Michael Pachter Apologizes for Team Bondi Comments

Michael Pachter Apologizes for Team Bondi Comments

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Outspoken analyst Michael Pachter apologizes for his comments about Team Bondi employees not being entitled to overtime pay.

Back in July, industry analyst Michael Pachter prompted no small amount of outrage when he said that Team Bondi employees who complained about not being paid for the extra hours they put in during the crunch phase on L.A. Noire were in the wrong line of work. "If you're getting into the industry, you are going to work plenty of hours," he said. "If your complaint is you worked overtime and didn't get paid for it, find another profession."

But the ugly implosion of Team Bondi on the heels of what should have been a moment of triumph, followed by news that former employees are owed more than $1 million in unpaid wages and bonuses, has caused Pachter to change his tune. "Team Bondi bankruptcy embarrassing, especially with overworked employees left unpaid. Crunch complaints fair if workers unpaid. I apologize," he wrote on Twitter.

It's not exactly a complete turnaround - it's safe to assume that Pachter still believes that game developers will sometimes have to suck it up and take one for the team - but props to the man for admitting he was off-base on this one. There's an awfully big difference between working extra unpaid hours and working straight-up unpaid.

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guys an idiot either way, hed be fired if he was a boss in retail

i see somebody's wearing his ass for a hat...

as far as i'm concerned, not being paid overtime wages for overtime worked is slavery... unless you're salaried then you make it up by receiving the same pay when hours are reduced, but it still sucks

reCAPTCHA: call didure

There are alot of industries where a certain degree of unpaid overtime is expected from you from time to time.

If handled right then it's all part and parcel. There is a level when its getting to be dishonest. And if you have large protions of your team for extended periods of time running unpaid overtime then you are abusing the system. Once you've got past the point where the time lost in trainign temps to do the role has long gonethen you're probably in need of them, you'll get better work out of everyone. This of course assumes its saleried role with no paid overtime allowance. If your trying it on when your supposed to pay them, thats at very least breach of contract.

I can't say I agree with his original statement (because it IS true what sort of money these people make, however mistreating employees is never acceptable regardless of payment) but the guy isn't a time traveler and it's all too easy to condemn someone with hindsight. If Bondi had paid it's employees what they were owed (which again, is well over one million f**king dollars), his comments would be what he had intended them to be: harsh, but an accurate portrayal of the big picture.

red the fister:
i see somebody's wearing his ass for a hat...

as far as i'm concerned, not being paid overtime wages for overtime worked is slavery... unless you're salaried then you make it up by receiving the same pay when hours are reduced, but it still sucks

reCAPTCHA: call didure

That's Pachter for ya though, his head is always firmly nestled between the cheeks of his arse. Where else do you think he gets his predictions? It certainly ain't from inside his head that's for sure (specially when he rages about a company because they didn't do something he said they'd do).

Changes nothing, he's still a fucking retard.

Yeah, empty words when you say you're sorry after you end up destroying the studio and don't pay them.

"Whoops! I ruined your careers and livelihoods! My bad. Here's a consolation tweet."

Classy, bro. Twitter apology.

TitanAura:
I can't say I agree with his original statement (because it IS true what sort of money these people make, however mistreating employees is never acceptable regardless of payment) but the guy isn't a time traveler and it's all too easy to condemn someone with hindsight. If Bondi had paid it's employees what they were owed (which again, is well over one million f**king dollars), his comments would be what he had intended them to be: harsh, but an accurate portrayal of the big picture.

Yeah.

But he didn't pay them...and it may take ages to make it right, which in the meanwhile, means that they don't have to do anything. If we forget about it after a month or so, it makes it acceptable to shove your problems under the rug, and what does that say about ACTUAL practices compared to what is stated to be business as usual to smooth things over?

So...

What a jackass. The still-frame picture from whatever interview that was says it all, really... "oooh, look, my office is just JAM-PACKED with games, therefore I must know all about the industry..."

Having worked my fair share of ridiculous gaming crunch over the last few decades, I can attest to the fact that it sucks. It's also counter productive - once you've been awake and working for 15 or 20 hours non stop, your productivity goes into freefall. There were countless occasions where I was banging my head against a bug for hours at 4am, went home, slept, back in the office for 10am and fixed it in 2 minutes flat.

The dude is still a tool. He should be fired and people should stop reporting on him. That is all.

And my opinion of Pachter still remains the same since the first time I listened to his blah blah blah way back. Douchebag. How does it feel to be a tool Pachter? Shouldn't have said a damn thing, but it's ok because you have a nice comfy job talking about shit you have no clue about. Good game guy. Stay classy.

And Pachter continues to prove that he's more fit for a career in half-assed fortune telling then industry analysis.

Salaried employees don't get overtime. Employees not on salary get paid for overtime. It's a law. There really isn't anything up for debate here.

weirdguy:
Yeah, empty words when you say you're sorry after you end up destroying the studio and don't pay them.

"Whoops! I ruined your careers and livelihoods! My bad. Here's a consolation tweet."

Classy, bro. Twitter apology.

Yeah.

But he didn't pay them...and it may take ages to make it right, which in the meanwhile, means that they don't have to do anything. If we forget about it after a month or so, it makes it acceptable to shove your problems under the rug, and what does that say about ACTUAL practices compared to what is stated to be business as usual to smooth things over?

So...

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA-*BREATH*-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Get your facts straight. The dude is an analyst. He has nothing to do with Team Bondi's financial problems, he merely commented on them in an incredibly insensitive manner. He's an observer, not a player. It's like blaming a football team losing the last game of their season on a douchebag who was yelling insults at them from the stands. It's justifiably easy to make him the target of your ire but it doesn't mean everything was his fault. Obviously there was a deeper problem within the team or else the insults wouldn't have swayed them in the least.

A douchebag is a douchebag but that doesn't mean you can pin him with crimes that he isn't responsible for.

Andy Chalk:
It's not exactly a complete turnaround - it's safe to assume that Pachter still believes that game developers will sometimes have to suck it up and take one for the team

And he'd still be wrong. Unwilling to pay your employees overtime when their pay structure dictates they should be paid it? Don't make them work it. It's as simple as that as far as I'm concerned.

But at least we can all agree that completely unpaid = total bullshit. Although really, who would actually disagree with that?

I honestly don't even care. Is it annoying he makes comments based on bad information? Yes. But what makes me forgive him is that he just straight up apologized. No dodging around it, no attempts to backtrack and rework his words to be right. He said he was wrong, which is something we don't see very much in the corporate or political world anymore. Consider yourself forgiven by me, Patcher.

Who cares? He never says anything of worth, why he's even reported on at all is beyond me. Just so happens that he was particularly obnoxious in this instance.

Escapist, I can be your very own analyst - I charge £30 and a Mars bar per weekly analysis. And I bet I'd get more right then that guy.

Woodsey:
Who cares? He never says anything of worth, why he's even reported on at all is beyond me. Just so happens that he was particularly obnoxious in this instance.

Escapist, I can be your very own analyst - I charge £30 and a Mars bar per weekly analysis. And I bet I'd get more right then that guy.

This was my thinking. Why does this guy keep making the news, when he never has anything useful to say? He's always wrong, and seems like the only reason he's around is because he's "outspoken". I'm outspoken in class, and that only gets me in trouble. I feel this person should enjoy that same fate.
Also I'll also charge 30 pounds a week (converted into US) and not even require Mars bars. I'll do it for a bag of beans. 99 cents at wegman's, oh yeah.

I don't understand people's complacency with "being expected to work unpaid overtime" so long as you're a salaried employee. Salary still implies a regular schedule, except for peak periods (40 hours a week, on AVERAGE). The only people who's jobs require odd schedules are those which have direct control over their workload (ie Real Estate agent, Surgeon, Lawyer, etc.)

Unpaid overtime is only necessary in jobs where you can't forecast workload, like in journalism or a hospital. If some breaking story occurs or the emergency room sees an extraordinary influx of patients, then its fully understandable to have the necessecity for ad-hoc overtime. In the video game industry however, you can very much forecast what your workload will be, there is really no excuse for it. There's no such thing as an emergency. Now, there are roles that require overtime on very much scheduled occasions (ie Finance, during reporting period deadlines) but then they keep you on-board during the slow periods as well (this doesn't happen in the video game industry).

The only reason unpaid overtime happens in the video game industry is precisely because of the current model. We are living in a time where studio survival is extremely risky and full of uncertainties. Management is taking advantage of its workers by offsetting the funds required to accomplish something (ie making a game) and placing it directly on its workers. If the game isn't successful or the studio goes bankrupt (such as in this case), the workers don't get paid. Who's fault is that? If an employee didn't have any control over direction or management, why is this acceptable? Why do people defend it? The only people who should have this requirement are those who have direct control over the project. If you don't have any control, having to assume the corporate risk of failure is simply not fair nor competitive.

-Axle-:
In the video game industry however, you can very much forecast what your workload will be, there is really no excuse for it. There's no such thing as an emergency.

First off - nobody misread the beginning of this long post and think for one second that I'm defending what went on at Team Bondi. Oh, and just for the record a second time... Pachter is a tool.

However, I have to disagree with you on this one. I can tell that you don't work in the industry, because if you did, you'd know that it's actually quite difficult to predict with accuracy how long certain tasks are going to take, especially for engineers. Art and design are somewhat easier because future predictions can be based on previous work - if car model 'x' took 'y' man hours, then car model 'z' can realistically be expected to be similar.

Engineering, though, is hard. Assumptions about a task have to be made when scheduling, and these assumptions can (and quite often do) turn out to be wrong - maybe it's problematic performance of middleware, maybe awesome design idea 'a' turns out to suck once it's implemented and you have to go back to the drawing board, or perhaps a seemingly simple task ends up being far more involved than originally thought once the initial investigation has been done.

And there are emergencies during game development; some are brought upon ourselves, such as having to implement some previously unscheduled feature that marketing or sales 'really need' so that the game can have prime billing in Walmart, or whatever, or perhaps your shit-hot physics engineer breaks his hand and can't work for 2 months. Your schedule goes completely out the window at that point. So, yes, there are emergencies. (And don't say "well, just tell marketing no".... the world doesn't work like that)

However, everything I have just said does not justify what went on at Team Bondi. There's a world of difference between having constantly shifting schedules, due to the fact that it's hard to predict engineering tasks, and horrendous mismanagement of people's time. What I described above can be managed by a good lead programmer or producer; yes, perhaps some features may end up being cut, or some tasks take a bit longer than planned, but the overall big picture can be managed and mitigated.

Crunch periods come down to two basic problems - time and money. Publishers these days (and it's getting worse) expect everything to be done in less time and with less people so they can get the product to market quicker and, in theory, spend less money doing it. What inevitably happens is what went down at Team Bondi - the lack of resources on the project starts to snowball out of control. What was once a project a few weeks behind ends up being a project that is six months behind, which then requires the publisher to invest more and more money on more people, and the game has to slip, and on and on. The typical publisher approach tends to be 'penny wise, pound foolish'. What they fail to realize, because most people who run publishers know nothing about development and care only about their spreadsheet, is that a little more investment at the beginning of the project will save ten times that on the back end, and will give you a far better chance of getting your game out on time and within budget. It happens time and time again, and frustrates the crap out of me.

Rant over.

DiamanteGeeza:

-Axle-:
In the video game industry however, you can very much forecast what your workload will be, there is really no excuse for it. There's no such thing as an emergency.

First off - nobody misread the beginning of this long post and think for one second that I'm defending what went on at Team Bondi. Oh, and just for the record a second time... Pachter is a tool.

However, I have to disagree with you on this one. I can tell that you don't work in the industry, because if you did, you'd know that it's actually quite difficult to predict with accuracy how long certain tasks are going to take, especially for engineers. Art and design are somewhat easier because future predictions can be based on previous work - if car model 'x' took 'y' man hours, then car model 'z' can realistically be expected to be similar.

Sorry, I should clarify, by emergencies I meant something dire that can't be ignored (literally), like a fatally ill person in front of you or an immediate deadline (like 24 hour requirements for legal reasons or whatnot).

The "emergencies" you're describing really happens in every industry and I wasn't trying to imply that it isn't there for the video game industry, as you indicated, they're clearly there.

For example, take a construction company;
Is it a big project? Yes
Are millions of $ at stake? Yes
Is there critical talent required? Yes
Is there deadlines to meet? Yes
Does the project span years? Yes
etc. etc. etc.

Any hiccup in the timeline and your whole project can be severely compromised. Really and truly, the crux of the whole matter is project work. If you've ever been involved in project work, you will have an appreciation for how many unknowns there are and how many things can go wrong. But one of the basics is the planning and coordination. This is something that they (the VG industry) has been nailed for before and is clearly showing most notably now that it doesn't do well (nor does it look like it plans to change anytime soon, regrettably).

Now I could sit here and talk about potential solutions and all that but I think we all know its not a simple thing to fix. One thing that is for darn certain though, is you don't (shouldn't) demand unpaid overtime from your staff because you chose to skimp out on the bill. You don't see construction companies asking their workers to work (excessive) unpaid overtime and only paying them once they sell the real estate and there's a reason for that, and it doesn't have to do with wages. It goes for everything, if you only have to pay people after you've achieved success, then you never really took a risk in the first place. Its like going to a casino, saying that you're betting $1,000 but only fronting $250, if you win, you'll make up for that $750 you were short, if you don't though, you're only out $250 instead of $1,000.

 

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