The Washington Post announced a few years ago that Amazon was attempting to “gameify” work in its warehouses by implementing social mini-games.
Since then, we haven’t learned much about the odd program, but today The Information published a report saying that Amazon is in the midst of a “massive expansion” of the “FC Games” program.
According to today’s article, what started in one warehouse in 2017 has now spread to 20 states. Employee reaction has been mixed, which is perhaps unsurprising.
Amazon warehouse Deals
Employees at a stowing and picking station (where staff prepare orders) will obtain a digital currency that can be used to purchase virtual products by playing one of the six games.
It may seem insignificant in the end, but it exemplifies Amazon’s “preoccupation” with productivity. The games, however, are not used as an output measurement, according to the company.
“We’re excited to be taking their input and extending the service to many more buildings in our network,” Amazon said in a statement.
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“Even with this extension, workers will have full control over the program; they can opt in or out of various games based on their preferences, play secretly, or not play at all—the choice is theirs.”
In terms of the games themselves, they seem to be similar to many of the features found in modern games, such as leaderboards and tournaments between coworkers, both within a single warehouse and throughout the United States.
“The games aren’t especially good,” an Amazon employee told The Details, “although some people like it because it helps to alleviate the mind-numbing boredom of a 10-hour shift.”
Others, on the other hand, say they don’t play the games because they inspire them to work faster, which might lead to injury.
Amazon has been chastised for years over dangerous working conditions in its warehouses, and the recent global pandemic has exposed the difficulties that workers face.
New York State recently sued Amazon for demonstrating a “flagrant disregard” for workplace protection during COVID-19.
We’ve contacted Amazon for more details on the FC Games program and will update this story if we receive a response.