According to an expose published by Polygon, the work expectations at Epic Games are causing employees massive amounts of stress as they work long hours.
The game industry has a crunch problem. “Crunch” is the term given to a group of employees who need to work long hours in order to finish a task.
In video game development, crunch is usually common in the month leading up the release of a game.
But in the Epic Games’ studios in Cary, North Carolina, Crunch has become a common occurrence.
Polygon is a leading site in games journalism and they talked with various former and current Epic employees about the work culture at the studio.
Here are some of the choice quotes from the article:
“I work an average 70 hours a week,” said one employee. “There’s probably at least 50 or even 100 other people at Epic working those hours. I know people who pull 100-hour weeks. The company gives us unlimited time off, but it’s almost impossible to take the time. If I take time off, the workload falls on other people, and no one wants to be that guy.
“The executives keep reacting and changing things,” said the source. “Everything has to be done immediately. We’re not allowed to spend time on anything. If something breaks — a weapon, say — then we can’t just turn it off and fix it with the next patch. It has to be fixed immediately, and all the while, we’re still working on next week’s patch. It’s brutal.”
And the punishment for not working the supposedly optional hours was swift:
“I know some people who just refused to work weekends, and then we missed a deadline because their part of the package wasn’t completed, and they were fired,” said another source. “People are losing their jobs because they don’t want to work these hours.”
With all the money Epic was making, some of that went back to the producers which helped them endure, but there’s only so many back-t-to-back weeks people can work:
“It is a hard, grindy, crunchy life,” said one source. “Everyone understands. You are being paid more money than most people will ever make in their careers anywhere else. Your time is bought and accounted for; shut up, keep your head down, and do the work.
Those weekly patches that keep Fortnite fresh put an absurd amount of pressure on developers. How do you think the community would react if they came out every two weeks instead?
“As Fortnite Battle Royale became popular, it changed to having to get a feature done, with hardly any notice, and then having people stay until that feature was ready. So we went from having a month to prepare, to sometimes having as little as a day. A lot of it was mandatory staying at work with no notice until the job was done. Marketing had made a promise, and so we were told that it had to be done.”
There are tons more interesting points made in the article so check it out if this is interesting to you. They also cover responses from Epic spokespeople to bring the other side of the story.
Fortnite pro banned for encountering a bug in FNCS
Fortnite pro, Waffles, has been banned from Fortnite after encountering an exploit triggered by another player.
Earlier today, we covered a bug that led to Epic disabling the Motorboat in all Fortnite modes. This bug allowed players to create an infinite number of items in their inventory by following a few simple steps.
YouTuber, OrangeGuy, offered a tutorial on the issue, but it was already known by a large chunk of the competitive community. Players were using it to obtain an unlimited number of Floppers, ensuring that they’d out-heal any player who wasn’t using the bug.
The problem is that you could complete this exploit by accident. What’s more, you could eliminate someone who used the exploit and gain yourself an unlimited number of items. This is what happened to Fortnite pro player, Waffles, during the Season 3 FNCS.
Waffles eliminated a player during one of his matches. When he looked at the ground, he saw a stack of Crash Pads with 100,000 in them. As anyone would do, Waffles started picking them up and investigating – laughing with his friends.
Things took a turn when the Crash Pads took over Waffle’s inventory. He couldn’t drop them and, therefore, wasn’t able to carry any guns. Astoundingly, Waffles came in third place with an inventory full of only Crash Pads. It wasn’t ideal, but he had to use what was available to him.
When Waffles went back to the lobby, however, he found that he had been disqualified from the FNCS competition. A few moments later, Waffles saw that he was banned from Fortnite for nearly 30 days.
This is especially significant because new competitive Fortnite rules state that players who are banned from an FNCS won’t be able to compete in the next season’s tournament. This means that – if everything stands – Waffles won’t be able to play in Trios next season.
Waffles was the player on the other side of the FaZe Dubs situation from last season. This would be his second FNCS ban under questionable circumstances.
Since the ban, Waffles has been posting some of his correspondents with Epic support to his Twitter page. So far, they’ve told him that the ban stands. Waffles even posted an image of him attempting to raise the issue to a manager. He then went from talking with Delta Mike to talking with Echo Mike.
We reached out to Waffles to see if anything else has transpired, and he said that he’s shared everything, so far. He gave his side of what happened, saying, “I killed a guy that had the glitch. I am assuming that guy did the glitch on purpose but I don’t exactly know. All I know is that I picked them up on his body not knowing that I wouldn’t be able to drop them or pick up any guns.”‘
While we were talking, Waffles received an email that confirmed his ban. “I had our Competitive and Anti-Cheat teams manually review the ban and we will not lift your competitive ban,” the email read. We clarified that this ban was only for the exploit, to which he responded, “Yes. Never in my life have I ever downloaded or even tried cheats for Fortnite of any sort.”
This sounds true to us. After all, if Waffles was found to have been using hacks, his account would be banned for longer than 30 days.
We’re hoping that the attention to this situation will push Epic to look deeper into their ruling. Some of the biggest pros in the community have come to Waffle’s defense. The Fortnite Guy’s video on the topic is nearing 300,000 views at the time of writing.
If everything in this situation is as it seems, you can’t help but feel bad for Waffles. He was put in a terrible in-game situation due to someone else’s exploit. Despite not having any weapons, he managed to finish third in the game. Now, he’s banned, disqualified, and unable to play the Season 3 and 4 FNCS – all for a bug that was triggered by another player and actually put him at a disadvantage in-game. We’ll update you with any developments in this story.
What does the $250 million Sony investment mean for Fortnite?
The implications of a massive investment on the biggest game in the world, Fortnite.
On July 9, it was announced that Sony invested $250 million in Fortnite developer, Epic Games, making them a minority investor in the company. This brings Epic’s total investment capital to $1.58 billion.
Epic has been a major player in video games for a long time but made their biggest mark on the space with Fortnite, the game that we all came here to talk about.
Although Fortnite is Epic’s biggest product, at the moment, the company has their hands in several different titles and sources of income The Epic Games store, for instance, is looking to rival Steam by purchasing some massive games as exclusive content.
According to multiple reports, Sony’s investment in Epic will not affect the release of future titles. It’s not like Epic are going to make Fortnite a PlayStation exclusive. It might work in reverse, however. There’s a chance that Sony could bring some of their PlayStation exclusives to the Epic Games store on PC.
What does this mean for Fortnite? Well, in the words of Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau, “Fortnite will never die.” This is a tad hyperbolic, but it’s clear that the gaming industry, as a whole, is ready for Fortnite to stick around for another ten years, or so. It wouldn’t be the first game to have a massive lifespan.
Apart from some additional money to work with, the biggest thing this means for Fortnite is probably in the cosmetic department. Now that Sony is a major investor in Epic, we can expect the developer to scratch their back with some exclusive skins.
Don’t worry, though. PlayStation players probably won’t get any priority when it comes to using new features or anything like that. What does the $250 million Sony investment mean for Fortnite? Ten more years of our favorite battle royale.
Epic Games respond to claims that they failed to pay Fortnite pros
Epic Games has contacted us with an official response to claims that they failed to pay some Fortnite pro players.
Yesterday, we covered a story about pro players and content creators calling out Epic Games for failing to pay them their tournament winnings and Support-A-Creator earnings. You can take a look at the original story here.
On June 25, Epic Games reached out to us with a statement on the issue, clarifying why some of the prize money and Creator Code earnings have been held up. Below is the official statement from Epic Games on the matter.
Epic Games’ official response to FortniteINTEL
“Recently, we experienced delays to Competitive prizes due to two separate issues. The first issue was related to our DreamHack Anaheim event. Here, we encountered delays due to additional California state tax withholding that required manual processing of payments outside of our Hyperwallet payment system. All prizes for DreamHack Anaheim have been sent directly to player bank accounts. These prizes should be deposited in the respective winners accounts in the next few days. We apologize for the delay.
The second issue was related to overpayments for some prize winners of online cups due to a clerical error and required manual correction. Now that we have sorted out the overpayment issues, we are back on track to process prizes in a more timely manner.
Regarding Support-A-Creator payouts, there are two issues at play. The first relates to us running into obstacles as we transition to a new payment system, including bugs and delays. We appreciate Creators who have been patient as we make this transition and resolve those issues. Creators who are encountering issues should watch our Hyperwallet Account Activation tutorial or reach out to Support-A-Creator Player Support for assistance.
The second issue involves creators who have violated the terms of the Support-A-Creator program by scamming or defrauding players. Typically these individuals create social media material that falsely promises special benefits to players relating to a specific Support-A-Creator code. The players use the code but never receive the special benefits they were promised. When these accounts are detected or reported, we remove these creators from the program and do not pay out their fraudulent accounts. We take these violations seriously, and are looking at additional measures to prevent bad actors from abusing the program, up to and including potential legal action.”
There should be a more detailed blog post from Epic Games on the topic within the hour, giving more information on all of these issues. We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.
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