Archive for December, 2018

Workers protest outside Minnesota Amazon warehouse

Yesterday afternoon, Somali-American workers marched outside of Amazon’s Shakopee, Minnesota fulfillment center, chanting “hear our voice.” Estimates of the exact number of marches vary from source to source, but The Minneapolis Star Tribune puts it at around 100. It’s a fairly familiar refrain for the company, after years of reports about questionable working conditions. Some of that came to a head earlier this year when pressure from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders led the company to adopt a $15 minimum wage for warehouse workers. The protesters cited unfair working conditions and the insensitive treatment of a local workforce that’s approximately 40 percent East African. “We needed secured jobs, we are not robots,” one employee told a local Fox affiliate. The protest comes the same week employees at a New York City warehouse announced plans to unionize. It is, of course, an inopportune time for the online retail giant, with the Christmas holiday a mere 10 days away. In a statement, a spokesperson for the company expressed “disappointment,” telling Gizmodo,  “The majority of the people participating in today’s events are not Amazon associates because most Amazon associates are at work today sending out thousands of holiday packages for customers. We are disappointed in today’s efforts to undermine the dedicated and hard-working people who are the life and soul of our business. For them, it was business as usual.” The spokesperson goes on to defend the company’s work and safety record and inclusion of paid prayer breaks, writing, “Prayer breaks less than 20 minutes are paid, and productivity expectations are not adjusted for such breaks. Associates are welcome to request an unpaid prayer break for over 20 minutes for which productivity expectations would be adjusted.”

Discord announces 90/10 revenue split for self-published titles on upcoming games store

After gaming chat app startup Discord announced in August that they were building out a games store, today, they’ve detailed that they’ll be pursuing a very competitive 90/10 revenue split for self-published titles in 2019. In addition, the company revealed that they now have 200 million active users on their chat app, up from 130 million users in May. The announcement follows a storefront launch from Epic Games last week with an 88/12 revenue split. Valve’s Steam store had typically offered a constant 70/30 revenue split for all developers regardless of the revenues they were pulling in. The company recently announced that Steam would give a more favorable split to devs pulling in more revenue. Discord called up some of their thinking in a company blog post: Why does it cost 30% to distribute games? Is this the only reason developers are building their own stores and launchers to distribute games? Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018. Fortnite-maker aims for Steam’s head with Epic Games Store Steam’s efforts are largely focused on holding onto big developers, but indie devs now have to balance what advantages they’re earning by establishing their central home on a platform filled with tons of titles that’s also taking a more substantial cut. This leaves some room for Discord to attract the self-publishing indies, though it’s still an uphill battle for the company that’s up against some big competitors.