Video Game Developers Power Up a High-Stakes Unionizing Campaign

It was 1 a.m. and RJ Reyes was driving down a Los Angeles freeway when he realized he’d had enough.

The sleep-deprived video game developer felt his eyes grow heavy. And his car veered suddenly.

There was no collision but the scare left him with a realization: His job at a small indie gaming studio with its long hours and low pay was demanding too much. “I’m practically killing myself,” he said.

“That’s when I realized, you know, not only is it not healthy, it’s not smart,” Reyes said. “I left shortly after I found myself swerving on the road.” He declined to name the studio he left.

Gaming studios have long been known for grueling work conditions—from long hours and unpredictable schedules to precarious job security. Now some workers, like Reyes, are taking action.

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