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Game Developer Quality-of-Life Survey

March 18, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

Crunch Time

Crunch intensity and duration

Crunch times vary rather wildly, according to the survey respondents; 7% report working crunch schedules less than 40 hours/week, 25% work 40-50 hours, 27% work 51-60 hours, 20% work 61-70 hours, 12% work 71-80 hours, and 10% work 80+ hours.

These schedules rarely last more than four months; 29% report crunch cycles that last less than a month, 30% 1-2 months, 23% 3-4 months, 7% 5-6 months, 3% 7-8 months, 2% 11-12 months, and 3% more than a year. (One wonders at what point a yearlong crunch cycle is simply considered a typical work week.)

We found that simply having crunch cycles was enough to dent reported job satisfaction, though the duration doesn’t seem to affect that factor. Interestingly enough, 38% of devs who regularly work less than 40 hours and 32% of devs who regularly work 41-50 hour weeks do not see their hours increase during a crunch cycle, compared to 25% for devs with 51-60 hour weeks and 7% for 61-70 hour weeks.

Essentially, the longer your regular working schedules are, the more likely you are to work even longer hours during crunch, not less -- something to keep in mind next time you're asked to work longer hours during normal dev cycles in order to avoid crunch later on. Also, crunch cycles happen for all types of games at about the same rates; it doesn't matter whether you're making console games or social games, you're still equally likely to end up in crunch. Location doesn’t correlate strongly with crunch duration or intensity.

Crunch impact

Asked to measure the impact crunch cycles have on their social and family life, 1% of devs respond that it has a very positive impact, 4% report a somewhat positive impact, 17% see no impact, 50% see a somewhat negative impact, and 28% see a very negative impact. In general, devs start reporting a negative impact on their social/family lives when crunch schedules exceed 50-hour weeks.

Crunch cycles also have very widespread effects on devs' physical health; 9% report a large impact, 33% report a moderate impact, 40% report minimal impact, and only 18% report no impact; certainly something worth considering, especially in light of how important benefits packages are for job satisfaction.


Confidence in management

Developers skew somewhat confident in their current project's management, with 26% reporting they are very confident, 32% somewhat confident, 16% neutral, 16% somewhat unsure, and 10% very unsure. (Considering just under half the respondents to the survey identify themselves as part of the management team, we thought we'd point out that respondents in managerial roles are 15% more likely to report confidence in management.) A whopping 91% of respondents who are very confident in management also report positive job satisfaction, so it's clearly a very important factor for retention and morale.

Management's satisfaction

Managers are twice as likely to be satisfied with their jobs, more likely to be allowed to work from home (56%, compared to 29% of non-managers), more confident the product will be good (75% compared to 61% of non-managers), and half as likely to report a very negative impact on their family and social life during normal dev cycles. 25% of managers spend over 12 hours per day at home, compared to 14% of non-managers.

Overall, it sounds pretty good to be in management, though they are more likely to regularly work weekends and holidays (59% compared to 41% for non-managers). Only 30% of managers never work weekends or holidays, so if you want those managerial perks, you'll have to pay for it.

Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

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