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Conditions for working in the games industry are improving, according to the IGDA

Sexism and racisim are still giving the sector a bad name
Conditions for working in the games industry are improving, according to the IGDA
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Work conditions in the games industry appear to be improving as shown by the results of the International Game Developers Association's (IGDA) 2019 developer survey.

One of the worst aspects of the games industry is crunch, something that many developers have complained about in recent years. However, the new survey shows a decrease of 10 per cent in crunch complaints from 51 per cent in 2017 to 41 per cent in 2019.

The survey did show that 42 per cent of respondents are expected to crunch in their workplace, but this is down 11 per cent from 53 per cent in 2017.

On top of that, the amount of developers earning at least $50,000 has grown to 65 per cent - it was at 54 per cent in 2017.

It's all in the policies

Since 2017, the presence of various policies in the workplace has improved across the industry. Equal opportunity hiring, non-discrimination, and sexual harassment policies are found at 71 per cent, 61 per cent and 64 per cent of workplaces respectively.

However, 59 per cent of the respondents felt that those policies are not being enforced adequately throughout the industry. A further 31 per cent were undecided on the matter, meaning only 10 per cent are satisfied with the policies.

Despite more than half the professionals deeming the policies as unsatisfactory, 57 per cent believe there is greater diversity in the industry.

Why so negative?

The games industry has got a bad wrap for several reasons, one of which is the poor working conditions - 73 per cent of respondents believed this to negatively impact the industry's image.

Sexism and racism amongst the players themselves have also impacted an outsider's view of the games sector. 72 and 55 per cent of professionals believe sexism and racism is making a negative impact respectfully. Furthermore, 54 per cent think that sexism in the workplace has painted the industry in a bad light.

Racism might not be considered to be as prominent in the workplace, but 29 per cent of respondents still believe it is responsible for how negatively the industry is perceived.

Simply the best

Nintendo was considered the best company to work for in the 2019 survey at 10 per cent. In joint second, Ubisoft and "my own studio" each had six per cent while Blizzard felt just short at five per cent. Closing out the top studios at three per cent each were Naughty Dog and Valve.

In 2017, Blizzard was considered the best company to work for at eight per cent, followed by Valve at six per cent. Nintendo and Bethesda also sat near the top with four per cent each.

"The 2019 DSS results carry an empowering message: our industry on the right track," said IGDA executive director Renee Gittins.

"We're seeing significant leaps in just two years, but issues like unenforced anti-discrimination policies show we still have more work to do. The IGDA will use these results as a guide to continue our work to provide resources to help game developers all over the world have successful and - more importantly - sustainable careers."