It’s easy to ignore the problems in the industry as we celebrate the profits of various AAA games. But 2018 was a disaster: Telltale Games closed down with reporting on how they completely betrayed their employees; news broke of sexual harassment at Riot Games; Arena Net threw two of their writers under the bus for the crime of upsetting a fan on twitter.
Workers at Rockstar blew the whistle on their abusive crunch culture – that was instantly forgotten because the game made under horrific circumstances was good. And the industry walked to the line and, seemingly walked away again, around the unicorn topic: the elusive union for game developers.
We have 300 students here who will go on to work in the international industry or will start their own companies. As educators, it is no longer enough to just say “You know how to make games. Go forth and prosper.” We have to prepare them to protect themselves and find healthy careers. We have to teach them to run profitable businesses AND treat their eventual employees with dignity and respect.
As with our conference in 2013, we are going to waste no time wringing our hands as wondering if the industry has problems. We see these problems every day. We have to focus on solutions.
As usual we have a stellar line up of people to help us talk about this including ex-IGDA executive director, Kate Edwards. We had the pleasure of seeing Kate speak at Nordic Game where she blew us away with a rousing call for the industry to better represent itself. Seeing Kate speak planted the seed for this conference, so you won’t want to miss her.
We’ll also have Jessica Price – the writer that Arena Net aimed the bus at. She’ll be talking to us about how companies can better protect their public facing employees.
Jennifer Jenson is going to talk about diversity and innovation, and she’s bringing receipts!
In her own words, “This talk will show how and why diversity and equity matter, as I reflect on year 5 of a 6-year international research project dedicated to studying how and under what conditions women and other minorities make and play games. Our research, I argue, reveals important new understandings of equity in thinking, design and action.”
We have more speakers to lock down, and we’ll update you all when we know more.
Even though this is a hard look at the games and the current state of the games industry, this isn’t “by developers, for developers.” Over the course of two days we will be looking at the things that make the headlines when news talks about games, the game industry or its culture. We’ll be showing how these issues may not be as insurmountable as they might seem, and we’ll be inspiring the next generation of developers to make things better.
- Video Games Are Destroying the People Who Make Them
- Making games for a living means being in constant fear of losing your job
- Why Game Developers Keep Getting Laid Off
- Activision Blizzard cuts hundreds of jobs despite ‘record revenue’ year
- What the hell happened at Activision Blizzard?
- Celebrated studio Telltale Games shuts down in the messiest way possible
- Toxic Management Cost an Award-winning Game Studio Its Best Developers
- Over 150 Riot Employees Walk Out To Protest Forced Arbitration And Sexist Culture
- Inside The Culture Of Sexism At Riot Games
- Guild Wars 2 Writers Fired For Calling Out Fan On Twitter
- 76% of game developers still labor under crunch conditions
- The Horrible World Of Video Game Crunch
- Inside Rockstar Games’ Culture Of Crunch
- How Fortnite’s success led to months of intense crunch at Epic Games
- An Open Letter To Game Developers From America’s Largest Labor Organization
- Ex-IGDA head Kate Edwards now convinced game devs need unions
- Game developers need to unionize
- Why 2019 could be the year video game unions go big
- Making Video Games Is Not a Dream Job
- As video games make billions, the workers behind them say it’s time to unionize