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A Precarious GameThe Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry$
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Ergin Bulut

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746529

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746529.001.0001

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Production Error

Production Error

Layoffs Hit the Core Creatives

(p.141) 7 Production Error
A Precarious Game

Ergin Bulut

Cornell University Press

This chapter reveals how even upper-rank workers are not exempt from layoffs, financial insecurity, and the anxiety of working in a hit-driven industry. While being bought out by Digital Creatives initially provided financial security for Studio Desire's game developers, Digital Creatives' hasty, adverse investment decisions destabilized their flagship studio. When Digital Creatives eventually declared bankruptcy, Studio Desire's developers found themselves working in a perpetual-growth machine without much morale. The chapter then addresses workers' indifference toward unionization. Game developers' perception of creative work—that one needs to think outside the box, that creative work is decidedly different from blue-collar work, and that therefore unions would not be helpful—is socially structured. Yet they seem to be indifferent to facing and managing risk in more collective ways.

Keywords:   upper-rank workers, layoffs, financial insecurity, Digital Creatives, Studio Desire, game developers, unionization, creative work, unions

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