Today’s news roundup sees Rockstar (apart from acknowledging ‘we’re not perfect’) whole-heartedly denying accusations of employee mistreatment at their San Diego office. The BBC canvases the game’s industry for a bit of help turning some of their most popular shows into videogames. And lastly, it looks like Tiger Woods still burns bright with EA as the company decides to keep developing games starring the golf number one.
Rockstar denies San Diego accusations
The horrendous way in which game’s publishers treat their staff has gained a great deal of publicity recently after a series of anonymous blogs accused the industry of extreme long hours, overtime cuts, and no holiday pay. The whistle-blowers included current and x-employees who described conditions similar to a Dickensian-style-workhouse or Gulag. Some, like EA’s Erin Hoffman, even said they couldn’t be fully explicit for fear of reprisals against their families - resembling something similar to the Stalinist terror of the 1930s. However in response to a particularly heated blog which condemned the working conditions at Rockstar’s San Diego office (currently developing Red Dead Redemption), the company has just released a statement denying all accusations.
‘Unfortunately, this is a case of people taking the opinions of a few anonymous posters on message boards as fact. No business is ever perfect, but Rockstar Games is a tight knit team made up of around 900 supremely talented and motivated professionals.’ Hang-on, a tight-knit team of 900 people…? ‘We've always cared passionately about the people working here’ they went on ‘and have always tried to maintain a supportive creative environment. There is simply no way Rockstar could continue to produce such large scale, high quality games without this.’ Although Rockstar maintains its integrity, the anonymous blogger was backed up by several others who described similar experiences working at the San Diego office. [Eurogamer]
Check out Tamsin's article 'The Human Factor' for more on the subject.
New games based on BBC shows coming
Apparently the BBC is looking for ways of turning its best loved shows into videogames. According to MVC, the BBC is looking into the possibility of making adaptations of popular series’ like Top Gear, Doctor Who and In the Night Garden – to name a just a few. Neil Ross Russell told MVC, ‘We are open to conversations with anybody in games about all kinds of business models to see how we can extract more value. What we’re trying to do is build the brands here this is not about opportunistic licensing. If we wanted to do that we would have done more with these key brands over the last few years.’ [GamerRSS]
Tiger Woods 11/Online this summer
Although they wavered, EA have now decided that, despite the controversy, they are going to continue developing Tiger Woods videogames because they are just too lucrative to drop. And although this certainly wasn’t the case for a string of other advertisers and sponsors – like Gillette – who dropped Woods the moment details regarding his sordid private life hit the headlines, EA are standing by their man. That’s not to say that the company didn’t consider the possibility of parting company with the golf number one. They recently conducted a survey in which they asked gamers to state whether they would be less, or indeed more, likely to purchase a Woods’ game as a result of the controversy. And ultimatly, it looks like EA have come round to the fact that all publicity is good publicity. [playTM]