SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — Overwork is once again in the headlines thanks to a former employee of Netmarble Neo, a subsidiary of the video game company, who spoke at a press conference held in Yeouido on August 8 decrying the dangers of the excessive work culture at his former job.
The man in question joined the Turn On Games company in January, 2014 as a game developer. In early 2015, he began work for Netmarble Neo through a corporate merger between the Netmarble subsidiary and Turn On Games.
While at Netmarble Neo, the man explained that because of the slated release date of a game that he and his team were working on, they had to work overtime to the point of mental and physical exhaustion.
He said, “The thought came in my head was that the way we worked throughout the night under extreme pressure might possibly lead to my death.”
He further explained that under “crunch mode”, a term used in the industry to denote the period of hyper excessive work before the release of a game, there were frequent occasions when he did not return home for over a week. He added that his team members’ health deteriorated to the point that colds spread like an epidemic, and severe weight loss and gain were common.
The last straw seemed to be when one of his team members collapsed and had to take a few months off work to recuperate. Very shortly after returning, the colleague quit. “When I heard about a case of death by overwork, I felt extremely overcome. That is the expected result [from overwork].”
He quit his job in October, 2015.
The man’s story is one of many that points the finger at Netmarble’s excessive culture of overwork. “Former employees of Netmarble say that ‘they worked like dogs’. From 2014 to 2016, workers were near death’s door due working over 60 hours per week in an average month,” said Park Jun Do, a representative of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).
The KCTU called for measures to prevent death caused by overwork and three-way talks between the leader of the labor union, Netmarble Games’ leadership and National Assemblywoman Lee Jeong Mi to discuss reimbursement of unpaid wages.
S.B. Woo (firstname.lastname@example.org)