Blood, Sweat, and Pixels

Book Recommendation: Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier

This book might as well could be the contemporary analysis and reports for video game industry, and a very thorough and well crafted one.

The author Jason Schreier (News Editor on Kotaku) is a credible writer very active and popular on

Blood, Sweat and Pixels dissects thoroughly on the lives of thousands of developers and studios. A very “vertical slice” of video game industry itself.

This book is a very good guide for anyone interested into video game industry and people who want to join. Also, Jason is a very good writer and he specializes at capturing people’s emotions, the struggles the studio is ongoing and the tension between each one of them. If any young people are going to ask me about video game industry and what’s actually happening in there, I’d definitely ask them to go through this book first.

You’ll understand how hard it is to make and crunch a game out; you’ll understand how decisions matter when it comes to video game development; you’ll also understand the stories behind specific video games you might have played before.

And also, this book reflects many contemporary events and how they affect video game developments. Such as crowdfunding, the evolution of engines and many many other macro-world stuff.

And Jason’s writing is definitely mesmerizing. His forte is to attract people into reading it down, and very informative for each passage he laid down. And to those who don’t have much knowledge about video game industry, Jason also did a great job on teaching these people step by step on the terminology of video game industry.

Mostly, articles packed with tons of information are lusts for me to consume. I’m an information foam, I love how a writer is willing to share whatever he observed and analyzed.

On Kotaku, Jason’s articles are extremely popular than many other peer writers. And whenever his article comes out, it would most certainly be a bomb for the news outlets and consumers of the industry.

For years, Jason has been stressing the major problems inside video game industry–Crunch (Unpaid overtime working), and regular layoffs (Happens for no reason).

In every article he wrote, development never leaves these two terms. A studio is either crunch, or lay off staff. Which is also a “common” phenomenon inside the industry, the balance between budget and expectations. If you want to fulfill fans’ expectations without cutting anything, you crunch. If you think your workers’ life quality values more, you lay off some unnecessary staff, or you cut some features in your game. And situations are definitely not as simple as described above. You may want to read some of his articles (The Horrible World Of Video Game Crunch and Why Game Developers Keep Getting Laid Off) to find out the complexity of these two major problems in video game industry.

In recent weeks, Jason also dropped a bomb on EA and EA related affairs–Visceral Games, Star Wars and the buy-off for Respawn. People were shocked after what he revealed with his inside leads and thorough anonymous interviews with developers worked on the projects.

And this book written by him resembles everything I said above, and keeps his style: Captures you first with problems, serious problems. Later caught your attention, dissects the problems thoroughly on why, how and what. Combining with industry latest intels and world’s ongoing events, draws readers into the same zone of everyday video game industry. His writing is rather simple, with no many rhetorical tricks, the texts are plain but very captive for anyone loves to hear a true story. That’s why these developers’ lives feel so surreal to us readers, that we may understand what they were going through at the time.

You can buy this book on Amazon | Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, with paperback, Kindle and Audiobook versions available. Better grab a paper book if you can, it’s always a neat feeling seating in a couch in a sunny day afternoon with a good book on hand. The touch of a page-turn, the sound it makes when you put your fingers on.

Ok, that’s about it. Cheers.

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