Game developers brace for new industry security law

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Major Korean video game developers are taking preemptive measures to deal with the new industrial safety law and avoid a new “crunch mode” controversy.

Under the Serious Accident Prevention Act, which came into force on January 27, business owners can face a minimum prison sentence of one year or a fine of up to 1 billion won ($835,000) if a workplace fatality results in one or more fatalities. more than one injured. The penalty depends on whether the owners are found guilty of not having sufficient security measures.

NCSoft has established a system and committee required by occupational safety and health law, according to the company. He said the game maker is in consultation with outside institutions to fulfill the industrial duty to ensure workplace safety and health, adding that it will continue to make efforts for a safe and healthy working environment. and to protect its employees.

Netmarble also said it is carrying out various activities to prevent accidents, including setting up a safety and health organization to ensure that no accidents occur in relation to the new industrial safety law and the management of a joint committee of workers and managers to discuss the necessary measures. .

Nexon said it plans to avoid any industrial accidents by forming a team responsible for safety and health issues and establishing a management system that includes the industrial accident prevention of partner companies.

The country’s game makers have previously been criticized for creating a culture that forced engineers and developers to work extreme hours before a new game or software was released, a period known as “crunch mode”.

In August 2017, Korea’s Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service under the Ministry of Labor ruled that the death of a worker at Netmarble Neo in November 2016 was a work-related injury due to overwork.

The decision statement says the worker suffered irregular late night and overtime work in the 12 weeks prior to the heart attack that caused the death, noting that the employee had worked 89 hours the previous week. He explained that the extreme working hours had a sufficient causal link to the death, as the worker was in his twenties with no underlying conditions identified during medical examinations.

The crunch mode phenomenon seems to have eased since the installation of the 52-hour workweek rule in 2018. According to Korea Creative Content Agency’s survey of workers’ working conditions in the game published in December, 15.4% of respondents said they had experienced a 52-hour work week. crunch mode period throughout last year. In 2019, 60.6% said they had gone into crunch mode.

By Kan Hyeong-woo ([email protected])

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