TheGamingEconomy’s Daily Digest brings you the trending stories in gaming. In today’s news: Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony write letter to Trump against game console tariff; Industry is only “paying lip service” to gaming addiction – UK technology inquiry chair; and Treyarch under fire for crunch culture.
Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony write letter to Trump against game console tariff
Plans from US president Donald Trump to impose a 25% tariff on goods, including video game consoles, has drawn criticism from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony in a letter penned to the administration.
In the joint statement, the console manufacturers, which sell more than 15 million devices in the US alone, state that imposing the tariffs would “injure consumers, video game developers, retailers and console manufacturers; put thousands of high-value, rewarding U.S. jobs at risk; and stifle innovation in our industry and beyond.” The letter also highlights that the tariffs are likely to negatively affect sectors which gaming technology R&D impacts, such as healthcare, education, and manufacturing.
Industry is only “paying lip service” to gaming addiction – UK technology inquiry chair
Addictive and Immersive Technologies Inquiry chair Damian Collins MP has commented that the games industry is only “paying lip service” to ongoing concerns surrounding gambling, through lootboxes, and excessive playing time. The inquiry session followed on from last week’s session of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, when, in response to legislators, Kerry Hopkins from Electronic Arts stated: “we don’t call them loot boxes – we call them surprise mechanics.”
Expanding on his comments in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Collins said, “I don’t think the industry is engaging with these topics directly, and that’s what’s been certain to us throughout the inquiry. I think the concerns are real, particularly around gaming addiction… The consistent message we’ve had from the big game companies is this is not something they proactively monitor themselves.”
Treyarch under fire for crunch culture
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 developer Treyarch has come under fire for its crunch culture, uncovered by an investigation by Kotaku. which particularly affected staff in the QA department. Long hours, with some developers working at least 65 hours a week; social isolation; no paid time off; inadequate working conditions, whereby air conditioning units were turned off despite high Los Angeles temperatures plus additional heat from computers; and comparatively low pay were all identified as issues according to staff members.
Anger surrounding these working issues were compounded when Treyarch parent company Activision CFO Dennis Durkin was rewarded with a USD$15m bonus. “We’re getting paid these very minimal amounts working these ridiculous hours, yet these people are getting paid absurd amounts of money,” said a former member of Treyarch staff, “it’s just a culture of not being cared about.”