In today's main feature, Gearbox President and Director Randy Pitchford kindly sits down with Gamasutra to relay the history of the Texas-based company (Brothers In Arms
PC), passing on an inside look at the firm's laidback management ethos, as well as comments on violence in gaming and the efficacy of digital downloads.
In the following passage, Pitchford gives a taste of Gearbox's metric-based employee salary structure:
"Well, basically, metrics usually work when human beings sit down and decide how much somebody else is worth compared to others. So for example, at 3D Realms who got what of the royalties was basically decided by George, who runs the games at 3D Realms. So the problem with that was that every single person was unhappy about that. So even if you got the most, people still tend to think of themself as worth a bit more.
So at Gearbox we basically created this objective system so that subjectivity doesn't really play into it, which means it's basically set on time. This includes time with the project, time with the company, and lots of other little buckets where it all works out. The idea is that everyone in the company is tied into the feedback loop, meaning that when we're successful, everyone feels successful, and when we're not, everyone feels that. This helps us learn from our decisions, and hopefully make better ones along the way.
Another thing is with this whole objective matrix - we don't have to second guess our entitlement to our share of the royalties, and that means we also know relatively how much we're going to get compared to everybody else. On a side note, I'm in the same bucket system for royalties as everybody else, which means there about 20 other people making about as much money as I am."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject
, including some fascinating opinions on why digital downloads don't yet make sense to Pitchford and his cohorts (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).