Alex Hinkley receives a Smack Down

Here is a response to a really insulting article concerning the earnings of Game Developers recently posted on the Examiner.
Here is the link to the article.


This article is an asinine poorly thought out tantrum.

Stick around for subsequent smack down.

Firstly; you presume that you can tell a person what they are allowed to do with their income. You think yourself priest enough, that you can insist what their earnings can or cannot be spent on. I'm not even getting into the amounts they are paid yet, I just need you to be aware that you are essentially saying that you can be upset that a person spends their money on what they want to. You did this in print for all to see, and stand with arms akimbo like you are a proud revolutionary. Zero irony.

Secondly; you carry on in this fit about how game developers make too much. Here is a simple truth. Games are a luxury item. You do not need your games. Yes, police, firemen, and teachers are vital and should be paid their worth. I absolutely believe that, and have voted, and paid to make it so. However you, and the public have put forth your vote on what is most important with your taxing decisions and your dollar. The American society values luxury more than necessity. Need an example? Did you stop to look up how much the designer of aforementioned sports car made? How about the engineer? The CEO of that company? What about the movies that CEO likes to watch? How much do the director, or actors make? A lot more than game devs, and an embarrassingly larger sum than the symbolic Teacher, the Fireman, or the Police Officer. The people of this country value luxury, and thus those that deliver it get paid more. Simple economics.

Thirdly; your math argument is boldly idiotic. "Keep in mind that many game studios employ literally thousands of people." -False. Most studios, even triple A studios employ literally a few hundred. LITERALLY. Few push into near quadruple digits. Riot, Blizzard, and maybe a few Activision satellites. And I can promise you those dev's salaries are wildly varied depending on necessity or perceived necessity. (See crushing point number 2).

Your average salary number contains the disparate incomes of Studio Heads, Game Directors, Art Directors, HEAD PROGRAMMERS, and QA teams, likely even janitorial staff, and security. So it's a very soft average. Did I mention Programmers? They make barrels of cash because their jobs are hard, and supremely vital. Dennis Nedry taught us a valuable lesson of why we don't fuck with programmers. PEOPLE DIE, MAN!

"If the average salary is $81,000, then a studio with 2,000 employees is paying out roughly $162 million in salaries alone." -False. We already discussed that salaries vary, and your numbers of employees are yanked directly from your rectum. But let's get into the budget of a game a little bit. Triple A game budgets are prepared with full knowledge and expectation of what they are trying to make back. It is a business after all. The goal is to make more money than you put in. Logical, right? Investors and publishers DO NOT throw a massive pile of money into a pit and HOPE that they'll get their return. Budgets to deliver the class of game that YOU and the public have come to demand are large, but not beyond the bare minimum of what they need to be to get that game shipped. Publishers invested the money and they want to make it back plus enough to have made it worth while. Devs are only a tool in that process doing what they love and getting paid to make publishers happy. Devs need to be paid less? Have you ever thought that gamers need to not expect a bowel loosening-paradigm shifting gaming experience from every disc they acquire? Of course not. No gamer does. I love my games as they are. Budgets are up because standards are also up.

"And that's not even including any of the bonuses of benefits which if the average is $17,000 yearly would be another $34 million." -False. Your source is for programmers, yet again, the highest paid on the floor devs in the industry. Fluffed numbers aside, most studios do not offer royalties. Bonuses are lean, and usually paid out to make up for profound amounts of overtime. You think seventeen or eighteen hour days are a thing of the past? Crunch is dead? Oh, my friend, you could not be more wrong. I did the math with my own salary and a few others. If you account for actual time at work in an hourly wage, you would find your absurd estimations are down right laughable. Game dev studios perform these crunches to keep from going OVER budget. They spend more time at work than with their families for a thing they are passionate about, to deliver a product that they; in their deepest wettest dreams, hope you will enjoy. I'm not complaining, or whining for them. We love what we do, that's why we do it. But an interview or two before you churn out drek would really help you not look the fool.

"No wonder games are so expensive to make! What if these numbers were cut in half? This would only benefit gamers." -True... and False. Yes, the games are expensive. What if the numbers were cut in half? Oh yes! Gamers would benefit, surely, the games would be cheaper. Game devs would not benefit directly, and your games would not be made, or be made sub-par. Enjoy the benefits of your utopian game developing fantasy. Indie games are out there, and they are on the rise. I see you partake yourself. Good on you. But don't presume to insult or insist that anyone else HAS to take your route of development.

The most damning part of this article is your terrible misrepresentation of Cliffy B's quote. I hope you purposefully messed that up, because the thought that you actually think that's a justification or defense for your argument will be an affirmation that I have indeed been wasting my time shedding some light.

He is talking about equalizing the cost to return ratio by removing what the publishers have implied is a seeping monetary wound in the industry and a justified reason for price hikes. He is not saying lower salaries. He is not suggesting that developers 'make too much'. He is saying lower the cost of production that is being woven into budgets to cover heavy losses in the rental/return market. This is obvious, and I truly hope you just had ill will and malicious intent in including it in the article. No one enjoys dunking on someone that is incapable of jumping. It loses all the fun.

My favorite remark in your article is this: "Why are developers making so much money? It might be tedious or even grueling at times and require long hours and lots of commitment, but working in the video game industry is generally fun. People should be working in the gaming industry because they want to create awesome games. Not because they want to become rich. When did the gaming industry become so corporate?"

This logic could be applied to ANY job. Teachers, police men, corporate officers, architects, scribes of terribly researched and thought out articles, artists, musicians, politicians.

I want you to read it again. Slowly. Try to be objective. That's generally the job of a journalist. Especially one that gets paid for it. Read it one more time.

If you aren't cackling with laughter at that statement, you haven't the forebrain to deal with the world around you, and I hope you are institutionalized for your own safety. The world is just going to tear you apart.

Please take more care when you write. Get more rounded sources, the internet doesn't have all the answers. Try also to not let your own feelings of misguided injustice lead your fingers into saying things that are so non-purposefully funny.

I hope the Examiner reconsiders it's gaming journalists with more care and caution in the future. Actually, Examiner? If you are taking applications...

I partially apologize. This is my first response to a ridiculous article like this. So like a baby rattle snake, I am probably spurting more venom than necessary to drop the simple woodland critter I caught unawares.


Aerozopher said...


John Sarpas said...

This blog post is complete BS. It's like you didn't even understand what you were reading when you read Alex's article. Or did you read it?

Izzy Medrano said...

I responded to every claim in kind with facts and experience. So, obviously I read it. Exactly the opposite of what you've done here. You are welcome to take the time and try to refute me. I welcome the opportunity to wholesale crush you as well. <3!

ArmandoB said...

Great read

Unknown said...

DUNK! That link doesn't work anymore. Great read, Iz!

Alice said...

Youur the best