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February 24, 2007



They're getting a huge number of ideas and large amounts of material from a diverse pool of people, and they aren't paying them? Oh, right, one individual *may* get a job as a result (and the company gets a new employee without having to go through lengthy interviews). Is it really cynical to see this as exploitation?

Companies sometimes ask for bids for a project to include detailed plans, or have interviews for a job position where they ask the job-seekers for ideas on how to accomplish a particular task, all without actually intending to hire anyone- they just want the planning work done for free. This actually happened to some friends of mine, so perhaps I *am* cynical as a result, but this seems like a legally safer (and more honest) version of that sort of exploitation. It reminds me of all the advertising competitions, where the "winners" get paid less than what an ad company would have received for the same work (and the company gets a bunch of free ad ideas as well).

If a large number of submissions end up getting used, having one's name in the credits may not mean anything, even if the game *is* successful.


There's an interesting interview with Perry talking about this in this months Edge.



Thats not all strictly true.

The main reward from this project is that you get to see and be really involved in, the development of a game from conception to launch. You will learn the entire process, and have the chance to submit your ideas for making it better, and even for creating the modes, stories etc. They need thousands of 3d models, artwork, characters, vehicles etc and all this will be provided by people. And the "winner" will not be a way of hiring someone, they will be given a fully funded development team and will be able to make their OWN mmo. Not a bad prize really, and even if you dont win, you get huge amounts of experience. The big games companies all want this to fail, and keep saying players dont have the skills and ideas needed to make this project work, but thats bull. As the project so far has shown. Ive been there for 2 weeks and its great fun, Ive learnt loads, and have met some really talented people.


This project seems to suffer from the same problem that the whole industry is plagued by- the idea that working in the game industry is so great, workers should feel that the work is its own reward (the logical consequence being that the more unpaid hours one works, the more rewarded one is supposed to feel). I suppose this project is at least honest and upfront about that.

I'm not sure how much the experience will count when trying to find paid positions in the industry, either. If the companies I've seen the inside of are any indicator, having a great portfolio and having contributed to this project will be only slightly better than having a great portfolio when applying for entry level positions. The entry level job would probably end up going to someone with at least a year of experience (in a paid position), anyways.

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