Original story (03/10/2018): Industry workers have taken to Twitter to protest the state of affairs for employees across all disciplines, from indie level up to some of the biggest studios around.
In the wake of mass redundancies last month, both former and present staff at studios like Blizzard, Ubisoft, Telltale, ArenaNet and countless others detailed the litany of ways in which industry workers feel let down by their employers.
Seemingly started by Osama Dorias, a designer at Warner Bros. Montreal, #AsAGamesWorker serves as a laundry list of grievances from employees at all levels of the industry.
#AsAGamesWorker, I want to work in an industry that puts the well being of game developers in the forefront.— Osama Dorias, but 75% more awake! (@osamadorias) October 2, 2018
- before shareholders
- before clients
- before management
- before public image
- before established practices
- before corporate culture
- before everything else
Among the complaints are low pay, lack of job security, marginalisation of minority groups, lack of long-term prospects or career development, and exploitative employment practices such as unpaid overtime.
#AsAGamesWorker I want us to stop wearing overwork as a badge of honor, for our own and our team's well-being.— Tyler Coles (@javadocmd) October 3, 2018
The human cost of making games, from burnout to harassment, has taken centre stage of the Twitter campaign, with people also highlighting the ranging difficulties for both graduate employees and older staff looking to settle down and start families.
#AsAGamesWorker I want an industry that doesn't see all of it's laborers as fundamentally interchangeable and expendable.— Devilmother.exe | ð¯ SOMETHING WICKED out (soon) (@Synodai) October 3, 2018
Despite obvious anger and anguish from industry workers however, calls for unionisation remained few and far between.
Tensions have been riding high in 2018 and show no sign of abating; in a recent column on GamesIndustry.biz, US editor Brendan Sinclair argued this will go down as the Year of the Bad Employer.
"Perhaps most of all, there is a greater understanding that employers cannot be trusted to take proper care of us," he said.
"They ask for our passion, our dedication, and our loyalty. Some might even return it, but they are not required to, and the nature of business often means they have incentives not to."
Update (04/10/2018): In a statement released to GamesIndustry.biz, International Game Developers Association executive director Jen MacLean said: "Unfortunately, the challenges game developers have experienced this summer are not new to our community.
"There has long been a culture of positioning game development as a 'dream job', and using that perception as an enabler for lower pay for comparable positions, other exploitative employment practices, and even toxic work environments and harassment. Thankfully, because of tools like social media, today's game developers have a louder voice to challenge the status quo.
"We at the IGDA recognise this problem and last year refocused our mission to support game developers around the world in sustainable, fulfilling careers. We'll continue to work towards that goal by offering events like the Virtual Mentor Cafe to help developers who have been laid off, sharing resources like our Sustainability Best Practices white paper, and hosting forums like the Leadership Summit that help game developers of all disciplines grow their management and leadership skills."