Where Does the IGDA Go From Here?

April 27, 2009 -

With the recent departure of longtime executive director Jason Della Rocca, the International Game Developers Association appears to be at a crossroads.

Della Rocca's replacement has not yet been named. David Edery writing for his Game Tycoon blog, notes that the organization seems to be yet again hung up on the competing issues of quality of life vs. profit making. Edery writes:

I’m going to sidestep the question of whether or not the IGDA should be taking a hard stand on quality of life issues... That is, frankly, a much less important question than this: what exactly is the IGDA supposed to stand for, and who does it represent?

As Edery notes, many IGDA members are game industry employees and independent contractors while others are monied studio owners. Even the term game developer is used both individually, to describe workers and collectively, to describe studios. Edery wonders where the IGDA is headed:

If one takes for granted that the IGDA should derive its funding and authority from individual professionals as opposed to entities... then the obvious and most important question becomes: how can the IGDA attract enough individual members and funding to legitimately pursue its agenda...

Today, someone might be forgiven for thinking she has little reason to join the IGDA. Our industry’s most prestigious publications and conferences are operated by other organizations. Government lobbying is coordinated primarily by the ESA. And the IGDA’s membership benefits... are relatively limited in scope...

GP: At the most basic level, Edery seems to be asking: Is the IGDA a labor union or a trade association? The larger implication of that question, clearly, is whether game industry workers should unionize.


Comments

Re: Where Does the IGDA Go From Here?

 The IGDA is a professional association (like IEEE), which is different from a union and from a trade association.

A union represents employees when they are in contention with employers (negotiating labor contracts, etc).

A trade association is made up of businesses and represents them in certain industry-wide manners but mostly focuses on collaboration between businesses on things like industry-wide standards.

A professional association is a group that represents the individual people who belong to a certain profession -- as such, it often straddles the line between union and trade association!

Re: Where Does the IGDA Go From Here?

I have seen worker unions in Australia, and believe me they are horrible even at their best intentions.

There is nothing more worse than Left wing extremeists and Right wing extremeists and then you have Union extremeists.

Once you have all 3 of them, then you are in deep trouble when you try your best but you get constantly bullied and harrassed by people who don't even work on your site.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Where Does the IGDA Go From Here?

The IGDA is a trade association that wants to act like a union.  They did a lot of good things to push the quality of life issue 4 or 5 years ago by exposing it to the public so everyone had to face the reality of the problem.  Since then though, honestly it seems like there's been a lot of wheel spinning.

I remember the big question of that GDC when they first did the quality of life white paper the big question was should we unionize.  While I said back then that the obvious choice for a union would have been to form it around the IGDA, I remember quite a few people who didn't see them a capable of acting as a union.

I definitely think internally the remaining IGDA board members are concerned about the future of the IGDA.  I had to let my membership lapse this year because the dues came too close to Christmas, and a couple months ago I actually got an email from one of the board members asking me why I hadn't renewed.

Re: Where Does the IGDA Go From Here?

I personally really hope the IGDA never turns into a union. I think that would be really bad for the oranization.

I like how they are working towards the same goals as a union might, but without the threats of striking and the obscene demands. The IGDA wants to make life better for game developers and get them the recognition they deserve. They just want to do it through negotiation and debate, not threat of loss of income.

Unions did a lot of good when workers had very little rights and little political clout. But I don't think the games industry is in such a position at this time.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

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