The Human Cost of Game Development

A review on Ars Technica takes a look at Press Reset, a new book by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier (formerly of Kotaku) that looks at what Ars refers to as "the high human cost of game development" (thanks Neutronbeam). The book focuses on the impact of layoffs on individuals, projects, and the industry as a whole. Ars notes that the way this begins on Warren Spector's career shows that even such a high-profile developer is by no means immune to the unpredictable underpinnings of the game development business. Spector explains there are four basic outcomes for a game development studio:
Yet the chapter sneakily sets a tone for the rest of the book by making clear that Spector—who's among the most idolized industry innovators thanks to his work on System Shock and Deus Ex—has never been immune from the game industry's capriciousness. Again and again, Spector would receive funding from a new publisher or business partner, only to see money dry up in ways that forced his hand. His story emphasizes Spector's unpleasant decisions along the way. Usually, he had to decide whether to keep projects going at any cost or contend with publishers' whims.

"The reality of the games business is, there are four endgames," Spector says to Schreier in the book. "You go public, which nobody does. You survive for decades, like Valve. You get acquired. Or, you go out of business."