Initiatives – The Game Industry Needs to Mature
The following represent the principal areas of focus for Kate Edwards’ advocacy efforts within the game industry. More information on specific actions and plans within each pillar will be provided in the near future.
We need a better voice for the global game industry. After decades of creation, games have become a significant cultural and economic force. Yet, those who create games do not (and have never) controlled the public narrative about their craft. Despite associations which purport to act in the name of the industry, and regardless of games becoming a ubiquitous form of entertainment across wide demographics and geographies, much of the general public still believe that games are a negative force in society.
Value the people over profits. Game creators are passionate, creative individuals. Yet all too often, their passion is exploited by their employers to the point of being detrimental to their physical and mental health. Excessive “crunch” practices reminders of expendability, the rigors of independent entrepreneurship, and other pressures foment an environment where the hope of critical and financial success through incessant work falsely eclipses the necessity of self-care.
Those who create games must better reflect those who play them. Games are enjoyed by nearly every kind of individual across ages, genders, ethnicity, geography, and culture, yet they are created by a much narrower demographic representing a historical legacy of exclusion in the technology sector, from which games emerged. A diverse workforce that earnestly builds its culture on principles of inclusion is an industry that rises above stereotypes and tropes, eliminates wage and hiring biases, actively dispels harassment of its people both within organizations and within the public, and demonstrates a mature form thought leadership.
Treat one another with mutual respect. How we treat colleagues within our profession illuminates our principles, and sets the foundation for how we are perceived, for how we manage our people and our work, and how we embrace diversity. From publishing contracts that take advantage of inexperienced “indies” to the use of unpaid interns. From ignoring reports of harassment to exploiting workers’ passion. And the list goes on. When an industry perpetually treats its own unfairly, it disrespects its own profession; the reality of that immaturity becomes all too visible to the world.