“Burnout is familiar in game development”

Burnout is defined as a combination of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation (feeling cynical and detached) and low perceived efficacy.

Burnout leads to decreased performance, satisfaction, commitment, and increased turnover of employees. This in turn means that the organisation as a whole is less productive and less effective. It also leads to increased absence, lateness, and interpersonal conflict with colleagues.

While many jobs are demanding, the conditions in our industry are uniquely unforgiving. Most game developers in the United States do not receive extra compensation for extra hours. They may gaze with envy at their colleagues in the film industry, where unions help regulate hours and ensure overtime pay. Their income pales in comparison to what’s offered in other fields with reputations for brutal hours, like banking and law. The average American game developer earned $83,060 in 2013, according to a Gamasutra survey, or less than half the pay of a first-year associate at a New York law firm.

“It’s not just enforced crunch at big console studios. The stresses are present in start-up culture, games as a service, and even solo indie development. And what’s worse is that many of us, myself included, smile our way in to burnout without realising it’s happening.”

This excellent resource from ReachOut Australia provides detailed information about burnout and stress.