Xbox Head Defends Bethesda In Wake Of Crunch Allegations

Head of Xbox Matt Booty said that it’s ‘unfair’ to put crunch culture on ‘one studio’

The story is too old to be commented.
SullysCigar222d ago

"Head of Xbox Matt Booty said that it’s ‘unfair’ to put crunch culture on ‘one studio’"

Alright Matt, so you're saying it's okay because there are other studios that crunch too? What sort of effed up logic is that for a supposed leader?

Fishy Fingers222d ago

"I don’t say that to justify it"

SullysCigar222d ago

Then why not take the criticism on the chin? Crunch is bad at any studio, including Bethesda. Own it, don't deflect.

Sometimes you just gotta take it, Booty..

Rimeskeem221d ago

That just makes them a hypocrite?

Germaximus221d ago

That's exactly why you would say such a thing. There's literally no other reason to mention it unless you're justifying it.

S2Killinit221d ago (Edited 221d ago )

Its interesting that MS came to the defense of Activisn/Blizzard but didnt say anything when Bobby Kotic got re-elected to Activisn board. People said MS has no say in it, but now it seems they did and stayed silent. Interesting.

Lifexline221d ago

I do wonder if people just read the sensational headlines and run with it or if they actually bother to take the time to read the article.

JackBNimble221d ago

Meanwhile everyone is bitching about delays

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 221d ago
Obscure_Observer222d ago (Edited 222d ago )

"Then why not take the criticism on the chin? Crunch is bad at any studio, including Bethesda. Own it, don't deflect."

Wtf are you talking about? Did you even bother to read the article?

Kotaku´s report about crunch practices at Zenimax/Bethesda dated from 2018 during Fallout 76´s development. They were independent at the time, so how exactly Matt Booty should "own" any criticism towards Bethesda if the said company wasn´t an Xbox first party studio?

SullysCigar221d ago

And yet he feels he should defend them. So he's acknowledged the issue, it makes no odds when it took place.

If he feels the need to comment on it at all, he should simply assure everyone that it won't happen on his watch. Instead, he defended them because he felt they were being singled out. That's deflection, not condemnation.

Pointless saying this to you though, I do realise this.

Wintersun616221d ago

Did YOU bother to read the article? Or is your brain selective with the information it can absorb?

"Former Bethesda employees said that Xbox took a hands-off approach to managing ZeniMax once the acquisition closed, frustrating workers who’d hoped that Microsoft would improve their employment benefits.

ZeniMax wasn’t the only Xbox-owned studio that allegedly received relative autonomy from the publisher. Former employees at Undead Labs also claimed that Xbox took a “hands-off” approach after acquiring that game studio. While it may seem good that the publisher is allowing acquired studios some operational freedoms, sources at Undead Labs worried that such permissiveness “allowed dysfunction to fester.”"

Orchard221d ago

But we're all guilty of enabling the behavior. People complain vehemently when games are delayed.

He is right that it's unfair to blame that culture on one studio when it is an industry wide standard. Looking at your name, you're a fan of ND, who are renowned for some of the worst crunch in the industry, so you've likely also contributed to the problem.

SullysCigar221d ago

Lmao don't be ridiculous. How are you gonna put this awful practice on the gamer? If it's not ready, gamers whine, so what? They'll still buy it down the line and devs/pubs know that. You think if I send a tweet saying "hurry up", they're going to work harder and longer? Lol

It's done to make money sooner. To satisfy investors, per the preferred schedule, at the behest of the management. You can't possibly be that naive that you don't understand that. I refuse to believe it.

Orchard221d ago

I never said it was wholly the gamers fault - obviously corporations are to blame too, but yes, gamers contribute.

The next time a big game gets delayed, go on the developers twitter and see how much abuse they get - both the company and the individuals who work there. Some will even be getting death threats if the game is big enough.

And no naivety at all on my part - I've lived through game delays myself, seen how much potential community reaction is weighted before making the call to delay a title, and seen the BS received from the community.

The industry and gamers view game delays as the end of the world and use it as a reason to attack the people working on the game, when in reality, delays should be common to ensure both quality of the game and quality of life for the staff.

SullysCigar221d ago

^ Orchard, you clearly have zero clue what you're talking about on this front.

Now you're justifying crunch if the backlash is bad enough. A few stupid people on twitter say stupid things and you'll adjust a project timeline to appease them? That's just not how the world works, but go ahead and try screaming and swearing next time you get a parking ticket and test the theory for yourself lol

You never give in to bullies. All that does is proliferate bullying. I can accept that's not always easy if it's one-to-one and face-to-face, but for a corporation what you're suggesting is pure fantasy and if that's how you make your decisions, you'll last 5 minutes in the role.

As for your suggestion "delays should be common", no, the project should be better managed, obviously outside of extenuating circumstances like pandemics, earthquakes and the like.

Crunch is never the answer, on that we can agree, but if you arrive at a point where that option is even being discussed, you'd better have a damn good reason for things getting that far.

Crows90221d ago (Edited 221d ago )

Nope. We don't contribute when we have no direct control. Gamers complain, people complain that doesn't mean gamers are responsible for crunch. It's not like we asked them to show us something that is 3+ years away.

We did not ask them to crunch in order to finish. We did not ask them to announce an unrealistic release window.

No. Gamers do not contribute to crunch. Devs do that in order to meet deadlines and fiscal year goals.

You're telling me these devs have never heard that they can ignore all the stinky social media avenues and still announce and give out updates on their websites? They put themselves in positions to be insulted. And then only some individuals engage in that behaviour. And you claim that because some do it we all collaborate and contribute. No that's not how it works. You don't get to put any blame on someone for something you did. Even if you allowed yourself to be influenced.

crazyCoconuts221d ago

Beyond customer expectations there are deadlines tied to financial things as well like missing a holiday season or running out of money. That last minute "crunch" exists in lots of industries and is natural. When it's chronic, you lose good people, so smart companies know they need to control it and they do

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 221d ago
Rimeskeem221d ago

The phrase you are looking for is "Ad populum" or Bandwagon appeal.

Which is one of the most common logical fallacies used.

SullysCigar221d ago

Nicely summed up, thanks Rimeskeem.

Atom666221d ago

Put the pitchforks away for at least a day.

Accurately acknowledging that crunch is an issue across the industry isn't the same as saying it's "okay."

There's better stories to console war over than this.

1Victor221d ago (Edited 221d ago )

To be fair it happened before they got acquired by Xbox but that’s not an excuse his response should have been we are aware of crunch culture and are doing everything possible to end it including (insert a example here)and we will continue to fight to end this practice, instead he defended it to the point of saying he himself slept under his desk at his beginnings and wear that as a honor medal 🤦🏿

Atom666221d ago

He's stating the obvious to a group of staff who knows it is the reality of where the industry was at.

In 2022, Kotaku wrote a story about Bethesda. That story talked about crunch in 2018 and prior.

Also in 2022, an exec at MS addressed the click bait article with staff and explained that crunch was common across the board in the past.

Then, he specifically confirms that they've followed up with the studio to confirm the old ways aren't being followed today.

I'd say he did and said exactly what he should have here. I'd also say Kotaku still has a hard on for MS.

Obscure_Observer220d ago (Edited 220d ago )

"If he feels the need to comment on it at all, he should simply assure everyone that it won't happen on his watch. Instead, he defended them because he felt they were being singled out. That's deflection, not condemnation."

He didn´t "comment" on anything. He was asked a question which demands an answer. It was a Q&A segment. Just read the damn article already and stop with your dumb assumptions.

Now, since when a Kotaku report means "condemnation"?

How Booty is supposed to take sides when he has no knowledge or proved facts about circumstances that not took place on his watch?

Your little rant is pathetic and down right hypocrite. Yeah, I don´t remember you going ape sh!t over Druckmman ´s systematic crunch practices at Naughty Dog reported by the same Kotaku that you´re endorsing here. Nor did you skipped Tlou 2 over crunch accusations, so gimme a break and quit this shining knight act bs because your wallet spoke louder for you. You´re not fooling anyone but yourself.

You don´t care about the developers working conditions at all. Your little drama here is all about your hate towards Microsoft. Nothing more nothing less.

1Victor220d ago

ASSuming you are responding to my comment how do you know I purchased tlu2 ? How do you know I hate Microsoft because I give them credit when they do good for the industry and community unlike you I don’t give half praises and a jab at the same time.
At the time it was WAS a a wide spread practice that has been going on in the industry before you got born, was it ok 1 billion % NO but culture at the time allowed it NOW it’s a different world and we have evolved to be more tolerant and fight harder for the rights of everyone regardless of sex, color, race or profession.

Obscure_Observer220d ago (Edited 220d ago )


The first quote in my response is not yours. So no, I´m not responding to you. My reply is meant to SullysCigar.

Thanks for the attention, though.

MrCrimson220d ago

Games are humongous group projects. Crunch happens in all industries.

RedDevils220d ago

Lol first time reading it, I thought it Matt Booby.

Zhipp220d ago

I read another article that includes the full quote earlier, and i have to say this is one of the worst headlines I've seen on this site to date. It's totally out of context to the point where it implies he said the literal opposite of what he actually did.

KillBill220d ago

You are missing the point that the issue is not fully on the back of Bethesda alone like people try to make it out as. Bethesda and Microsoft have completely reworked their dev focus and the idea of including crunch time is not part of it. Oddly fanboys want to complain about a single studio that has since changed its practices... he is simply defending the gangbanging going on.

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 220d ago
Orchard221d ago

He's not wrong that it's standard in the industry (unfortunately). That being said, MS are the biggest corporation which is in gaming, they should be leading the way, so I expect better leadership than 'it's the standard so let's keep doing it'.

I hate game delays, but the standard should be to delay games instead of making people work themselves into the grave. Hopefully their working conditions get better now that they're part of MS.

VenomCarnage89221d ago

The standard should be to not set other people's standards with a release window that is entirely unrealistic. It should also be to not show your game 6 years ahead of time and then have to have 2 years of crunch because people have grown entirely impatient by the piss poor handling of the info that goes public. But now that Ms has them under their wing, the incompetence in each company will only multiply because Ms and Bethesda are both the goats at that garbage in the gaming world

S2Killinit221d ago (Edited 221d ago )

MS is the third or fourth largest corporation “in gaming”. After Sony, Tencent, and Nintendo. Just FYI

Atom666221d ago

MS is larger than all 3.

S2Killinit221d ago

No they are not. Google it.

S2Killinit221d ago

Here is one but there is much more written on this.

Atom666221d ago (Edited 221d ago )

Largest corporations in gaming:

Apple, MS, Google, Amazon.

Read what he said. Largest corporations "which is in gaming." Not largest market share, revenue, etc.

VenomCarnage89220d ago

We get it Atom, but we all comprehended what he meant from the get go

Atom666220d ago


I would disagree that "all" comprehended what he said.

VenomCarnage89216d ago

I get surprised by people who see a word like "all" or "everyone" and think it means *literally* 100.00% of everyone in question, without question. You gotta learn when to take a word literally and when to generalize the meaning of it

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 216d ago
DrDoomer221d ago

damn, they crunch their employees and still release unfinished games.

221d ago Replies(2)
rlow1221d ago (Edited 221d ago )

Crunching has been going on forever and will probably not go away anytime soon. But funny how you all want to make this such a big deal. At least In the U.S. I know tons of people who work 12 hour days 6 days a week at factories and small industrial sites. In condition that aren’t some nice comfortable, air conditioned office space.
My point is, this is nothing unique to this industry and plenty of people work shitty long hours for much less pay in other industry.
To discredit how the gaming community reacts to delays is BS. All the negative articles, whining from the community, and toxic twitter crap. Can have an effect, especially on a smaller company.
But what cracks me up the most is people trying to spin this into MS not caring crap. So let me ask? Didn’t Xbox and Bethesda just delay it’s two biggest games this year? Haven’t they been taking a lot of shit for that? But they did the right thing, they didn’t crunch the studios so they could get it done.
Talk is cheap, actions only count and by their actions they have shown their willing to take the hard knocks to do the right thing. Argue all you want proof is in the pudding.

CantThinkOfAUsername221d ago

"they didn't crunch the studios"
My man, the only reason for delay in game development is they can't crunch enough to meet the deadline/release date. Last stage of development is the worst for crunch, especially for debuggers and programmers putting it all together and making sure the systems in place work. Creative jobs do get crunch as well, but those two got it the worst. This job is simply not for humans.

rlow1221d ago

Well since I don’t have hard data to either refute or a agree with your opinion. I’ll stand by what I’ve said. But that is really where the problem arises. Nobody knows for sure how much crunching goes on and how widespread it is. One persons experience at one company does not speak for the whole.
As for delays, can you provide data that supports your claim that with that extra time they are crunching? I’m not saying your wrong but opinion vs hard facts and obviously hard facts are what’s needed.

Show all comments (63)
The story is too old to be commented.