I just got finished watching Second Skin. Here's the synopsis for anyone unfamiliar with the title:
Second Skin takes an intimate look at three sets of computer gamers whose lives have been transformed by online virtual worlds. An emerging genre of computer software called Massively Multiplayer Online games, or MMOs, allows millions of users to interact simultaneously in virtual spaces. Of the 50 million players worldwide, 50 percent consider themselves addicted. From individuals struggling with addiction to couples who have fallen in love without meeting; from disabled players whose lives have been given new purpose to gold farmers, entrepreneurs and widows, Second Skin opens viewers’ eyes to a phenomenon that may permanently change the way human beings interact.
Jeremy Monken (former CSR, Mythic) tells his grim tale to the Escapist.
The story struck a chord with me, having also worked for an MMO developer that circled the drain. Thankfully Mythic is still holding on, and WAR isn't going anywhere yet.
The article does a wonderful job of describing the school-boyish glee that hits you when you land your first industry job, and an all too accurate description of how morale nosedives when the vultures start circling overhead.
It's rather unpleasant to hear that many of the initial lay-offs actually had little to do with WAR, but rather EA's financial troubles. I'd suspected that may have been the case, as the launch went smoothly and the game was well received, though a first hand account from someone in the trenches is all the more jarring.
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who isn't all that pumped about Natal just yet.
You have to ask yourself exactly how many gamers want to get up off the couch and dance around like an idiot when they play a game? Not too many, I'll wager...