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Survey asks devs what hurts industry perception

"Working conditions" the top answer among men, "sexism in games" most frequently cited by everyone else

The IGDA today released another round of results from its 2014 Developer Satisfaction Survey, shedding light on the way people working in the games industry see the challenges facing both themselves and the market as a whole.

Nearly one-third of respondents felt the social perception of games was somewhat negative (26.2 percent) or very negative (5.8 percent). Those people were outnumbered by those who felt the perception of games was somewhat positive (29.1 percent) or very positive (12.9 percent).

As for what could contribute to negative views, the most popular answer was "working conditions," with 68 percent of respondents identifying it as a problem. When the IGDA looked at the answers from core developers in non-managerial positions, that number rose to 77 percent. It was the only negative perception factor in which answers from rank-and-file developers deviated significantly from the total group's response.

Other factors commonly cited as contributing to negative perceptions of games including "sexism in games," which was identified by 67 percent of respondents, and "perceived link to violence," which 62 percent of survey takers saw as an issue.

The IGDA also looked at the results to that question broken down by gender, with males on the one hand and a catch-all "minority gender" including respondents who self-identified as women, transgender or androgynous on the other. As might be expected, the answers given differed significantly. The top factor contributing to negative perceptions for minority gender survey takers was "sexism in games," with 83 percent citing it as a problem, while only 62 percent of male developers thought it was a factor.

Other issues on which the genders split were "Sexism in the workforce" (a factor for 70 percent of the minority gender, but only 46 percent of men) and "lack of overall diversity" (57 percent of minority gender, 38 percent of men). Male developers were more likely to identify "workplace conditions" as an issue (70 percent to 66 percent), as well as "perceived link to violence" (63 percent to 61 percent), and perceived link to obesity (51 percent to 45 percent).

The IGDA's researchers said it was important to note that this survey was conducted months before the GamerGate controversy erupted last year.

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Latest comments (10)

Eyal Teler Programmer 2 years ago
"Working conditions" is clearly not an answer to the negative social perception of games but to the negative perception of game development as a job. So either the question wasn't well defined or the reported results mix answers to different questions.

It would also be interesting to compare these results to what the general public answers, to see if developers have a real idea what the public thinks.
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Will Maiden Design Tutor, Playground Squad2 years ago
The IGDA also looked at the results to that question broken down by gender, with males on the one hand and a catch-all "minority gender" including respondents who self-identified as women, transgender or androgynous on the other.
Is this actually the case? If so, it seems pretty bad that the IGDA would separate genders by 'men' and 'not men'. In an article about the perception of the games industry being sexist, this seems like a massive own-goal.

In the report I could find (link here) it reads like the genders of those surveyed was taken into account, but the presentation of results isn't given. Is there another report this information is taken from?
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 2 years ago
Why would that be a massive own goal, Will? I think it is to avoid the binary gender presentation, and possibly also to avoid 'male', 'female' and 'other'.

It seems to me to be a meaningful distinction in a male dominated (numbers wise) industry.
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Will Maiden Design Tutor, Playground Squad2 years ago
The article basically reads with IGDA saying there is a lot of sexism in the games industry and it's giving us a negative public image, and in almost the same breath groups everyone who isn't a man together into a 'catch all 'minority gender''.

It seems like this is something GI has done rather than the IGDA. If the information is that men think the worst thing is the working conditions, while women, transgender and androgynous devs think sexism is the worst thing, then say that, not go out of your way to explain you/they have a catch-all "minority gender". It makes the argument men-centric and sound like you are either 'man' or 'not man' in so far as your opinion matters.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Will Maiden on 4th March 2015 1:30pm

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 2 years ago
Sorry still don't understand though thanks for taking the time to explain further.

@Eyal, I think the questionnaire is about the industry, not games. As both working conditions would be an odd answer, the games part in 'sexism in games' would be redundant, and headline of the article would be misleading.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kenny Lynch on 4th March 2015 2:48pm

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The relatively full report can be read here, by the way.

And a fancy infographic highlights some of that info here.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 4th March 2015 2:56pm

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Will Maiden Design Tutor, Playground Squad2 years ago
@Jess: Yeah, it's really interesting read (although the negative perception graph is baffling). I just didn't find any reference to a "catch all 'Minority Gender'" in the report, so I didn't know if this was GI's term or IGDA's. Either way, this was published in June 2014, so I thought maybe there was a new report/greater breakdown of the report or this was just old news.
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Brendan Sinclair Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz2 years ago
Will, the "minority gender" phrasing was the IGDA's, as was the decision to break out the results by gender. While the report was based on the same developer satisfaction survey previously reported on, these results were newly released.

While it struck me as a bit odd/potentially offensive, I think the IGDA clearly doesn't group people into "man" or "not man" as their survey acknowledged and supported a multitude of answers to the gender question, which is more than many surveys do. Splitting the groups up into "man" or "not man" for the purposes of looking at the answer to that one specific question makes sense to me, however, if the group's point was to underscore how men are less likely to see sexism in the industry as a problem.
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Eyal Teler Programmer 2 years ago
@Kenny, if the questionnaire is about the industry, then what about "perceived link to violence"? Clearly that's about games and not the industry. Clearly something is amiss in the reporting or the questionnaire.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development2 years ago
Oh I dunno about that Eyal. Try relying on eclipse for a while, that'll drive anyone to violence.
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