Modern video games often feel a lot like work. So it was only a matter of time before game makers faced player-led labor revolts over the perception of exploitation.
After Destiny 2 was released in September, players began to gripe about the game's progression system--essentially the way it rewards players for the combination of skill and hours played. The game, a cooperative online shooter with heavy role-playing elements, revolves around a complex system for advancing a player's capabilities, which is based partly on experience points, or XP. High-level players often play dozens of hours a week, and spend much of that time maximizing XP gains.
But users soon discovered the game was secretly providing diminishing XP returns for the same activities--cheating players by not compensating them enough for their work. In response to complaints, the studio behind the game changed the system, thus rewarding an uprising by underpaid video game laborers.
Player protests also drove changes to the progression system in Battlefront 2, a Star Wars-themed...