Next week, I will be in San Francisco for the Game Designers’ Conference. The first day will be devoted entirely to localization issues. I will have a lengthy report.
Until then, here are a few more reports from around the world.
HUNGARY: In the city where I live over 1000 people lost their job because a major firm closed down. Besides that, whoever has a Swiss franc or Euro based loan has to pay 30% more because the Hungarian Forint has fallen so low. They are talking about raising the VAT, but it is already 20%! Personally I think I am lucky because I have a stable job, I work for the government and I have no loans.
JAPAN: Out here in Japan I’ve had many people candidly tell me they’re angry at America for causing this world crisis. I’ve even had cab drivers say that to me who didn’t know I was American! Basically, America is “at fault” for being greedy.
CHINA (Beijing): My cousin graduated from college this year. She’s now looking for a job as accountant. This is really hard for her. “For every job posted, there would be hundreds of job-seekers applying for it. The employers always expect everything from the appliers, graduated from famous university, years of experience, good English speaker, low salary etc.” My sister planed to change her job at the beginning of this year; however, when she heard what my cousin said, she changed her idea. There is good news also. The house price is declining; I hope I can buy an apartment this year. I am fighting for it.
SWEDEN: Personally I have not been very affected of the crisis, the first couple of months while mortgage interest was very high, we struggled a bit, but we were never in any real danger of loosing our home. I know a few people who had to wait for their salaries due to the employers financial problems, but this situation did not last long enough for them to get in any real financial troubles. I have however had less work working as a freelancer these first months, I suspect that it might be a consequence of the global situation.
ROMANIA: I’ll start by saying that a word of wisdom in Romania’s slang: “What does a Romanian do when he’s out of money? He exchanges 100 Euros!” and by this I really mean that even after so many years of “democracy” people are still keeping some of their money under the mattress. Besides we have a history of crashing banks. So the real crisis is actually going on on TV and media. Most of the country lives in small towns and villages and there self-sufficient small plots of crops,vegetables and livestock keep people alive. As for the big cities… well, here the real thing comes when intellectuals and most of the private workers receive smaller wages. Government business and related companies are being restructured but this is also because of a change of government. These changes happen every 4 years but this time it is a bit greater than usual. Other than that the most affected industries are construction and car dealers where the majority of loans where directed to. And these led to house prices above anything imaginable and an enormous number of cars on roads here. There is a global crisis but I believe ours is just over 50% fabricated.
And now for the most common response by far: “I’m really, really busy and will get back to you later.” This message comes from FRANCE, GERMANY, POLAND, CHINA (several times), SPAIN, JAPAN, TAIWAN, RUSSIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, FINLAND and others.