Full statement  

Movement for Ethical Game Production

A Declaration of Expectations from the Future Talent to the Global Game Industry

We, the future talent of the global game industry, assert, in fearless solidarity, this ultimatum to the present industry that the time for real change has come. We want to transform our craft into a place of respect, inclusion, and fairness for the greater benefit of our games, our audience, and our own long-term well-being. 

We want to let the global game industry know that we are in it for the long haul. We want to be in this industry until retirement, but we will leave if our own industry mistreats us and abuses our passion for what we do.

The current game industry is losing incoming talent within five years of them joining because they see other industries will treat them better. This limits and suffocates our industry’s creative potential.

The game industry can become a forerunner in supporting employees by consciously creating work environments that support and empower developers and other staff.

A diverse workforce that is built on a culture of inclusion will lead to an industry that rises above stereotypes and tropes. How we treat colleagues within our profession shows our principles, and sets the foundation for our societal role – as providers of entertainment, as educators, and as creative practitioners. 

Ethical game production should be at the core of our industry, and we must all work together to incorporate this into our practices and make sure it stays in place.

We ask that companies and institutions recognise the pivotal position they find themselves in and seize the opportunity to make positive change which has the potential to ripple throughout our world. We must seize the opportunity to become leaders in this, to become an example for other creative industries by making real and tangible change.

I. Introduction

We the future talent of the global game industry, united beyond all social, economic, cultural, and geographic boundaries by our passion and devotion for games and game creation, stand together to assert our vision for the environment in which we expect to work, to thrive, and to spend the majority of our professional lives. In fearless solidarity, we assert this ultimatum to the present industry that the time for real change has come. We must transform our craft into a place of respect, inclusion, and fairness for the greater benefit of our games, our audience, and our own long-term well-being.

II. Expectations

We expect employees and workers to be treated as invaluable creative talent.

Value the people over profits. Game creators are passionate, creative individuals. Yet employers often take advantage of their passion to the point of affecting their physical and mental health. Pressures such as excessive “crunch” practices, reminders of expendability, and demanding conditions of independent entrepreneurship, all form an environment where the hope of success through ceaseless work overshadows the necessity of self-care.

The game industry can become a forerunner in supporting employees by consciously creating work environments that support and empower employees. 

 

We expect real, measurable efforts to improve diversity and inclusion.

Those who create games must better reflect those who play them. Games are enjoyed by nearly every kind of individual across all demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, geography, and culture, yet they are created in the majority by a much narrower demographic. A diverse workforce that builds its culture on a foundation of inclusion will lead to an industry that rises above stereotypes and tropes, eliminates wage and hiring biases, actively counters harassment of its people both within organizations and in public, and demonstrates mature and responsible leadership.

 

We expect an open demonstration of fairness in all practices.

Treat one another with mutual respect. How we treat colleagues shows our principles, and sets the foundation for how we are perceived, how we manage our people and our work, and how we embrace diversity. There are numerous unfair practices: publishing contracts that take advantage of inexperienced “indies”, unpaid interns, ignoring reports of harassment, exploiting workers’ passion, and more. When an industry continuously treats its workers unfairly, it diminishes its own profession and devalues the creations.

III. Consequences

We as future talent will look to other industries to find better treatment.

We are at a crucial point for the games industry. More people are playing games than ever before, which means many more people will be inspired to create them. However, these passionate people will be deterred by the lack of fair treatment, vast amounts of overtime, and discrimination in the workplace. The games industry is losing incoming talent within five years as a result of them looking for an industry that will treat them better. By allowing this to happen, we limit our growth, lose valuable experience and insights, and suffocate our creative potential.


We as future talent will reject an industry that maintains a “gatekeeping” culture.

Mistreatment of staff can become a form of gatekeeping: instead of facing up to the embarrassment, that their company is not a sustainable work environment, survivors of abusive work culture often wear that culture as a badge of honour. The victims of the culture, who sacrificed their energy, health, or families, are described as ‘not cut out for the industry’. This is not sustainable and wastes years of investment for both employers and employees.

IV. Call to Action – A Model for Ethical Game Production

We want to let the global game industry know that we are in it for the long haul. We want to be able to be in this industry until retirement, but we will leave if our own industry mistreats us and abuses our passion for what we do.

Our industry should promote the health of the employees instead of trying to shift the blame onto them for not being strong enough. We want companies to acknowledge and care about the mental and physical health of their employees and change the policies, and people, that are promoting toxic work environments. Our industry will be at its best when it strives for fair treatment of all those involved and will only change if the people with the greatest power lead that change, or until they face removal from their positions by their peers for the good of us all.

Ethical game production should be at the core of our industry and we must all work together to incorporate this mentality into our practices and make sure it stays in place. If the current industry is unwilling or unable to change, without these beliefs embedded or the intention to do so, then we, as your potential future employees and coworkers, will not take on jobs in the industry that has been established. Instead we will be taking the initiative to build the industry we believe can be sustainable, in cooperation with people who value the same core principles. 

 

We ask that companies and institutions recognise the pivotal position they find themselves in and seize the opportunity to make positive change which has the potential to ripple throughout our world. Seize the opportunity to make a positive impression, and to become an admirable example for other creative industries by making real and tangible change. We wholeheartedly believe this will be for the long term good of developers, players, and society.