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A College Guide to EA

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the profs-can-teach-you-almost-anything dept.

Education 464

DesiVideoGamer writes "With all the recent news about EA, one of the professors at Carnegie Mellon University is giving a talk about EA after he visited the company for a semester. He also published a white paper about EA and what college grads should know about it. (pdf format) The paper talks a lot about the culture at EA and could indirectly explain the previous stories covered by Slashdot."

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464 comments

Editors, we get it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808498)

EA bad. Blah blah blah.

Oh wait, there's an E and an A in Republican! It must be Bush's fault.

Re:Editors, we get it (1, Funny)

ral315 (741081) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808527)

And there's also an E and an A in Flamebait!

Re:Editors, we get it (0, Offtopic)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808746)

And there's also an E and an A in Flamebait!

And FLAMEBAIT rhymes with MODERATE, which also contains an E and an A.

Re:Editors, we get it (-1, Troll)

FosterKanig (645454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808568)

This whole thing started because that bitch didn't know how to keep her mouth shut.

I hope her husband put a well deserved beating on her. She needs to learn her place.

Re:Editors, we get it (0, Offtopic)

ExtremeGoatse! (778447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808736)

Damn right. He should have handled her like this guy did:

So I was sitting there the other day watching my girlfriend change the oil in my car, and I was getting pissed because she kept struggling when she tried to unscrew the filter. I was even more pissed than usual because I was playing videogames as I supervised her from inside the house, until I finally had to put the controller down and go outside to yell at her.

I stood out there in my underwear on a Saturday morning screaming at the top of my lungs. Then my neighbor, who's a total pussy, comes by and says "you shouldn't be yelling at your girlfriend like that." I wasn't going to stand there and just take it, so I socked him one right in the colon. His wife was bringing groceries inside when this happened, and as if it wasn't bad enough that I had to stop playing video games to go outside and yell, now this bitch was screaming at me like it was my fault.

I couldn't understand what she was shrieking about, as she was flapping her arms in the air and screaming. She started crying when she saw the busted colon I gave her pussy husband, so she took one of her shoes off and threw it at me. I caught the shoe between my pecs and I started to laugh like a pirate. Then she started walking towards me to take her shoe back, and there was no way I was going to let this bitch get near my chest so I body slammed her into a cactus that happened to be there. She got up and was uglier than before, so I did what I always do when women start to cry: I went back inside to play video games.

That wasn't the end of it though, it turns out the cranky old hag across the street saw all of this going on, so she came over to do what women do best: bitch. When I opened the door she was standing there in a partly transparent night gown, and it totally ruined the prospect of having a boner for at least 50 years. I was just starting to change my mind about the night gown when she started screeching at me and her stupid cat that she was holding started to hiss. So I took the cat and punted it over my neighbor's fence. She started crying "oh no! My cat! What have you done with my cat?!" I was laughing my ass off, then the bitch tried to scratch me so I gave her a round house kick and dislocated her hip. I was laughing so hard I shit my pants.

EA is off topic in an a discussion on EA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808579)

Gotta love moderators.

anal proble (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808500)

first post, and an anal probe...

ea = ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808501)

ea = gay niggers ehe

It is teh yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808504)

The moment I have waiting for.

4th post.

Hmm EA has been getting alot of bad press here (2, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808509)

Its one company I would never work from the sounds of management over there.

The word that's missing in the account (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808549)

Salary.... That's a big word and it's not there.

Re:The word that's missing in the account (1)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808645)

Working for a company that's had a pay freeze for the past 2.5 years, I totally agree with you. We have had so many people leave that I'm now surrounded by contractors.

Benefits can only go so far, but the bottom line - salary still drives and retains people.

Re:Hmm EA has been getting alot of bad press here (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808598)

well .. i think, based on timing and wild speculation, that it's possible that the whole spouse story could have been engineered by the attorneys trying to file a class action lawsuit against EA. The ensuing negative publicity would serve as "encouragement" to make EA try to settle the lawsuit.

I am not saying it was a planned strategic move .. I'm just saying it's possible and we shouldnt be lemmings and believe stuff just cause it "feels better" to trust something without looking at it in a skeptical manner as well.

Def Jam Vendetta (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808511)

snoop : diz pee dee'f sheet is fair, homie, lets roll it

Re:Def Jam Vendetta (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808682)

some real morons have got mod points tonight

EA Sports... (4, Insightful)

ral315 (741081) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808512)

The saddest part is, nothing's gonna change anytime soon. The same people that boycott Nike and Walmart won't buy, but nobody else will give a damn.

I've got enough Karma for now (3)

jomas1 (696853) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808631)

I'm one of those people who boycott Nike and Walmart and I'll probably boycott EA too.

In fact, you've almost convinced me to start pirating EA's games.

Re:EA Sports... (3, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808710)

Yep, I hardly ever goto walmart. Rarely see movies, buy films. Buy mostly indie music ... I buy my groceries at Vons and Stater Brothers and pay more then at walmart... I stopped buying from buy.com because they outsource their call centers. I did buy a HP laptop even though I swore I'd quit with their products after their president said the problem with highly skilled american tech workers was they weren't willing to work for minimum wage.

But I don't feel like Im saving the world or even making a dent in any of these companies :)

I don't get the hostility (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808516)

EA is there to make money, not take care of people. If they are treating their employees poorly who cares? If the game is good I'll buy it, if it's not I won't.

If the employees are treated poorly they should quit. That's how capitalism works, if all the good employees quit, or start demanding more and more money to make up for the poor working environment then EA will see that it's policies are not best for the bottom line and they will change. But why is everyone else up in arms? Let the employees and their employer deal with it as they should.

Yeah...that'll work... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808547)

Let the corporate bosses with their lawyers and cash reserves slug it out with the plebs with their...uh...

Re:I don't get the hostility (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808554)

I fully agree with you.

And then some people wonder why IT is being outsourced. Get off your asses, fuckers. Who told you to set up a family or have a social life? I don't. I have a job and I make lots of money and I like my work.

Re:I don't get the hostility (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808589)

Oh yes. Mod me down.

Don't you get it. It's like the trouble with women who want to have a family and those who'd like to concentrate on their careers. All the extra benefits demanded by the former are at the same time hindering the careers of the latter.

I want to work 80 hours a week. I want to concentrate fully on my career. I don't care about social life or a family and my career is being hindered by you assholes who are complaining about employees like EA.

Go set up your own company. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808644)

Hire only single, no-life, no-experience kids, who still believe that having more money than anybody else is the be-all-and-end-all of existence and will get them laid whenever they feel like it. Work yourselves into an early grave (with a very expensive funeral, with all the best trimmings).

Otherwise just shut the fuck up.

Re:Go set up your own company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808687)

Sure. As soon as it's legal to turn down a job application because the applicant has a family and refuses to sign a contract that stipulates there he/she's not having a child in the next five years.

Work yourselves into an early grave

If you're so stressed about your job, how about trying to find a job that's not a job but feels like hobby - something you could do day and night - at least that's the way I feel about my job.

Again, if you're not willing to work for it, don't complain about outsourcing. If it weren't for the damn unions and crap like that, there'd be plenty of people like me ready to take over your jobs over here in the USA.

Re:Go set up your own company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808724)

...if you're not willing to work for it, don't complain about outsourcing.

Dude, are you fucking serious? Do you really believe we should all accept third-world living and working standards just for the privilege of having a job!?

You're 19 years old, right? And I bet your folks are wealthy.

Re:Go set up your own company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808730)

Do you really believe we should all accept third-world living and working standards just for the privilege of having a job!? How bad do you want to have a job?

I like my work, do practically nothing but it and get a decent wage. What else would I want? It's you who are spoiled.

Re:Go set up your own company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808741)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA! Okay, I admit, that was well done. I have been trolled, I have lost. Good for you.

Re:Go set up your own company. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808750)

Hehe. Gotcha! ;)

Re:Go set up your own company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808766)

"One day....I swear...Right to the moon...!"

Re:I don't get the hostility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808702)

Oops, you misspelled "I'm a pizza-faced fat fuck who has no hope of getting ever laid aside from prostitutes due to the stench emanating from my sweaty ass crack."

Re:I don't get the hostility (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808712)

Uh... who cares about getting laid?

Thank god I don't have to bother myself with that. I am asexual [asexuality.org] .

Re:I don't get the hostility (4, Insightful)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808587)

"EA will see that it's policies are not best for the bottom line and they will change"

Perhaps this is how it SHOULD work. However, many people are martyred without result. Companies still have poor work environments -- they just go through the slave traders more. Does it hurt their pockets having to shuffle through employees? Sure. Does it hurt enough to admit they're wrong? I'm assuming you don't make it that far up in the corporate ladder without a boatload of pride...and it's a giant pill to swallow to admit being wrong.

Capitalism (read GREED) has its place...but the well-being of its peons are rarely in its best interest.

Re:I don't get the hostility (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808632)

Capitalism is not greed. You would work for more money if you could too wouldnt you? Do you donate 100% of what you make (above a certain amount so u can pay rent and eat) to charity ?

It's simple. DO NOT WORK FOR A COMPANY THAT TREATS YOU LIKE SHIT.

If you are unemployed because of it, that's your choice. EA isn't obligated to hire someone. If they didnt exist the job wouldnt be there in the first place.
If there is someone willing to work in the shitty conditions .. the unemployed state is obviously shittier to them. So EA is actually giving them an IMPROVEMENT over their existing chances (being broke, not having ANY health insurance, being unable to feed kids ..how about THOSE conditions?).

It's called choice, freedom etc. If EA was deliberately lying or preventing employees from leaving against their will .. then you'd have a point. But these are people making a free choice.

Re:I don't get the hostility (2, Insightful)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808692)

It would appear you have never had to look for a job in an industry that's outsourcing its workers during a global economic downturn.

How is you new job in burger-flipping going for you? I understand you had no trouble switching from salting the fries at that chicken joint.

Re:I don't get the hostility (1)

reflective recursion (462464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808794)

There are no guarantees in life, and especially not in a specific job market in a specific country (probably doing a specific job in a specific niche area too). The lack of a job or getting laid-off is a wake-up call.

Want to be a slave to economic and management forces? Work for someone. Want independence? Become an entrepreneur. It really is that simple.

The only problem I see is certain people needing a crutch in life and crying when things turn sour. You should be thankful you had a steady hand-holding position for so long. Many people are not that fortunate.

Re:I don't get the hostility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808819)

Spoken like someone that wasn't a valuable employee.

Re:I don't get the hostility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808601)

I don't get the hostility

If they are treating their employees poorly who cares?


Well, the employees likely care. They are a large employer, and so should anyone considering employment at EA should know how employees feel (both good and bad).

I once had a job offer (executive management, not a programmer) from EA, but turned them down due to the obvious employee unhappiness. (It sucks to be responsible for making people miserable.)

So although you may not care, it's good to know what some people have to live with. Maybe you don't care right now, but it's always smart to compare your current employment situation with others'. After all, you have to look after yourself.

Re:I don't get the hostility (4, Interesting)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808614)

But why is everyone else up in arms?

Well, you answered your own question. That's how capitalism works. If the marketplace starts demanding employer-friendly companies, that's what EA's going to have to do.

Re:I don't get the hostility (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808832)

Except the market hasn't demanded worker friendly environment, and shows no signs of going that way. EA doesn't have to worry about doing anything. A few people whining about it do not make a 'market influence.'

Re:I don't get the hostility (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808615)

Your being upset with people expressing their views seems Soviet. If you were a true capitalist, you'd understand how public opinion functions as a lever in corporate behavior. If these stories prove true, EA may feel some heat from investors unhappy with their practices.

Chalk it up to the market.

Re:I don't get the hostility (1)

mszeto (133525) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808622)

See I've heard the exact opposite, though I'm not the one who sees the coin. I heard they actually get quarterly bonuses, which is pretty amazing considering the status quo.

Re:I don't get the hostility (1, Interesting)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808637)

Treating employees badly is one thing. Breaking the law is another. EA's attitude to overtime isn't strictly legal, though it's no different from many other companies.

Join a Union! (5, Insightful)

felonius maximus (601940) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808640)

If the employees are treated poorly they should quit. That's how capitalism works

Yeah, that is how capitalism works, and poor treatment of workers shouldn't be tolerated (by the consumers, or by the workers). But if you need a job, and jobs are hard to find, what do you do?

Back in the Old Days(TM) there were groups called Unions, groups of workers who decided they had been fucked by the bosses for long enough, and it was time to get some fairness.

People in my country fought [ballarat.com] and died [netconnect.com.au] for a fair go in the workplace, but recent government policy involving workplace agreements and enterprise bargaining have severely damaged the rights of workers.

If they are treating their employees poorly who cares?

That kind of attitude is exactly why those in power are able to continue exploiting people in the third world (and the second, and the first).

You don't get the hostility? (3, Insightful)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808665)

If they are treating their employees poorly who cares?

Mmmmmm....libertarianism at it's best.

How about the fact that they are breaking the law by improperly classifying employees as exempt and therefore not paying them their due overtime? Is that acceptable to you?

How about the fact that this is getting so much press because in the free market - people also have free speech. No one's talking about burning down EA's headquarters - but we are talking about taking action. Boycotts, Letters to editors, Letters to company chiefs. It always pains me to see someone give the free market argument yet completely miss the free speech one.

You say if the company is treating their employees poorly that their employees should act. It appears that that's exactly what's happening.

Re:I don't get the hostility (3, Insightful)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808696)

Well, mostly from what I've seen it is the employees and the family of employees that I have seen complaining.

However, there are cases where the customers do care, and in those cases, I imagine that the customers want both a good product and the people who make it to be treated well. They don't care if EA makes money or not. I know that an individual company's profits or lack thereof don't concern me at all (sure in the larger sense, in which I want a healthy economy and game industry they do, but on an individual company by company level they don't).

I don't really care if a company is making money or not. I want a good product at a low price, and I want it made under decent working conditions. Those things are hard to do and still stay in buisness? Too bad. No one ever said the demands of a customer are reasonable.

I mean, on a flamebait level I could say something like, "Boy those Nazis sure make good stuff. I heard they kill lots of people, but hey, that's not my concern," but that comparison does bring up the old point of "Do the ends justify the means?" Everyone has their own line that they think company practices may or may not cross and it is up to each of us to decide where that line is.

Re:I don't get the hostility (5, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808698)

EA is there to make money, not take care of people. If they are treating their employees poorly who cares? If the game is good I'll buy it, if it's not I won't.

Somehow, I think many Slashdotters would love the policies of Margaret Thatcher [wikipedia.org] . Hell, she's not quite dead yet, and she's newly widowed - why not marry the wizened old bastard?

Electronic Arts, like all other companies, is comprised of people. If their creation can behave in an utterly inhumane manner, operating only to increase some arbitrary numbers in a computer system somewhere, then what's the point? Why bother with any niceties whatsoever, as nobody else seems to do? Kick the employees when they're down, exploit their enthusiasm and just hope the latest product gets finished before they burn out and find some sort of work elsewhere. And, if they start demanding more reasonable hours, or even paid overtime, then just sack them or outsource the work to some even more badly exploited sods the other side of the world...

Screw the welfare state. If workers want to live, they should work for it. Screw free healthcare, screw any kind of regulation on how employers treat their employees - if they're so unhappy, they can go elsewhere, even if conditions there are just as bad - all brought on by the unending, mindless competition and lower costs demanded by the holy, almighty dollar. No need to be decent people, no need for random acts of kindness - after all, there's no such thing as society. All that counts is money.

Why should a company treat its employees well? Because it is an institution created by human beings.

Re:I don't get the hostility (2, Insightful)

entrigant (233266) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808705)

You are just naive if you think it is that simple. In an ideal world it would be, but as anybody knows, this is not an ideal world. Quiting a job is not just something you can do in a whim. You must make sure you have something to fallback on. Of course looking for another job between the 80 hour work week is no small task. EA also tends to employree fresh out of college kids with no experience, and when you are in that situation finding a job is more difficult than if you have experience in the field. Do you honestly think that every single mistreated employee there wants to stick around? Obviously there are other factors involved in how easy it is just just quit than if you want to.

Anyways, the reason this is an issue is EA is taking advantage of the fact that its employees have nowhere else to go, and are making it harder for them to find other jobs. EA realizes that for a lot of its employees it's either EA's way or no paycheck. This in and of itself is not neccessarily bad. There are many job markets that are saturated. The bad part is EA is exploiting this situation to treat the employees very poorly.

Capitalism is not perfect. The human factor remains, and treating people like slaves to make a few extra dollars is not ethical and in many situations not legal. It is our job as a society for all our sakes to make sure this kind of abuse does not happen.

Re:I don't get the hostility (5, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808707)

EA is there to make money, not take care of people. If they are treating their employees poorly who cares?

Maybe you don't give a flying fuck as you push your cart around in Wal-Mart, but as someone who works in a technical industry I find this highly interesting. The labor market for educated and technical people is in the process of a major deterioration in this country and this is just one more symptom of America's slide toward the kind of economic system that existed in India- where you have a few rich people, and everyone else is poor and destitute. (They have a small middle class now, which grows at the expense of our own.)

If the game is good I'll buy it, if it's not I won't.

If the game is good I'll buy it, unless I see it was made by Electronic Arts. The leverage afforded to workers is mostly gone, and the only force affecting EA anymore is the power of consumers- which is largely ineffective anyway.

If the employees are treated poorly they should quit. That's how capitalism works, if all the good employees quit, or start demanding more and more money to make up for the poor working environment then EA will see that it's policies are not best for the bottom line and they will change.

Take off your rose colored glasses. Capitalism works that way only under certain conditions which are largely disappearing- labor and management need to have equity. If one gets an upper hand this idealized scenario breaks down.

Now that several billion desperate people have been dumped into our labor markets (added to the millions of geeks who have always wanted to program games), if the employees of EA quit for being worked 80 hours a week for X dollars they'll be replaced instantly by more desperate geeks worked 120 hours a week for X>>1 dollars. Or better yet, Chinese prisoners. It's getting to the point where almost everything I have was made in a Chinese prison.

Slave labour (5, Interesting)

felonius maximus (601940) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808816)

It's getting to the point where almost everything I have was made in a Chinese prison

I have exactly the same problem. Although I am not a poor man, I still cannot afford to spend $100 on a shirt made here in Australia under Australian working conditions. That is, if I could even find such a piece of apparel.

That's not even counting the toaster, the modem, the TV ... the list goes on.

Let's buy from chinese child workers in stead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808716)

I mean, why do people care about textile industry giants (ab)using child workers - it's their job to make money, whether or not a couple of slaves die in the process is not of their concern, after all they can just quit ... starving to death is not a concern, at least you don't die from paint in your lungs..

Bah!

Re:I don't get the hostility (5, Insightful)

EchoMirage (29419) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808726)

EA is there to make money, not take care of people. If they are treating their employees poorly who cares? If the game is good I'll buy it, if it's not I won't.

Regular life in the real world disagrees with you. EA does have an ethical imperative to treat their workers fairly, humanely, and to put the lives of the employees before business. Only libertarians and high school juniors think that capitalism means, "Do whatever it takes to get money, and let the course of business take its toll." (Libertarianism is, by the way, the carrying out of fascism by other means; the one thing libertarianism precisely does not grant is liberty.)

The employees shouldn't have to quit if they're being if they're being treated poorly; government agencies, unions, and consumers should take proactive measures to stop the poor treatment. That may involve monetary fines, forced arbitration between an employees' union and the company, and if warranted criminal proceedings being taken against the company's officers. No, that isn't very laissez faire, but neither is real life.

Re:I don't get the hostility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808769)

Yep, that's how pure capititalism works, but is that really the best way of doing things? The though that you can just simply leave/or not take a job because you don't like the working standards is IMO most likely not going to be an effective detterant for a company to stop abusing it's employees. Aspecially not when it comes to companies like EA, during theese times when the job market for IT staff could be a heck of a lot rosier.

Re:I don't get the hostility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808798)

As a consumer I don't expect you to care. As a human being I expect you to care. And as any software professional will testify EA is not doing things that are in their long-term best interest. It hurts them financially, but the management is poor at quantifying the costs associated with their short-term practices so they act like they don't exist. I'm here to say that they do.

The problem is not that EA wants to make money. I want EA to do well. I'm saying that EA management is not properly identifying costs.

The number one cost that they under-estimate is the cost of hiring new people. New people suck time away from existing developers. The effect is well documented in "The Mythical Man-Month."

The second biggest cost they underestimate is losing people because of the long-hours and no vacations. Many good developers just up and leave the company. In general, the ones that get burned out are the ones you'd like to keep. They get burned out because they care about the project and are working hard but they just can't balance it with the rest of their life. With them goes training, knowledge of the code, and experience on the job. The average college grad will not immediately be able to fill that void and are a crapshoot anyway. The continual cycle is just pissing money away.

Third, no time is allocated for quality assurance by the developers. Yes, there are two days allocated for debugging before milestone, and alpha is all bug fixes which lasts a month. But, management refuses to allocate time for code-cleaning, writing unit-tests, and more intensive code reviews as tasks during milestone. It hurts, and long hours is not a good solution. Given that most of the sports games that EA makes are released every year, don't you think there should be some system in place that verifies that basic functionality that exists year after year should be verified with reasonable certainty and automatically? Especially since the longer a defect exists the costs of fixing it rise exponentially. EA will not allocate time for developers to make their lives easier.

I want EA to do well, and individuals quiting is like death by a thousand paper-cuts. If we could pull management's head from their asses to see what they are doing is killing the company so much the better. I'm happy that this is happening. Maybe with enough people shouting at them they will realise steps to take to fix their process. Individuals quitting and the market telling them doesn't seem to get the message across.

My biggest fear is that EA will just see this as a PR problem and parade a bunch of employees out saying how great it is to work there instead of enacting changes in process. In truth all of this, the fact that it has to go this far for things to change, is just a shame.

Re:I don't get the hostility (1)

jlar (584848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808804)

"If the employees are treated poorly they should quit. That's how capitalism works, if all the good employees quit, or start demanding more and more money to make up for the poor working environment then EA will see that it's policies are not best for the bottom line and they will change."

Maybe you don't understand that EA is trying to "cheat" the market forces by lying about what they expect from their employees (you can see my previous post for details). If you define capitalism by the absence of regulation, then maybe this is capitalism. If that is your definition of capitalism, then I would argue that this is not a system which ensures optimal economic growth.

We all know that capitalism has a number of flaws that need to be corrected by legislation (for example anti-trust laws). I consider it a flaw in the system when employees are not well informed about the expectations in their work - this can be corrected through legislation (just like it is not legal to lie about products that we buy).

An effective market economy relies on well informed citizens and corporations, whether this is information about products or jobs.

That's why so many countries hate America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808814)

A lot of americans think that Americans can use workers around the world, treat they poorly, and say "That's how capitalism work :)". (False smile)

In related news, EA sues Carnegie Mellon, etc., (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808517)

...blah blah blah. You know it's going to happen. The only question is whether SCO's legal counsel be heading up the lawsuit.

DesiVideoGamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808518)

hmmm.. how many Desis are in EA?

So much bad press about EA (2, Insightful)

Sir Homer (549339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808526)

I'm shocked they haven't responded yet.

Re:So much bad press about EA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808595)

"I'm shocked they haven't responded yet."

of course they've responded, this pdf document was vetted by EA before publication.

i'm personally surprised it happened this quickly.

We're talking about Electronic Arts, right? (2, Insightful)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808543)

I suppose colleges are getting funky with their subject matter -- as there are topics covered that make little sense to me. A course in American Idol, for one. At least it's a just a talk and not an entire course.

On the other hand, it may be a decent business-oriented class to follow a relatively successful biz to see the things they got right/wrong along the way. Like a case-study in business...and people can even choose which ones they wish to follow with courses in EA, IBM, MS, GOOG, and maybe one that Aaron Spelling dude.

Re:We're talking about Electronic Arts, right? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808608)

I've been a movie geek longer than I've been a computer geek, and so I considered doing a few Film & Media Studies papers at one time.

When I studied the course materials and some of the previous years exams I realised it is nothing more than Resumé padding for bored, low-IQ rich kids.

I'd have scored 100% in every paper before taking the courses, and that's just from watching movies, and I suspect half the people here would have too.

College...it ain't what it used to be...

Re:We're talking about Electronic Arts, right? (4, Funny)

brilinux (255400) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808763)

Well, I go to Carnegie Mellon, and from what I have seen, this is not a class, but a lacture, which, from a student's standpoint, probably means that there will be free food in Baker Hall soon ... perhaps I will drop by and see what they have to say.

The article summary could use work (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808561)

As a typical slashdot poster, I'm not supposed to have to even read the primary link before I spout off in the comments section. The submitter does the readin', I do the commentin'. That's tradition. Ergo I find it very disturbing when I can't even fathom what the summary's about without following secondary links. That's just unacceptable, pardner.

I can see why EA approved this document... (5, Insightful)

Akki (722261) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808581)

It paints EA and its practices in the best possible light.

"We grind employees until they quit" becomes "mediocre performers are not tolerated".

"We force everyone to work insane hours whether they like it or not" becomes "employees work long hours because they love the company".

Re:I can see why EA approved this document... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808618)

You are 100% correct sir.

This is by far the rosiest assesment of EA i've ever read... and it certainly doesnt match my day to day experiences there.

Oh and incase you're wondering, IM THERE RIGHT NOW!

Kill me please.

Re:I can see why EA approved this document... (1)

dutchct (673848) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808772)

me too

Re:I can see why EA approved this document... (2, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808635)

Hah. Same arguments Hitler used in the Holocaust. One to his own people, and one when he wanted to try to convince the world he was doing good (during the Berlin Olympics, etc).

Re:I can see why EA approved this document... (1)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808652)

"We force everyone to work insane hours whether they like it or not" becomes "employees work long hours because they love the company".

Wow, that sounds so much like the propaganda of a communist country, it's scary. EA really reminds me of the USSR and North Korea here...

NewSpeak (5, Funny)

felonius maximus (601940) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808672)

You have a double-plus-good grasp of NewSpeak.

Do you work for EA's Ministry of Truth?

Re:I can see why EA approved this document... (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808756)

Summary

The Studios at Electronic Arts (EA) have future staffing needs for more than 1,000 new hires each year, and EA would like to fill 75% of these positions with university graduates.
... of which 75% will be 'disposed' of when the projects they are working on are completed.

Welcome to the new coal mines, boys.

I thought I'd surf at -1... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808600)

What a fucking mistake. Back to filtering out the 0-level AC's and trolls. Has anyone actually read the fucking article? Has anyone read the first fucking page of the fucking article? What do I see in the first fucking 20 posts? EA had it coming and /. has something against EA! The fucking article, if you had even skimmed the first page, is relatively positive towards EA; saying in essence that:
1, they are huge and run a tight ship
2. most people there are pretty enthused about their job
and 3. EA fucking approved the goddamn article.

Read, you motherfuckers, READ!!!!!!!!!

Re:I thought I'd surf at -1... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808613)

I... I can't read!

EA management stylings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808605)

I don't know about EA personally but I know when the company I worked for hired management from there things went down the tubes big time. Instead of having crunch at the end of the project they schedule monthly "little" crunches. The future of the project rides on blah blah blah we're not shipping for 2 years but crunch now anyhow blah blah blah.

75% fresh meat? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808625)

So, the paper says that EA is going to staff itself with 75% new grads - that figures, as nobody else will work there, what with the current situation.

Some of the statemetns are laughable, though - rigid meritocracy? EA is strong in its management of people? People work long hours out of dedication? And here I thought it'd be an expose, or at least somewhat cynical...

Re:75% fresh meat? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808777)

no, the paper said that 75% of the new hire would eb college grads, which doesn't mean new grads, jsut people with degrees. and elsewhere is says that they prefer not to hire those with no experience

Telling Quote (5, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808628)

*note to mods
I have mod points to spare, so I'd rather have your discussion than your points.

I think one of the most insightful quotes in the whole read (which was absolutely fascinating by the way because of how neutral it tried to be) was this:

The video game business is very time sensitive; many titles are timed to ship in time for Christmas sales, sports titles are tied to the season opening of sports, and movie titles must release in time frames corresponding to the movies. Making an outstanding game, but delivering it late, is not as profitable as making an acceptable quality game on time. EAers talk about "maximum on-time quality."

I think that about sums up the business of making video games. Remember guys, they'd love a great game, but in the end, they don't really care as long as they get it out on time. Another interesting quote was:

"EA veterans say that the major reason games ship late is due to a lack of focus in the design vision: "games are usually late because the development team doesn't know what it is building."

While I'm all for encouraging small game developers and publishers to grow because more competition is good, I think this illustrates that there is a point when you become too large as a company to effectively produce games.

EA interview story.... (5, Interesting)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808646)

Just a recent EA story from me.

I've been looking for work, and I ended up at the EA website. I'm available for the next year, and they had a one year contract position in my area of expertise, so I applied. I didn't hear back from them for about a month. Then I got a call from EA for a "phone interview." We start going throught the questions, and they don't apply to the position that I applied for. They were all, "what part of the game do you want to make," and my response was "I didn't apply for a game development job" every time (I also provided answers that were related to what I really applied for). I eventually asked if she was calling in response to the job that I applied to. She said that EA was calling all "new grads" to find out about them, and that she didn't know about the job that I had applied to. Thanks for wasting my time EA, I'm obviously not a serious candidate to you.

Re:EA interview story.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808801)

EA go for young guys because they tend not to have a life or family. You'll be expected to work 80 hours a week, for the basic wage. Been there, done that. It's just not worth it in the long run.

Factually False... (5, Informative)

myrdred (597891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808648)

The article states, on the first page, that EA is a huge company, bigger than Apple and Pixar combined. Then procceeds to give numbers, anual revenues of $3 Billion and Market Cap of 15 Billion. Uh-uh. Apple has an annual revenue of over 10 Billion, and market cap of 21 Billion.

See: http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AAPL

Considering the blatant lack of facts in such easy to check information, I'd take what the rest of the article says with a big grain of salt.

Slashdot crowd sets reading record (5, Funny)

pb9494 (550141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808656)

Article gets posted at 3.57 PM. Half an hour later, already 40 posts... Come on guys, it's a 26 page article.

Re:Slashdot crowd sets reading record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808685)

Article gets posted at 3.57 PM. Half an hour later, already 40 posts... Come on guys, it's a 26 page article.

Who says we have to post about the article??
The general topic is EA .. thats what we post about.

Re:Slashdot crowd sets reading record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808728)

I just finished reading it...

BitTorrent, just in case: (1, Informative)

Lowca (464465) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808659)

Re:BitTorrent, just in case: (2, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808808)

You need to learn more about how BitTorrent works. There isn't much point in BitTorrenting a 288,930 byte file; just mirror it. Tracker overhead will eat any advantage you think you're gaining.

Creative industries often suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808667)

I know a lot of girls that work in the fashion industry. Fashion is a lot like games: considered very cool and desirable industry to work in, no matter how crappy the working conditions or salary are. There will always be a new crop of suckers to hire for shit wages and to squeeze free overtime from.

Screw this, I'm off to work in fashion, darlings.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808809)

Solution; work in the fashion industry. The money will still be shit, but you'll be surrounded by cute girls.

Converse isn't very desirable, sadly; black t-shirts with metal band/futurama cartoons and a beer-belly aren't what a refugee from the fashion industry would be looking for, I'd guess.

Pausch or Personnel (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808676)

Personally after reading Pausch's document, it reads like he hasn't personally experienced working at EA, although under a residency, he doesn't seem to have experienced the same working conditions as the staff have mentioned (also as the class action might suggest). Although Pausch refers to the fact some staff are well rewarded and are 'vested', so do not have to work for the money, I think he wrongly jumps to the conclusion that all staff can reach this stage.

It is likely the staff are all paid on various levels and this is probably a large influence on them being vested and also to the level they are rewarded (this is quite obvious and its a shame Pausch overlooked this). Although he notes that "Anyone who has been at EA long enough and in a high enough capacity probably
doesn't need to work for the money, and they are called, "volunteers."", he concludes that people who stay there are still passionate about making games, yet doesn't expand on rewards to developers who are not in a "high enough capacity".

Although Pausch draws attention to the deadline issue repeatedly, he does not expand upon this and its naegative effects, I can only imagine the employees were presented to his as driven individuals and he himself did not match his working hours to experience the same kind of culture. Also I believe he did not look closely into the hours/length of time spent by staff. Nor did he look too closely at rewards based on overtime. This may have been negligence on his part (on behalf of his students) or EA may have misinformed him.

Personally i'd rather read stuff that comes from EA, even if its not people that really are EA. It at least sounds more honest, rather than PC stuff.

Wonder if he gets a finders fee per student.

IANAEAD

Hmm, what a coincidence (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808677)

"Ea has stated the goal of filling up to 75% of open positions directly from universities"

Hmm, in wake of the recent outburst of events, I think the motivation for this move is clear.

That prof will be really happy to know how they used him (as naive as he appears) to lure people into their company to fuel their venture for more profit by cutting the amount of experienced workers who would actually have a leaverage on them.

Why EA? (5, Insightful)

dshaw858 (828072) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808688)

I know that EA is not exactly one of the nicest companies to work for (as we've all seen with all the bad press), but why is everyone focusing on EA? Rather than seeing this movement as a gateway to have discussions about all of the hundreds of companies that act the same way, people are just attacking EA. I think it's important to note that EA isn't the only company that acts like this- in fact, I think it summarizes a good percentage of the corporate world.

- dshaw

ea sucks (4, Insightful)

alatesystems (51331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808690)

The only game I like by them is Burnout 3. That game kicks ass. All of their "churn-out-another-copy" games each year suck ass!!

I am so sick of hearing "Challenge Everything" when I start up B3. They only thing they know how to challenge is the paradigm of game making. And by challenge, I mean ruin.

When I read stories about how they treat their employees, who are fellow software developers, it makes me glad I am "evaluating" Burnout 3.

Re:ea sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808841)

bahh wrong. EA does make some good games


SSX and SSX Tricky are very good snowboarding games. The Sims and the Sims 2 are other examples. They also have Command and Conquer for the war fanatic. So they do have some good games.

Who's telling the truth? (4, Insightful)

cmason (53054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808711)

penny-arcade.com [penny-arcade.com] :

  • In other news EA grinds up babies to make their games. Well maybe they aren't that bad but they do totally fuck over their employees.

Randy Pausch [cmu.edu] :

  • One of EA's major strengths is in management of people and process.
  • The largest sin at EA is not delivering your game on time.
  • EA has a very young, energetic work force.
  • People at EA work long hours, in large part because of their great passion for making games.

Who's telling the truth? You decide.

Personally, I think Randy Pausch is a putz, and I'm speaking both as someone who has seen him lecture at CMU and who has friends that were advised by him.

-c

I feel that the professor let his students down. (4, Interesting)

Thagg (9904) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808752)

How could the professor not enlighten his students about the work schedule at EA, that from the previous two articles here is rather different than what might be expected? Several times, and in different ways, he states that you have to "work hard" and that EA is a "meritocracy" and that mediocre results will not be tolerated. That's all good, but your average CMU student is substantially brighter than most students (just an observation, I didn't go there) and probably feels that he would be able to excel at EA by working a normal, or maybe somewhat extended workweek.

I can well imagine that the student arriving at EA to the expectation that he will work 12/6 would feel blindsided. He does mention that there are "crunch times" before deadlines, but I would think that a little more elaboration on that topic would be appropriate for his students. The facts that crunch times seem to be scheduled even when projects are on track, that the extra hours are uncompensated by overtime pay, and that the ratio of "crunch time" to "down time" seems to be greater than one (based on admittedly biased, but believable comments here so far.)

It's got to be tough to be in his position -- appropriate jobs are hard to find for even the most qualified new graduates -- but presenting a balanced picture would be a good thing to do, IMHO.

Thad Beier

EA's shitty games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808757)

"Making an outstanding game, but delivering it late, is not as profitable as making an acceptable quality game on time."

That is exactly why I'm not interested in working for them.

Funny thing... You should know... (1)

EntrancedX (827523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808775)

...that here at UCF, the EA is going to visit You!

Almost like the Sovier Russia joke, but not really.
In recent news from school and local paper: EA and the state of FL are dumping quite large amount of money to create new degree and faciltate training for the future "sweatshop personel". I wonder how is that going to work out for UCF since all the juicy news about EA popping up all over the place.

This paper is a concentrated piece of PR (5, Insightful)

Muhammar (659468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808820)

This paper reminds me very much the Navy/Army recruitment pitch.

The guy wants to teach a master-level course tailored so that the graduates can go and apply for EA positions right away. So, this guy goes to EA and 'studies' its management culture for half a year. Then he writes a paper how tough-but-fair the company is.

If there is something fishy you will not learn it from this propaganda - quite opposite, it would make you think that the *real* reason why you end up hating your rude slave-driving overlords is that you are not talented and focused enough to measure up to the highest standards of this "ruthless meritocracy".

The value of this white paper should increase - if they print it on a soft foldable sheets.

Pass that Kool-Aid baby!!! (2, Funny)

nolsen (518298) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808824)

Jesus Christ, that guy has his nose so far up EA's ass he knows what all the execs had for dinner last night. WTF is going on here? Man I thought my univerisity had some clueless corporate tools on staff. Can you say sellout? CMU should be ashamed. Preparing students is one thing, but they should be prepared for success, not being eaten alive. Notice how he doesn't actually talk about the work he did there? Something tells he spent his residency bullshitting with execs, not writing code 12 hours a day.

Ooo! oooo! ooo! Pick me! (1)

coopaq (601975) | more than 9 years ago | (#10808828)

I know the answer to this one. It's been running all week!

./ Answer: "If you don't like EA or the work environment then just quit!"

I can't remember the other answer. Some blathering about human rights.

yeah, not quite (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10808851)

I worked at EA for longer than this guy, and this is an absurdly positive spin on the environment there. There is a tremendous amount of cynicism due to layoffs, lots of dumb/underperforming people, bureaucracy/infighting/disrespect for management/etc.

I did not enjoy it.
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