EA and Take-Two say Trump administration is harming the games industry
“There is a constant shortage of qualified, high-skilled labour within our industry”
Top execs from leading publishers Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive have spoken out about the current US government's negative impact on the video games business.
Speaking during a panel at the 2017 Games For Change Festival, representatives of both firms comment on the Trump administration's policies regarding immigration, education, trade and more - and Polygon reports they are most dissatisfied.
One subject touched upon was the administration's plans to potentially overhaul the H-1B program, which issues special work visas to workers in fields like science and technology (with games development coming under the latter). The intention to put American workers first could restrict the number of visas issued, hindering games firms' ability to bring in talent from abroad.
"There is a constant shortage of qualified, high-skilled labour within our industry," said EA's global head of government affairs Craig Hagen, adding that companies such as his are increasingly in need of staff with "higher-end skills" in advanced areas such as data analysis and artificial intelligence - and this can require hiring from overseas.
Alan Lewis, VP of corporate communications and public affairs at Take-Two, added: "Immigration continues to be a significant issue for companies like ours and the industry at large."
Lewis elaborated by explaining that not only is the current political climate deterring immigrants from coming to the US, but it's also making it harder to keep those who are already working for games firms in the region. Polygon goes into additional detail.
Animosity between the games industry and Trump's administration has been building throughout the year. We offered our thoughts on the potential consequences for the President's policies back in February, shortly after the organisers behind GDC openly disapproved of the travel ban that prevented developers from Middle Eastern countries from attending this year's conference.
Blizzard and Harmonix also voiced their opposition to the ban, as did Insomniac Games and E3 organisers the Entertainment Software Association. Unity took this one step further by promising to fund travel for 50 affected developers and bring them to its Unite Europe conference - we spoke with some of these developers last month.