13 Feb 2017

Game for unlimited leave and shared profits?

From Checkpoint, 5:55 pm on 13 February 2017

The chief executive of Dunedin video game studio Rocketwerkz gives his staff unlimited leave, limits his salary to a notch above the highest paid worker, and has thrown out middle management.

Dean Hall made his name as the creator of a zombie survival game DayZ which was a global hit.

Now he’s funnelling that success into his own studio, Rocketwerkz.

Headquartered at a glass building on Dunedin’s waterfront he employs 40 people.

“There’s a lot of collaboration happens, a lot of people think of coding as sitting there and typing it’s really not like that anymore it’s very collaborative,” Hall says.

He pegs his own salary to no more than 10 percent above the highest paid employee, there’s a flat structure and profit sharing with the game designers – and there’s unlimited leave.

“Which means you take as much leave as you can while still doing your work.” Hall says.

“It’s not even about altruistic or anything, it’s just good business. If we can secure people who can do a years’ worth of work in a month, wow imagine if we had a whole company full of those people?”

Hall says he’s lobbying every politician who will listen to get law changes to support these Silicon Valley-style contracts.

He’s now attracting high flyers from the biggest gaming studios in the world and says he wants to build a billion dollar industry that employs legions of creative New Zealanders.