Do We Really Need CEOs?
by Inuma Jagos
Courtesy of SteamXO via Flickr
A CEO's main job is to appease the board of directors and the shareholders he is catering to. This can lead them to be out of touch with the workers they employ in the inverted totalitarian state that is called the corporate workplace. The results of that inversion speak for themselves:
Andrew Wilson, CEO at Electronic Arts, has a net worth of $20 million dollars while laying off 350 workers globally from his company. Randy Pitchford, the co-founder of Gearbox Software and worth upwards of $2 million dollars, continues to pile on controversy to his legacy with his outbursts on Twitter which work to the detriment of his workers and product. Kenzo Tsujimoto, owner of Capcom and worth upwards of $1.2 million, owns a vineyard in California while his employees work on the games.
In each of these, the net worth is the labour that these CEOs accrued and command at the expense of thousands of workers. It truly begs the question of what these CEOs do for the company when, for example, EA Games fails to achieve financial success, Gearbox suffers from the comments of their CEO and Capcom gives their programmers minimum wages while their CEO is capable of owning land in another country which he hopes to retire on.
There are certainly other policy decisions and other companies that should be under scrutiny, but the point here is simple: CEOs in gaming don't mix. They take advantage of employees; they are wealth hoarders and are the last ones fired when a game fails.
We must co-operative rather than corporative. It is far better for employees to work together, whether in game jams or other cooperative structures, than in the corporate cultures which benefit the few over the many. These already exist, ranging from Valve's semi-democratic structure to T-structures for smaller companies, to co-operative enterprises where everyone is both employer and employee. One worthy example is the anarcho-syndicalist French gaming studio Twin Motion, who came to be known as the ‘Game Studio With No Bosses’ and creators of the critically-acclaimed Dead Cells. To continue to allow a CEO to take advantage of you in a gaming company is merely to continue the exploitation which benefits their excess. It has been more than thirty years of labourers being unprotected and taken advantage of by CEOs and others squandering the wealth. It is time for that to change.