France Ubisoft UPS Online Gaming Jobs cycling France

Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft is pushing all the wrong buttons

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Video games are increasingly enmeshed in the business cycle of Big Tech. After the pandemic boom, profit warnings are piling up, from Assassin's Creed developer Ubisoft Entertainment SA to Frontier Developments Plc, and industry layoffs are mounting.Yet unlike the expressions of shock and schadenfreude seen online as Alphabet Inc.

workers experience their first layoffs – complete with the stereotyped imagery of entitled Gen-Zers losing access to the corporate tiki bar – what's happening in gaming exposes a far more dystopian vision of the virtual workplace.

A threatened strike this week at Ubisoft in France gives a glimpse of battles to come.Game developers are in the hit-making business, and that means they've long been exposed to job insecurity and volatility as game projects are stopped and started.

And unlike apps relying on user-generated content, the paid staff in gaming are the ones generating immersive, detailed worlds to increasingly high-stakes deadlines – meaning brutal 60-to-100-hour work weeks known as “crunch.”Shifting to remote work during the pandemic kept people employed but led to production delays and in some cases worsened the work-life balance stresses.

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