DayZ DayZ, Give Me Your Answer Do

Dean Hall

Dean Hall is in a stoush with INZ over immigrant pay

If you’re a budding software developer planning to move to New Zealand you may want to reconsider after learning how low the salaries are.

Dean Hall, “creator of DayZ a successful survival game” (in reality an Arma 2 zombie-survival mod) that has since “sold over 3 million copies” may be forced to locate his business off-shore due to Immigration New Zealand asking him to pay migrant employees a decent wage.

After the success of his mod, Hall started work at Bohemia as an employee in the position of Project Lead of the standalone version of DayZ. In November 2014, he left Bohemia Interactive to create his own studio, Rocketwerks and announced the début title “Ion” at E3 2015. (source)

Based on the success of DayZ, Hall has been planning to base his new game studio, Rocketweks in Dunedin but is threatening to throw his toys out of the pram and move it overseas. Why? because the NZ immigration department recommended he pay migrant software developers around $60,000, which he says is “way above what the industry is paying in New Zealand.” Fans of the show ‘Silicon Valley‘ may like to turn away now.

The game DayZ has already made $137.7 million, according to the NZ news report quoted further down the page. However, that was on early access, the game isn’t scheduled for full release until 2016. Players are already saying the game has had such a long period of early access and development (2.5 years) that the final release is likely to be a damp squib: it has already peaked.

Steam is still offering the game as an “early alpha” for $34.99 but with a warning


Hall doesn’t say what he was paid while working for Bohemia but

Hall, frustrated by his treatment, has written an open letter to Immigration New Zealand imploring them “to stop wasting the time of me and my staff and make a decision”.

“In selecting erroneous data, you are demanding that we either provide preferential benefits to overseas graduates or that we alter all graduate employee positions,” he said in the letter.

“That means either you are forcing us to give overseas graduates more or you are fixing industry prices.”

A spokesperson for Immigration NZ said there was no suggestion migrants should be paid more than New Zealanders. “Anyone working in such a skilled position, with the qualifications and/or experience that such a position requires, should be paid more than $35,000 – the salary that Mr Hall is proposing to pay workers in this case.”..

A letter of support from the New Zealand Gaming Developers Association (NZGDA) revealed a graduate with a tertiary game programming or computer science degree could expect to receive a starting salary of $35,00-$45,000.

The association also noted that Hall was a “high-profile, internationally-acclaimed and successful game developer now re-investing in his homeland”.

Hall, with the support of Dunedin South MP Clare Curran, the Dunedin City Council, and the NZGDA, applied for “approval in principle” from Immigration New Zealand…  source

Immigration New Zealand has a minimum income requirement for residence visas of around $45,000 – $50,000 depending on the visa type and whether the occupation is on the long term skill shortage list. These figures are based on what it deems to be a living wage, given that migrants (unlike Kiwi graduates) are unable to claim state benefits such as housing payments to supplement meagre incomes.

Now, no one wants migrants to be a burden on the state, do they?

We say if Hall thinks his business will generate the sort of income DayZ has made for Bohemia Interactive, he should pay his employees accordingly and stop being so tight fisted. After-all, if you pay peanuts…you may end up with a game ‘still in development‘ after 2.5 years.

15 thoughts on “DayZ DayZ, Give Me Your Answer Do

  1. It’s wonderful that such a person is being exposed as an exploitative godfather.
    Also, that’s a very useful piece of information, that
    Immigration New Zealand has a minimum income requirement for residence visas of around $45,000 – $50,000
    because, (from what I saw at university) new migrants or prospective migrants are not informed of that salary level. That means, a HUGE amount of university students from overseas … are simply being set up to become cash cows.

    Because, based on that minimum figure for residence visa,
    based on a 40 hour (8 hours / 5 days) workweek …
    45,000 / 52 = NZD865 per week, equals NZD21.625 pay per hour.

    I can tell you for sure, that students working part time or even transitioning to full time … WON’T be making that much straight away. Maybe years later … but certainly not on the 1 year work visa, which is itself a rort – to squeeze money via the “Expression of Interest” …

    • Somewhat related:

      Interesting comments:

      [–]CaptainPixel 202 points 7 months ago
      I’m not sure how I feel about this whole thing.
      For one; I like DayZ.
      For two; it’s broken as shit.
      For three; they did tell everyone they would raise the price eventually.
      For four; $30 is even too expensive in its current state.
      For five; people losing their shit over a $5 price hike is pretty dumb.
      For six; stopping your communication with the community that buys your game because you can’t handle the criticism is also pretty dumb.
      If you produce anything, anything at all, for public consumption then there is going to always be a very vocal group that’s negative about it. If you have 10 people, and 5 liked it and 5 didn’t, 1 might write something positive about it, 4 will complain. You’ve got to have a thick skin. You got to be able to separate the valid constructive criticism from the complainers. There is a reason most game developers/studios/publishers have Community Relations Managers.

      [–]Alex2539 79 points 7 months ago
      For five; people losing their shit over a $5 price hike is pretty dumb.
      It’s not just that the price increased, it’s that the price increased just as the game went on sale with a discount that brought it to about the old price. I’m sure it was just bad timing, but it makes it look like they increased the price just so that they could say they discounted it during the sale without reducing the revenue per copy sold and capitalize on the increase number of sales games on Steam see with these events. Again, while I’m sure it wasn’t on purpose and just poor timing, with the way some companies treat their customers it’s not unreasonable for some people to be defensive and skeptical. The smart thing would have been to hike the price in January.

      • and even more bad news from the same thread about Dean:
        [–]seven2eight2 103 points 7 months ago
        I feel like this is a cop out. He has stated that he is leaving the DayZ team at the end of the year. This way he saves face and is the victim. He left because we pushed him away. Bullshit. Dean made promises he couldn’t keep. Plain and simple.

        [–]GatorDontPlayThatSht 31 points 7 months ago
        Hasn’t made the game any less shit, blames community and quits over valid criticisms of a game he got paid for and didn’t make functional or playable in the way he promised. Plain and simple early alpha games are dangerous because of shit like this they tease additions, new engines, vehicles, underground bunkers and everyone goes crazy buying it and then when he’s made his money he up and leaves and it’s our fault. Such bullshit I hope people follow him all over the Internet until the end of time and call him on this nonsense. I also hope this has opened the gaming community’s eyes to the power we have as consumers and about how bad buying alpha games can be for us as consumers.

        Sure sounds like a future financial investment scammer is hard at work!

        • Well, he is busy polishing his image as a “manager” (fella who makes promises on behalf of the development team, and takes the credit for the work done, and deflects the blame – think “Gavin Belson” of the show Silicon Valley, and the speech he gave while firing Hooli employees “they may leave(carrying a tarnished employment record and inability to deliver on the CEO’s wildly naive promises), but I bear the responsibility(of continuing to collect the CEO’s salary, naturally)” now.

          Yes. everyone’s dream to have a business where they do ‘management’ and hope to live off the workers efforts. I hope it works out well – lets have a follow up story in 5 years time to find out.

          “The 35-year-old former soldier and air force officer fired the imagination of Kiwi wage slaves after revealing he offered unlimited annual leave to Rocketwerkz’ 40 staff while capping his own salary at no more than 10 per cent of the firm’s next highest-paid employee.”

          “Although DayZ never moved out of a trial version to a fully-finished product, it nevertheless raked in $100 million in sales, which meant Hall has been able to take an uncommon approach to business.”

          (Looks like the “New Economy” of never delivering a finished product but still getting paid … This is why we can’t have nice things.)

        • “Gavin Belson” firing the Nucleus team at Hooli

          Pretty sure many people at work have seen such slimy behaviour before …

  2. The story projected here reflects the mentality of a typical kiwi (arrogant) employer, and this is one of the many reason why kiwi businesses don’t grow big. They pay peanuts, so only monkeys (read low achieving, white trash, dysfunction kiwis) would be able to survive in their pittance called as salary. The smarter ‘humans’ have already left, for the ‘mainland’, in search for ‘better opportunities’.

  3. The math doesn’t add up carpentaro – only made sense when the variable ‘X’ was a reasonable cost – it doesn’t anymore


    earnings vs cost of living ( grocery prices probably at least 30% more expensive than UK / Ireland)
    earnings vs accommodation costs – don’t get me started on NZ house prices
    quality of housing construction – don’t get me started – I expect houses to be weatherproof.
    quality of housing heating – don’t get me started – central heating ?? – who the hell doesn’t have it in the uk / europe / civilised world.
    quality of insulation – in the rest of the world fully insulated doesn’t mean insulating solely the roof space + underfloor !!

    I’m not even going to into the lost travel opportunities.

    Rant over

    • Dean Hall wants his staff to live on under $600 after tax hahahahha. No wonder the mong can’t get Kiwi’s to work for him and is trying to get cheap labour from abroad. He must be thick as two short planks. What migrant in their right mind would come over to New Zealand and work for 35 grand a year when they would earn 45-60 grand elsewhere? He’s offering no more than someone would make working at Mcdonalds.

      I notice he says ‘plus bonuses’. Is that the bullshit ‘lifestyle’ of ‘living it up’ in some baron green desert paying out your arse to rent and feed yourself? Like I said, he is a MONG and I hope he fails in the long run.

  4. The earnings vs cost. When I first moved to nz, wages [Stasteside] was was [for my skill] $25-45/ hr. I was hired into nz for $18.50/hr. The cost of living in nz is more and the wages are less. You do the math.

  5. I hope your company goes bust and you get nowhere in the end treating your staff like that. 35 grand for a software grad? LOL. Capitalist little pig. Is anyone surprised though? If there is so much money in the gaming industry then bloody well pay your staff what they are worth you cheap skate Kiwi twat.

  6. Wow! The standard starting salary for ANY graduate in Australia is usually between $45,000 and $55,000; how the hell could anyone survive on $35,000 in today’s financial climate?

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