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October 22, 2017
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Is IGDA Membership Worth It?

by Philip Athans on 11/14/11 11:26:00 am

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutraís community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


I’ve been a member of the International Game Developers Association for almost a year now, and for the first several months, I freely admit, I pretty much ignored it. I scanned the occasional email, didn’t go to at least two local get-togethers, and so on. Finally I realized, hey, wait, I did pay for this, and surely I’m missing out on something: networking opportunities, fresh knowledge, professional contacts, and even actual paid consulting work. I need more of all those things, so I decided to make the IGDA a “to do list item.”

I went on the web site and updated my profile—which was already sadly out of date. But first of all, every time I go to log on I have to reset my password. Is this something I’m doing wrong? I haven’t tried to contact anyone at the organization for help. This might require only some simple fix, and I guess I could add that to my to do list. But still, it feels like a bad sign.

Once logged in, a couple months ago, I went on this little spree of joining groups. So far I have communicated in a meaningful way with one of the eight groups I joined, and “meaningful” may be stretching it. I posted in a discussion thread entitled “Where is Everybody?” and heard from three other people, one of whom I’d met at E3. They were very nice, but served mostly to point out that that group was pretty much inactive.

This morning I logged back on (changing my password again and still unable to change my profile photo) and ran through those eight groups. The most recent activity of the eight was from this past August 27th. One other had some activity—some new blog post, at least—in August of this year. Two more had some activity (though very little) in 2011: January and June. One has been inactive since May of 2010 an another since August of 2009. The last two were completely blank.

The health insurance isn’t available in the state in which I live.

I know that organizations like this are only as valuable as the effort you put in, and truth be told I could, conceivably, take on a leadership role in one of these groups, but what about the other seven?

And if I do spend valuable time and effort volunteering, is there anyone out there who would listen?

This post might sound like a blanket criticism of the IGDA, but I truly don’t mean it to be. I’m sincerely asking the question, in an entirely non-rhetorical way: Is it worth it?

—Philip Athans

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