By now, you’ve likely heard comments about a party the IGDA co-presented Tuesday, 26 March, during GDC week. We deeply regret that the IGDA was involved in this party as we do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people. And that happened at this event.
Moving ahead, the intent of this blog post is to state how IGDA as an organization will conduct its participation in industry events from this point forward. Following are the ground rules – whether at GDC, E3 or any other conference:
The IGDA will offer “networking events” as its primary focus, not “parties.” Building a community and providing networking opportunities are part of our core mission, and we want to create activities that provide that opportunity, and to do that in a way that will be appropriate and enjoyable for everyone.
The IGDA will always encourage inclusion and diversity at our events. We want to ensure that everyone present feels comfortable because the activities are appropriate and respectful of the diversity of our membership. If our membership ever finds that’s not the case, we want and expect them to be vocal about their concerns – first and foremost to the IGDA leadership (starting with me at firstname.lastname@example.org via email or IGDA_ED via Skype).
The IGDA will be vigilant (far more vigilant than in the past) when choosing to partner with another organization. If we do decide to partner, sponsor or co-present, we will attempt to have comprehensive oversight of the entire event’s content from end-to-end.
The IGDA recognizes and will honor local cultural differences amongst its global chapters. Undoubtedly, some chapters will decide they prefer a classic “party” to a “networking event,” and may have activities which are local to their region. We respect these differences, but still fully expect chapters to uphold the IGDA’s values of inclusion and diversity, regardless of the type of event and locale.
For events not associated with the IGDA, we have decided on the following actions:
Event Guidance: With the help of a membership advisory group to be assembled, the IGDA will draft recommendations for how game industry companies and organizations can be more inclusive and stage productive events, while still remaining fun. These recommendations will be voluntary, but we hope that companies will be interested in utilizing these guidelines. Some companies are already following a positive approach.
Walk Out and Talk Out: We realize that leadership must start at the top, therefore I personally am pledging to follow a “walk out and talk out” policy in relation to game industry events. Quite simply, if I attend an event and find the content to be contrary to the IGDA ideals, regardless of the potential value of being present, I will leave the venue. However, I won’t do so without informing the sponsors/organizers of my reasons for walking out – both at the party and afterwards. I will always be respectful in my feedback; organizers are far more apt to listen to constructive recommendations over reactionary words. I’m hoping if enough people join me in this approach, companies and organizations will realize that the time for change has come. We all need to work toward an environment that’s respectful of all people, all groups.
The IGDA exists to support the needs of developers and advocate on their behalf. In the big picture, conference parties are a small aspect of our greater growth and professional development, but they’re a flashpoint for demonstrating values that are either oppressive or progressive.
Our humanity makes us prone to mistakes, but that does not diminish our resolve to be a force of change. I hope the IGDA membership will rise to the challenge, and keep working together to help our industry reflect the reality of our diversity, whether it’s at events, in the workplace or in the games we create.