Comment

A Modest Proposal for Improving Working Conditions in the Video Game Industry

**Note: I realize this is a bonobo and not a chimp, but I couldn't not use a picture of Kanzi. He's my favorite research ape of all time. 

**Note: I realize this is a bonobo and not a chimp, but I couldn't not use a picture of Kanzi. He's my favorite research ape of all time. 

Most of us are all too well aware of how the video game industry has a terrible reputation for badly exploiting workers leading to burnout and physical/psychological breakdown. Clearly some much needed reflection and management overhaul is needed. The way I see it, if it's illegal to do to our closest nonhuman primate relatives, chimps in this case, it should be illegal to do it to humans. Therefore I purpose using the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) guidelines for using chimps in research as a reference for how to not abuse your employees in the workplace. The IACUC guidelines place strict restrictions on how many hours a day research chimps are allowed to do tasks, and stipulate many requirements for environmental enrichment and social enrichment, which by the way includes making sure that no chimps are allowed to harass and bully other chimps regardless of how important the bullying chimps are to research outcomes. When the chimps get sick or suffer psychological distress it matters, things are done to help them get better, etc. etc. Just image if the human workplace was held to the same standards.

This blog post is written primarily as satire but at the same time let it sink in a bit that a great deal more consideration goes into the health and wellbeing of research chimps in the US than for a good number of people working in the video games industry. If you were a research institution that got caught housing and working chimps the way that many game devs are you'd be looking at loss of funding, huge fines and possible jail time (depending on the state and the severity of abuse outcomes). 

So next time you, dear readers in management, find yourself in a quandary as to the ethical nature of your workplace practices ask yourself, "If these were chimps and not humans, would I go to jail for the conditions I'm forcing them into?" If the answer is 'yes', then it's time to make some changes.

 

Comment