Worker Advocacy Groups in the Games Industry
The popularity of video games has exploded in the last decade. Because of this, there is a greater variety of people playing games than ever before.
To keep up with the demand for great games, the industry is growing at a breakneck pace. That means lots of new people entering the industry and lots of changes to how those games are made.
Recent grassroots advocacy groups, along with longer-standing established ones, are working hard to make sure that everyone working in the games industry is treated fairly and that the diversity of the people working on games matches the diversity of those playing them.
We have compiled a list of all the advocacy groups in the industry and we will be updating it regularly as the industry evolves.
Game Workers Unite (GWU)
Founded in 2018, Game Workers Unite is one of the loudest voices currently trying to unionize the games industry. They are an international grassroots movement with 27 chapters around the world.
They seek to end the fair treatment of workers in the games industry through working with existing labor unions and organizations, as well as providing training, support, and resources for those looking to improve workers’ rights in the industry. All with the aim of building a unionized game industry.
International Game Developers Association (IDGA)
Founded in 1994 with the goal of giving employees a voice, they have since grown to an international organization with over 150 chapters that help support the careers of everyone working in the games industry.
The IDGA is one of the largest organizations in the industry and they use their resources and experience to provide the industry with educational content, surveys, legal advice, and much more. They regularly organize conferences and events and make a point of advocating with governments and game studios on behalf of their over 10,000 members.
They also have a large number of Special Interest Groups which focus on advocating for a wide range of issues from mental health and credit attribution, to the representation of LGBTQ+ diversity within the industry. For a full is of their SIG’s take a look here.
Safe In Our World
SafeInOurWorld.org, is an engaging and evolving worldwide hub for information, news, features, videos, and support related to all facets of mental health in the video game industry, including hero stories of key figures who have fought their own personal battles with mental illness.
The UK-based Safe in Our World intends to mobilize the video game industry in helping to promote the charity and its message, calling upon game developers and publishers to provide extensive mental health support for their employees.
Take This is a non-profit mental health organization trying to destigmatize discussion of mental health in the games industry and to increase support for those experiencing mental health challenges.
They do this by fostering discussion and offering training, resources and consultation in support of good mental health practices.
BAME in Games
Bame in Games is an advocacy group aimed at encouraging more diverse talent in the games industry, with a particular focus on Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic talent.
They hold regular meetups and they seek to act as a point of contact for companies and organizations that want to promote ethnic diversity in the games industry.
POC in Play
POC in play is a UK-based organization aimed at increasing the visibility and representation of People of Color in the games industry.
One of their more recent initiatives is a creative commons stock photo library, aimed at offering the “most diverse line-up of images representing people in a games studio environment along with several associated themes across gaming and tech.”
#RaiseTheGame is a UK-based movement that urges game studios to make a pledge to: Create a diverse workforce, to shape inclusive and welcoming places to work, and to reflect greater diversity in their work.
So far dozens of companies have made the pledge, including some of the industries biggest game studios like EA, Ubisoft and Square Enix.
The pledge involves making reports on how your company has been fostering diversity and what the outcome was. The result is that #RaiseTheGame post a large number of case studies on their pledge partners, which can offer some valuable insights into the reality of trying to make foundational changes in established companies.
Code liberation is a foundation that aims to teach women, nonbinary, femme, and girl-identifying people to program and get jobs in game development. They run classes and work hard to create a community where women can learn from each other and act as each other role models and support network.
They also have a research team which collect data from their classes and which they publish in science and education journals as a way of distributing their learnings to other educators.
Women In Games
Women In Games is a not for profit organization that is working towards ‘a games industry, culture and community free of gender discrimination, where full equality of opportunity, treatment and conditions empowers all women to achieve their full potential.’
Women In Games is partially funded by Patreon which you can donate to here.
Woman Making Games
Women Making Games is a UK-based organization that aims to give support and advice to women who are in the games industry or who are trying to get into the industry. Their mission is to ‘help women know their worth, and support them in building successful, long-lasting careers in games.’
#include <C++> Is a group of C++ developers who care about diversity and inclusion in the wider C++ community.
They provide resources to employers and conference organizers on how they can better encourage diversity and inclusion and they are currently in the process of organizing a scholarship for under-represented groups.
If you are interested in joining yourself, they primarily communicate and organize on discord.
Queerly Represent Me
Queerly Represent Me is an Australia-based non-profit research and consultancy organization that focuses on queer representation and company culture in the games industry.
They do so using a three-tier approach that focuses on representation, education, and elevation. They ‘aim to help individuals familiarise themselves with and access more texts that represent them, to educate individuals and companies using free resources and individualised consultations, and to help aspiring marginalised creators find the confidence to pursue successful careers.’
Out Making Games
Out Making Games is a UK-based community trying to connect and empower LGBTQ+ workers in the industry. Both through transforming policies and institutions, as well as by providing education. They also run events and partner with game jams as a way to raise awareness and to strengthen their community.
Many Cats Studios CIC
Many Cats Studios is a UK-based social enterprise that champions young people with disabilities to reach their true potential in the video games industry. They provide training to foster carers and social workers, as well as consultations for companies to help assess and improve their accessibility.
We hope you found this list helpful. We tried to make it as complete as we could but there are almost certainly more groups out there that we missed. If you know of any you believe deserve to be mentioned, let us know and we’ll take a look.