Electronic Arts

11/13/2004 4:12:27 AM

Electronic Arts

On the blogosphere, there were a number of posts about the poor working conditions (and here) of developing software at Electronic Arts, such that the turnover rate is around 50%. A class action lawsuit has been filed against EA. It appears that this article has been Slashdotted.

What's ironic is that Electronic Arts was once a place where every developer wanted to work for. Early in its history, Electronic Arts treated its developers as rock stars, referring them as "artists," giving photo credits in games and magazine ads, as well as sharing profits. Now, it appears that Google has taken its place.

My experience at Microsoft was never half as bad. It helps being a monopoly, I guess. Veterans of Excel 5, the last version of Excel to ship before I joined Microsoft and also the last to face serious competition with Lotus and WordPerfect suites, told me of nightmarish long hours and stress, that forced managers to offer extra vacation time, double pay and level increases to quell dissent after release, but not enough to forstall a substantial exodus of Excel developers to other groups. When I arrived, the pendulum shifted in the opposite direction to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle.

While the stress level is high and work hours can be long, Microsoft respects weekends, and finds way of compensating employees for extra time spent through morale events, free dinners, bonuses, and post-release time off. Still, the demands of working at Microsoft require a high level of passion for technology.

 

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Net Undocumented is a blog about the internals of .NET including Xamarin implementations. Other topics include managed and web languages (C#, C++, Javascript), computer science theory, software engineering and software entrepreneurship.

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