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Interim director says IGDA is "revamping its ethics processes"

After the organisation mishandled complaints of harassment, Jakin Vela says it's gathering community feedback "to ensure that no missteps happen"

In an interview with Axios, International Game Developers Association's interim executive director Jakin Vela acknowledged past issues at the organisation and claimed that "any lack of trust can certainly be rebuilt."

It's Vela's first interview since GamesIndustry.biz released its in-depth investigation looking into how the organisation mishandled complaints of harassment and conduct violations, with Axios reporting that the IGDA is "working to regain the trust of developers" as part of its newsletter on Friday.

Vela joined the IGDA after Renee Gittins stepped down from the executive director role in February.

In the interview, Vela said that the IGDA is gathering feedback concerning its ethics policies and processes and that the organisation has been "revamping the ethics processes with that community's feedback and to ensure that no missteps happen."

Vela added that working with the community to gather feedback is how the organisation is "holding [itself] accountable."

At the time of writing, the sources behind the complaints against the former IGDA Women in Games Special Interest Group chair confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that the IGDA has yet to reach out to them following our investigation. Their formal complaints never reached a conclusion, and the group of victims has yet to receive an apology or explanation from the IGDA.

In the Axios interview, Vela also addressed wider criticism expressed in our investigation, with at least two sources expressing a lack of support to lift up marginalised developers, and devs from developing industries.

One source told us: "It's frustrating because this group is the closest thing to a union or advocate that a lot of people have in the games industry, but they often don't seem to be acting with the interest of individual, marginalised, at-risk developers at heart."

Vela appeared to be reacting to that particular quote, saying: "The organisation itself is specifically for individual game makers, game developers -- from hobbyists to 30-year vets.

"We are extremely, extremely, extremely effective in ensuring that our community has their voice, from all marginalised identities and perspectives. We have so many different diversity initiatives within the organisation itself."

Axios mentioned in its interview that the IGDA is still "playing catch-up" with industry standards, with their meeting taking place in a "hotel suite with a bed five feet from the interview spot" despite the GDC convention center being nearby, with such a setting having been criticised in the past.

Vela addressed it, saying: "That's something we can certainly consider because I think there are elements of like, weird. Yeah, there's weird vibes -- I could see that.

"We'll definitely go back to the drawing board of, like, how can we be more in alignment with better messaging."

In our investigation published in February, we looked into how the IGDA mishandled multiple formal complaints against its own Women in Games Special Interest Group chair, and failed to follow its own policies on how to properly handle such complaints on more than one occasion.

Speaking to multiple sources and looking through hundreds of pages of documentation, we unveiled a concerning pattern at the IGDA, showing a failure to follow through with the internal investigation system the organisation itself put in place to handle issues, such as harassment and violations of its Code of Ethics.

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