First off, yes, that article title is the Kotaku one verbatim. Why didn’t I change it? Because it perfectly encapsulates what is happening and I highly recommend you go read the original article by Mark Serrels. In short, Kotaku published a piece a few months back highlighting the poor conditions of employee’s working for Australian games retailer EB Games; revolving mainly around harassment, discrimination and unpaid labor. This article spurred a lot of conversations about the retailers practices and saw those detailed in the article approaching EB Games for mediation to resolve their issues. Much as the title suggests, this has been a fruitless endeavor, with EB Games now being taken to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
I believe this article is incredibly important for two reasons. Firstly, as an ex- EB Games employee, it was something that needed to be addressed and discussed to a wider audience.
I, like many I know and hired, pursued a career within the company for the same naively idealistic reasons. I wanted to sell games, talk to people about my passions and hang out with cool, like-minded people. The job proved to be rather the opposite. Strict sales targets, stress, psychological mind games and the expectation to put in unpaid hours were but a few of the realities. These shitty elements only increased once you finally managed to grab the dangling carrot and claw your way up into a full time managerial position (at one point I spent more time at my store per-week than I did at home). These working conditions were foolishly tolerated as just ‘the way it worked’, with few willing to speak up. So I applaud those perusing this hearing and applaud Kotaku for handling it with such professionalism.
The second reason I so highly value these articles is the aforementioned professionalism exhibited by Mr Serrels. Games journalism is a loose concept to begin with. This is helped in no part by articles rife with rampant speculation, click bait and news being more akin to ed-op pieces; complete with sloppily crafted prose. I, for one, am guilty of all these previously stated criticisms. I understand it’s the formula of the medium but it’s a refreshing sign of evolution to see such a well crafted and ethically journalistic piece appearing on one of the most visited websites for gaming news.
Hopefully both the tribunal and the article will see better horizons for both the working environment of one of the biggest games retailers in the country and games journalism as a whole.