Magic Leap, Mostly Tigerproof etc who all have advertised vacancies. Great that Dean is spurring growth even further though, and Dunedin hasn't had much of an industry to date in particular outside of what Tim Nixon has been able to do.


It might not be very much money, but you get experience and get to live in NZ. Not a horrible deal.
A challenge he'll face is every other game developer in NZ with programmer vacancies is offering more, so people have the opportunity to live here in NZ, get the experience, and get paid more (though it is cheaper to live in Dunedin than other bigger cities). Will have been 15 years or so since we had a programming graduate start on that level.

The other issue he'll face is it will basically be impossible to get work visas for immigrants without experience.

And then building a "AAA" game on a foundation of graduates will also be an issue (not sure what the makeup of the UK studio is).

I haven't really talked with him about his plan though, so I don't have any insight into his strategy here which may be very sound.
 

WedgeX

Banned
Nov 21, 2004
20,778
0
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$23k in parts of the US is great starting out, but I gather from this thread that's pocket change in NZ.

Cost of living is the key to it all.

I live in one of the top 3 cheapest places in the US though.

$80-$100k can get a 3 bedroom house outside of a city here.
For a college graduate? What part of the US? Flint, MI?

Rocket seems to be addressing the news now over at reddit. I am unhappy with how he's running the business but I greatly appreciate his willingness to speak with the community.
 

diamount

Banned
May 26, 2012
9,547
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He could offer a more attractive salary, but having said that NZ Immigration is a clunky, bureaucratic beast, it's a horrible department to have to deal with.
That pretty much describes every immigration department for any developed nation.
 

soundscream

Member
Aug 23, 2009
17,225
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735
$23k in parts of the US is great starting out, but I gather from this thread that's pocket change in NZ.

Cost of living is the key to it all.

I live in one of the top 3 cheapest places in the US though.

$80-$100k can get a 3 bedroom house outside of a city here.
What 23k for someone with a degree, is horrible. 23k for somewone with a stem degree is insulting.
 

The Llama

Member
Nov 21, 2013
5,396
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Philadelphia
Did you read my post? Try a few more times.
Believe me, I read it 3 times to make sure my eyes weren't going bad. But nope, you literally said $23k a year is "great starting out." I don't care how cheap it is where you live, $23k starting for a college grad is not "great" in any way.