Saturday, 26 December 2015

[off-topic] Payment for services rendered - Programmer

Something that's been nagging me for some time now, is the payment system in companies for services. a.k.a. employment, and how programmers and engineers have royally screwed ourselves, and I blame the hippies, oh and its related to the gaming industry ten-fold.

As an Artist, where are my royalties?

When an Artist creates art, which sells, again and again and again, they get paid for the copies. They own the original, that took them more time and effort to create the original than effort to reproduce.

When a write writes a book, and that book sells, they get royalties on each sale, as long as its being used, and money is changing hands, some of it goes to the person who deals with the ownership, chases the payments etc (the agent) and some goes to the original writer.

So when a programmer 'writes' code, and that code is used to make money, then provided the programmer is also the owner, they get money as long as someone buys the product.

But when a programmer works hard, more effort to create than to reproduce, (s)he gets an hourly wage if (s)he's lucky, and overtime if (s)he's not

I was having a hard time trying to think of any other worker that gets the short end of the stick in being the creator, yet earning none of the profits. Actors get royalties, Artists, Writers, Musicians, yes there is some flow, some screwed, some not, but the system is designed (if flawed) to give them royalties.

So why not programmers?

Because in the beginning, it was a labour of love. People don't care to demand hard cash for something they enjoy doing. Just enough to get by on. The whole concept of digital free, if it can be so easily reproduced, why should I pay for it? This infects the industry of all royalty systems, except in games, where the programmers are screwed. They get an hourly wage, no matter how poorly or how awesomely they work. Which might be why, as often as not, games are so badly done.. its no longer for the lolz, not for the beauty, not for the experience..

Imagine a group of artists, paid to draw millions of pictures, to make a movie, and they all have to 'create' each and every image, from scratch, but collaborate with other artists to make sure it comes together as a coherent whole at the end, to make an animated movie. How insane would that be? Disney Artists had sketches to work from, they copied a style, they drew the frames, but they didn't have to 'recreate' the model for each and every frame.

Worse is the trickle down effect on the industry.

When a big company can spurt out a $0.99 mobile game that has fabulous graphics and half decent game play, they can do so because 100,000 people are going to buy it. Now the customer has an expectation of what a 'mobile game' costs, so they expect their games at that quality and price.

But the little guy, to make the same game, has to spend months of his life, years even to make a game, flesh it out, draw the art, etc and he needs 25k a year to survive, but only 10,000 people see his game, and 80% of them get the free version, so he earns $2,000.

The expectation of the programmer has gone from being a god, someone who can control the amazing lights of the internet, and is in command of the very lifeblood of the future.. to a worker, a slave to the system, a cog. 

How the mighty have fallen..

No comments: