Crunch Mode in the News

A picture of Joe Straitiff and his baby daughter

ea_spouse is by no means alone in her complaints; shortly after her post, others working with EA and other companies started posting their stories. Joe Straitiff, a software engineer who was transferred into EA due to a merger, posted his frustrating experiences at EA on another blog, noting that "you can't spell ExploitAtion without EA."

In his blog entry, Straitiff describes the intense pressure to work long hours he and under employees had to deal with at EA. Straitiff's manager hung a neon sign reading "Open 7 Days" in the team's common area and regularly sent e-mails to employees telling them that he would "see them over the weekend." Straitiff describes working 14 hour days to meet a milestone for his project, coming home well after midnight and staying up half the night tending to his sick baby daughter, and then being lambasted the next day at work for coming in at 11:30am.

During his tenure at EA, Straitiff's relationship with his wife and daughter became extremely strained. When the EA employee was at home, his daughter was usually asleep. Straitiff was often so tired from working all day that he had little energy to do anything recreational in the little free time he had. ea_spouse says similar things about her partner, stating that he often came home with "a headache that [would] not go away and a chronically upset stomach."

Footnote: recent developments

ea_spouse is starting a watchdog website focused on game development called Gamewatch.

On July 29, 2004, a class-action lawsuit on behalf of EA employees was started by an EA employee. The lawsuit claims that EA incorrectly labels some of its employees as "specialty" employees who are exempt from overtime; it seeks to obtain overtime compensation along with statutory penalties from EA.

Since July, there has been little to no new information about the lawsuit, and its current status is uncertain.