Employees circulate spreadsheet to compare pay, recent raises. Activision CEO gets $40 million, while some staff skip meals
"Some producers and engineers at Blizzard can make well over $100,000 a year, but others, such as video game testers and customer-service representatives, are often paid minimum wage or close to it." Yea, that's called supply/demand
Right, if your skillset is valuable enough, there will be someone that is willing to pay for it. It's unfortunate, but if what you do can be done by most anyone, your skills aren't that valuable. I recommend everyone broaden their skillset, set yourself apart from others in the job market. These days there really aren't even that many barriers, you can learn almost any skill simply by watching educational youtube videos.
Too true. I'm in the trades and I learn a lot still from YT videos of old guys sharing their knowledge. It's always great to diversify but don't be afraid to specialize either. It can't be risky but it also can pay great. OT: I usually fight for the little guy but, at least the way it's framed, this feels like whining. Producers are accountable to the product and it's reception, game testers are not. Engineers build the tool the games are made with, not customer service reps. Though all their jobs are important, the impact and necessity of these roles are not even close to comparable.
Would think game testers would be in high demand. Good ones able to spot bugs and general gameplay issues especially. Likewise service representatives, represent a company. Neither are really "burger-flipping" jobs and at the least deserve a living wage - which the minimum wage isn't.
Not nearly as hard to find those as, say, engineers that know how to build a game engine. I mean, the amount of education and training you need are not even close to being comparable
Again, the point isn't who is or how qualified one group is over the over, but that either make enough to live off of in the face of record profits and their bosses getting paid, to the literal nth power by comparison, just for signing up.
Maybe a rise in the federal minimum wage would help?
@RememberThe357: https://www.paycor.com/reso... California sees a $1 increase in minimum wage in 2020 (an 8% increase) for a total of $13/hour. Problem is, that's not a lot in California. The cost of living (specifically housing) is high there. A Federal increase likely won't ever match the state-defined amount.
@Christopher: The problem still remains that you've got executives who are overpaying themselves, handing out bonuses to themselves on top of that, while at the same time short changing those under them. Directly applying a devaluing mentality to others and factoring it into how they make profits.
***The problem still remains that you've got executives who are overpaying themselves, handing out bonuses to themselves on top of that, while at the same time short changing those under them.*** They don't determine their own salaries. The stakeholders do that. https://corpgov.law.harvard...
^^^^^^^ Minimum wage goes up, prices will follow. You aren't going to win if you're relying on minimum wage increases.
@Christopher: And i'm certain that the process isn't effected by company executives. That since its profit driven books aren't cooked and employee salaries and benefits aren't effected. Ethics or morals aren't factors is what I'm getting at. @HaveAsandwich: The National US minimum wage has not significantly changed in almost fifty years. Meanwhile prices for consumer good and cost of living have gone up regardless.
***Minimum wage goes up, prices will follow. You aren't going to win if you're relying on minimum wage increases.*** This hasn't been shown to be true. Wage increases in the last 5 years have not shown increases in the pricing of products. Product pricing has increased at a steady rate before and after the minimum wage increases. Minimum wage increases tend to come *after* hikes in housing costs, not before. Meaning they're actually a response to price increases and not the other way around. ***And i'm certain that the process isn't effected by company executives. That since its profit driven books aren't cooked and employee salaries and benefits aren't effected.*** Stakeholders care about their own profits. They will get rid of executives with ease who fail to meet their requirements. While morals are a factor, those morals are all focused on greed here. Executives have to be focused on matching that greed. I'm not sitting here praising the system of capitalism we have right now, but saying executives write their own salaries isn't how that's done.
How is that idea STILL being used as a talking point. Engineers making 100k a year, and testers making close to minimum wage. Baffling! Its an impossible concept to understand!
It's actually not impossible. I recommend a few intro courses in economics
Thing is those testers need to be able to communicate with those engineers even if only through bug reports. They also require some understanding of what they're testing, with some testers likely even learning to be engineers. Never mind that most are sub-contracted from 3rd party companies at point, so are even less likely to gain experience, contacts within the main company, or be even less valued.
CEO gets paid for boosting stockholder wealth. That's his job. He's doing a great job of it. And people there aren't having any issues not felt in almost every industry in the U.S. Let alone that they at least have full-time jobs rather than working two part-time jobs and having no access to work-provided health care. This really isn't an issue with the video game industry. It's an issue with California's cost of living, affordable housing, access to affordable healthcare, and generally minimum wages not being able to provide for what people need.
It is an issue with the industry because these pay disparities are part of the same system and culture that keep wages down while prices go up, creating a huge gap. These things may be magnified in certain states, but this ideology is present at every level throughout the country.
Again, not an industry-specific issue. This is happening everywhere. It's systemic, not something special to video game developers.
My main gripe was the California comment. Of course, yes, it is a systemic issue. So yes, it’s not a “video game industry issue”, but it is an issue that the industry could very easily choose no to contribute to. Also, there are especially of the industry that don’t translate across the board - such as unionizing. Television and film have proper unionization, which gaming doesnt have at all. Obviously pay disparity will still exist, but there are visible markers that other tech and entertainment industries have hit that the game industry still lags behind in. Due to this, it’s game creators who face direct repercussions of missed sales expectations or other misfires, which then result in a studio deciding to perform layoffs, sell itself off, or extreme situations, shut down completely. This has made programming, art, game writing, and other roles in the game industry much more economically fraught than screenwriting, film production, costume designing, and the dozens of other union-protected roles that exist in film and television. Anyway, I’m ranting and it’s not directly related to wage disparity - completely- but I do think gaming is behind behind some of its sibling in the genre of the entertainment industry, where wages may be better and better protected.
Yeah it's fine to pay someone 30 million and then layoff 800 people during record profit years, then hire a new CFO and pay him 30 million that's just country wide problem right? No it isn't. The problem is people believing it's fine for the CEO to make 500x what the bottom person in the company makes and still believe "yeah thats fine". Did you people not read people were skipping meals and not have children so they can survive? This is why unionization will come to the gaming world.
Bobby Kotticks annual salary before bonuses and shares is grotesque. There's no 2 ways about it. Throw in the "cost saving measures" Activision pulled last year and you see something very wrong with the business With the issues of Crunch, Abuse, Rape, and Poor Pay among a number of other common offenses I'd wonder why anyone works in the industry at all. Its absolutely rotten to its core But then not unique either I guess. People are just scumbags in general
Where did I say it's fine? The issue here is that this isn't a video game industry problem, it's a problem everywhere. People can't criticize video game CEOs and think that it's going to change for the video game industry when that's how it works for all CEOs at big companies. The video game issues aren't going to suddenly get fixed because this is how it is. Unionizing isn't going to stop Kotick from making his money. It might get some people some higher wages, maybe better benefits. But it's not going to change that others are still going to be paid out ridiculous sums of money. To make the changes people truly want the only real solution is providing universal benefits for people by taxing the wealthiest at a higher amount to help pay for them since they aren't providing them at a reasonable level at their jobs as well as ensuring corporations are paying federal taxes at a reasonable rate rather than using off shore methods to limit such things.
At this point CEOs get paid for potential rather than delivered value. Sadly part of that potential comes from shortchanging the people who do the needed work.
From what I've seen over the years it looks like video game developers make less than they would in another industry, and have worse working conditions. For almost 20 years I worked as a developer for a California based tech company, though I wasn't located there. When I started there back in the late 90's I was already making over 100k. Salaries in the video games industry don't seem to have kept up with the rest of the software industry.
The issue with video game development is that there is so much competition for junior to mid level work that they are not concerned with keeping you on past the completion of the game. Other tech companies want to keep people on as long as possible so they grow with the company. That concept isn't as much a part of the gaming industry because once a game is done, they'll move the high level people who are "essential" and go with whomever else can support their needs. Additionally, most contract-based IT companies make more off employees with more experience and can charge at a higher scale. This is especially true with any government contract.
"CEO gets paid for boosting stockholder wealth. That's his job." Only the decades long argument has been that such sole profit focus is a massive problem. Its what literally caused the 80's industry crash.
With gaming in the mainstream market now and thriving due to technology and the Internet, it going bust is as likely as the crash of the movie, tv, or music industry. Just not going to happen. Comparing it to the niche market of the 80s, not really comparable. As far as the sole profit focus design, that's a capitalistic design issue. No one is going to bail out an industry, but a new company will always be there to buy out a failing studio or the like. Right now, the top 3 console makers make a profit and so do the big publishers. A crash isn't even close to imminent.
Those at the “bottom” always put in the most labor to create the product that generate the wealth for those at the “top”. The chairs the devs sit in should get paid more than the suits. These practices and systems are not ethically defensible, no matter how badly some of you want them to be.
Is is hard to imagine if you go to school and learn a specific set of required skills that you'll get paid more than someone that doesn't?
The question though is how good or hard to find do your specific skills really need to be to just get a livable wage in some industries. I don’t think you should have to be at an expert level to get a minimum sole livable wage. Testers are a skill well above burger flipping or food stocking and shouldn’t be compensated anywhere close to it.
The "Suites" are the ones who create a company. They hire people "at the bottom" to work for them, using the money that Investors risk with them. These people are hired based on needs, the harder it is to fill a position, the higher the compensation package, the easier, the lower. The "bottom" people submit a resume, go through an interview process and then freely negotiate a compensation package where they trade their labor, for money that was agreed upon when they signed the contract to work there. What is ethically indefensible about it? If these workers truly have a problem with their lot in life, they should work to improve it, either by getting more skills and climbing the skill ladder, unionizing and demanding more money, creating their own company that is run the way they want to run it or going to a different industry.
Remind me, which company did Bobby Kotick "create" exactly?
If I’m not actually creating the content that makes me my money, I don’t deserve to be paid more than those who do. They do the work, they get better pay. Simple. You cannot defend making more money off of someone’s labor than they make themselves off that same labor, especially if it is that labor that keeps my company alive. Also unionizing isn’t so simple. A company can easily just fire anyone who tried to unionize. Also that isn’t the solution. All a union can do is get you a slightly higher paycheck and maybe some better job security, but your labor and wealth are still being stolen.
The game tester doesn’t make as much as the engineer. What a sick, sad world.
Sorry...no sympathy...10% and 20% raises each year and they're complaining...FU! My mother was a special ed school teacher with an M.A. for 36 years. She was lucky to get 2.5 % and she had to buy most of what she needed in the classroom. Sure I know, she got her summers off. BFD, she had to put up with the kids and worse their delinquent parent(s). So again, no sympathy. Sorry for the rant...
I think this is happening in all companies. My CEO has a salary of $20 million a year. Plus whatever stock bonuses they stack on top of that, so he’s probably at around $60-80 million a year.
what kind of daily mail crap is this?
What the hell would you need 40 million each year for anyway? Lifestyle is a silly reason as nothing costs that much per year unless you intentionally spend incredibly high for the sake of spending high. He'd be doing just as well making 10 million or even 5 million per year.
Why the hell would you need 10 million a year in that case lol? I’d be set for life with 10 million dollars. High stakes Fortune 500 logic is unfathomable to us plebes. The 40 million is obviously incentive to keep the company making billions. That 40mil is nothing to these guys. The guys who get paid dirt are easily replaceable. Keeping a company in top tier isn’t as easy. It’s why CEOs are changed like underwear. 40 million one year, jobless and ruined the next. Given blizzards sympathies with China I’m surprised any of them make a decent wage.
Well I can see someone needing several millions for a dream home or a couple of them. Also several hundreds of thousands for some kind of rich person collection like cars....but after that what the heck do you need?
Exactly. At a certain point your money just sits and makes more money. That’s why these “win big or lose everything” types make big salaries. The blizzard people could just stop now and go live dream lives. The thing is they are living their dream lives. Gambling addicts essentially. The thrill of it all on a billion dollar scale.
Buy that 10th house you will perhaps visit once in your lifetime? Yeah a need mate.
People also need to remember that people have left Blizzard, gone to other studios/tech companies, and gotten SIGNIFICANT pay raises. Meanwhile, that greedy, heartless shit, Bobby Kotick get $40 Million a year.
Ansd the CEO earning $40m+ a year is why i call BS on raising game prices
Exactly. These companies make a ton.
To anyone bashing Koticks salary, if you don't think he deserves it... go run a company and make it worth billions and billions if you think it is so easy.
It’s true, he’s been there for awhile. He’s made them a lot of money regardless of how you feel about him. If you don’t like the way he’s made them that money, it’s irrelevant, you gave it to him anyways. I think he’s a jerk but thats why he gets 40mil lol. The thing about the corporate cutthroats and politicians, you have to be a borderline sociopath to be successful. He’s good at what he does because he doesn’t care about you. They care about getting the most of your money or power, whatever it takes. High stakes corporations and politics are not built for the humbled. It’s difficult for most of us to screw over thousands like these people do lol. Our logic is biased and tainted with emotion. Very tough jobs.
I didn't know boot was such a popular taste on N4G. You guys have been brainwashed by decades of propoganda.
I don't like Bobby but in the end it is his company. There is no perfect world. Life is not fair.
Not even his, he’s just the chief executive officer. Look at it through his perspective. He just made the owners of activision a billion dollars and they only gave him 40 million. Plus as an employee he has to pay income taxes. That’s not fair, I would be pissed honestly. It’s why veteran devs are fleeing to smaller homegrown studios. Ownership>CEO
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