Developers are tired of the working conditions in the games industry.
The #AsAGamesWorker hashtag apparently started by Warner Bros Montreal designer Osama Dorias (below) is an insight into the frustrations felt by employees working in games studios around the world.
This follows layoffs at Telltale Games and Capcom Vancouver, as well as disturbing looks behind the scenes at ArenaNet and Riot Games.
So far, developers past and present from Travellers Tales, Telltale, Ubisoft, Eidos Montreal, Creative Assembly and Vlambeer among others have added their voices to the narrative.
Common complaints include the concerns of developers coming after those of stakeholders, clients, management and corporate culture, peer pressure to overwork, employees feeling expendable.
#AsAGamesWorker, I want to work in an industry that puts the well being of game developers in the forefront.— Osama Dorias (@osamadorias) October 2, 2018
- before shareholders
- before clients
- before management
- before public image
- before established practices
- before corporate culture
- before everything else
#AsAGamesWorker I want gamers to see that the games they love are made by huge teams of incredibly talented and skilled people who are doing this both for the love of it *and* as a living. That we deserve pay, benefits, and to be treated like humans.— Emily Grace Buck plz hire TTG devs! (@emilybuckshot) October 2, 2018
We have to envision life #AsAGamesWorker as a mother, as a grandmother, or our industry is stuck with husks and scarred survivors. We need to support careers for 50+ yrs. Every person who flames out at 5 yrs -- or leaves bc that's on the horizon -- is an incalculable loss.— Tanya X. Short (@tanyaxshort) October 2, 2018
#AsAGamesWorker I want to see the industry mature.— Jodie Azhar (@JodieAzhar) October 2, 2018
Foster healthy, balanced cultures where employees feel safe & appreciated.
Be diverse & inclusive, support employees needs & listen to them.
Not keep having the same conversations & reminding ppl what they're worth
#AsAGamesWorker, I believe & work towards an industry that treats their workers with more respect than the products made by them, that offers stability, longevity, & protections for those employed, that offers opportunity for the experimental, and that is inclusive & truly global— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) October 3, 2018
Since GDC this year, there have been calls for game developers to unionise. Speaking to PCGamesInsider.biz in April this year, Devolver and Good Shepherd co-founder Mike Wilson said that traditional unionisation might not be possible in the games industry, but game makers need some form of collective bargaining.
The head of American games trade body the ESA Mike Gallagher has said there is a low risk of unionisation in the games sector, though keeping in mind his organisation is funded by big publishers and developers forming a union would signify a shift in power, and it's clear why this exec might be saying that.