Longtime Head of Game Devs Group Bows Out with GDC Rant

As GamePolitics reported last month, Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, announced that he would leave the organization at the conclusion of last week’s Game Developers Conference.

With GDC now over, Jason has moved on.

Yesterday was his last official day with IGDA and Jason took the opportunity to post his final GDC rant on his Reality Panic blog. His comments seem to betray a certain amount of pent-up frustration with the game development community:

Serving the IGDA for the past 9 years has been extremely rewarding and challenging. I helped to get a lot done, but somehow feel that I failed the community.

Sorry for not having the leadership skills to beat the barriers of participation inequality. Less than 1% of the IGDA membership are truly active in driving the org forward… Sorry for not overcoming your general apathy and laziness.

Sorry for not doing a better job of roping in all the snipers from the sidelines. Turns out you are all pretty damn good at bitching and complaining and being critical. But then you don’t actually do anything about it and you don’t get involved…

Sorry for not getting you to be more serious about the profession of game development… This is a real art and science. We need to be way more deliberate and control the path the profession takes as it evolves into the future.

Most of all, sorry for not doing more to help you realize your power! …You are all having a massive impact on society. You are transforming the world day-by-day without even realizing it.

Oh well, f* you, it’s not my job anymore!


What’s next for JDR? He told GamePolitics via e-mail:

I’ll be doing my own thing. Short version is that I’ll primarily be doing economic development consulting for international governments working to build their local game development cluster/industry.

GP: Jason is a great guy and we wish him the best, going forward.

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  1. Coach says:

    "Less than 1% of the IGDA membership are truly active in driving the org forward" 

    That is a vague statement.  Forward how?  Fighting people who don’t like games or label them murder simulators?  Maybe less than 1% actually work on games that have drawn the ire of the knee jerks? 

    It would be nice if we could get a clarification on what "driving the org forward" means.





  2. tomservaux says:

    Christopher White cwhite@profoundgames.com

    This problem of people not getting involved is hardly limited to game politics. Politics in general has become, to the average person in this country, the equivalent of a YouTube video. If what you have to say is over 30 seconds long, people move on.

    Even worse, today if someone doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t matter if you have facts to back you up, or that they are only parroting what someone else told them, they will just keep saying what they have to say. This is because it’s easier to repeat something than to look it up, and if you have an agenda such as good ol’ Jacky boy, you know that there are a lot of people hearing what you are saying that will repeat it rather than look it up.

    Which brings us back to the core of Jason’s angst. You have people out there like Jack getting disbarred and people in the game community laughing at him and making fun of him but they are only doing so to each other. Jack is yelling as loud as he can to anyone who will listen and we’re chuckling to ourselves. The problem is that he’s far from the only one and they are yelling to people who don’t play games.

    So, what Jason is saying in his last line is that we don’t get it.

    The joke is on us

  3. Loudspeaker says:

    Well when it comes to hearding cats you have to give them something shiney.

    With nerd/geek cats like those of us who frequent Game Politics it takes a target to get movement.  Such as a proposed law, current event, or individual.

    My personal experience with leadership is you have to do 50% of what it takes to accomplish the goal for all involved to get any sort of initiative.  For example, typing up a letter about said issue you want addressed by the local legislature and then emailing it to everyone who has shown interest in addressing his/her representative about said issue.

    I feel for you EZK.  Cat herding is no easy task.

    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  4. black manta says:

    I feel you Zack.  As one of the three heads of the Baltimore/DC chapter, it’s all I can do to try and get members.  I’ve gone up to everyone I know who’s a gamer and asked them to join the ECA, but none if any so far has told me they’ve joined.  And I’ve said to people on more than one occasion that organizing gamers is a lot like herding cats.  This month’s meeting in fact is all about drumming up membership in our area, and we’re required to bring at least one other person with us.  On one hand, it’s kind of cool because it gives me the feeling like we’re in something like the French Resistance.  But on the other hand I feel with the tools we have at our disposal and the growing awareness of the ECA, we shouldn’t even have to be acting like some underground group.

  5. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Yep, I feel for him. Although I am not a paying member (probably will be as soon as  I actually start a practical career in game development) I still try to be active i nthe development community.

    Also, as a chapter president for the ECA, I understand the frustration of having a lot of members and few actually wanting to do anything. I have been asking for more help in my chapter for  months now and don’t get any response. Drives me nuts.

    I hope his new endeavor is more rewarding for him and I am greatful for what he has done for game development.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  6. ZippyDSMlee says:

    How do you make make game devlopment "mo better?" more refined design implementation and process,a better guild feel to the profession, more standardization in control options or options in general or design implementation and process. Not to mention better credits for everyone involved in a project….. text dose not cost so damn much you know….


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.


  7. E. Zachary Knight says:

    No it won’t. A line like that in the context it was made would only come back to haunt him if the IGDA and developers in general were collectively offended by it.

    He was awell respected leader and friend to too many people for something like this to haunt him. His credentials and history more than counteract any possible ill will such a statement would have.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  8. Ambiguous says:

    Meh, I sincerely doubt that a line like that is going to hurt anything, considering the position he is leaving.  Any employer would know that its difficult being in a leadership position, particularly in the gaming industry.

    Besides, that line was awesome.

  9. Kojiro says:

    While I can understand his frustration, leaving off with a "Oh well, f* you, it’s not my job anymore!" is really a bad attitude and could hurt his future job prospects if employers happen to read that.

  10. questionmark1987 says:

    I see his point and I agree, but you also ahve to look at the industry he represented. Game Developers are in general a pretty shy, non-social bunch. Aside from a few stand-outs most people in this industry don’t interact well with others and don’t much care to. They just want to sit in an office and do the thing they have a passion for. They often leave public appearances and announcements to HR and PR people and prefer to not step into the limelight themselves.

    That being said the fact that developers are that way does tend to hurt them.

  11. Nocturne says:

    That there is one unhappy bunny (well, was, probably much happier now it’s not his job anymore)

    Can certainly see where he was coming from.

  12. Neeneko says:

    Heh.  I got to meet the guy at an IGDA meeting a while back and was impressed with him, and now only more so.

    I admit I am more part of the problem then solution though.

  13. Magic says:

    I have to say: good for him. Even after reading some gaming forums, I can begin to relate to ‘snipers from the sidelines’ who continually bitch and whine without offering any practical or decent suggestions over an issue. In his capacity, I can imagine that certainly builds up a hell of a lot of frustration.

  14. Michael Chandra says:

    Heh, nice way to vent some frustrations and leaving them behind. =) Best of luck, chap!

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