'Crunch' time is games industry's dirty secret

'Crunch' time at the end of game development projects is widely unpopular with unpaid or underpaid developers

A poll carried out by the UK's Develop magazine has revealed the widespread unpopularity of "the industry's dirty secret" – those periods of long (and often unpaid) overtime towards the end of projects commonly referred to as 'crunch'.

Develop reports that its Quality of Life survey "has clearly hit a nerve, with a huge number of developers keen to vent about their working conditions."

Outright sociopathy

One developer polled noted that "crunch wasn't just caused by bad planning, but also by 'outright sociopathy' on the part of producers, leads and publishers."

Indeed, after a few drinks in any E3 press lounge, it is common to hear senior members of development teams bragging about the harshness of crunch periods. Funnily enough, it is less common to hear their lower-ranking staff express similar attitudes to long periods of unpaid (or underpaid) overtime on projects.

If you are a developer or have had experience of these issues yourself, you can head over to contribute to Develop's poll "if you feel like you're overworked, that bad decisions are made that affect your life, or that you've been discriminated against for voicing opinions about overtime."