In the competitive, deadline-driven world of mobile game development, Madison’s PerBlue stands out with a fresh take on helping its 50 employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.
“It’s notorious in the game industry to have a crunch and basically work insane hours – maybe 100 hours a week – because you have an insane deadline,” said Forrest Woolworth, PerBlue’s chief operating officer. “We’re mindful of that and work very reasonable hours and schedules. We’re very mindful of how we schedule and how we resource things.”
PerBlue, born in its founders’ college apartments in 2008, has developed into a developer whose games have been played by more than 30 million players globally. It’s most recent game was “Disney Heroes: Battle Mode,” a partnership with the Disney Co. which debuted in 2018.
The company offers its employees more than six weeks of annual paid time off each year, including a two-week companywide winter break over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. It also has company-sponsored social events about twice a month and a catered lunch program.
Woolworth said investing in employees is key to maintaining a strong workforce in a vibrant tech economy that is dependent on a specialized talent base requiring creative and engineering skills.
“It’s incredibly competitive for the talent, so we need to do an incredibly good job at making sure people are happy here,” he said.
Another aspect of that is supporting the technology industry in Madison, Woolworth added. PerBlue is a founding member of the entrepreneurial hub StartingBlock Madison, where Woolworth is board president; helping to organize Capital Entrepreneurs; supporting Sector67; and helping to create the Wisconsin Games Alliance.
“Outside of our walls, we are very passionate about making Madison a great place for start-ups,” he said. “The bigger we make the pie, the more we can attract and retain strong tech and other strong talents of people in Madison.”