Over the last two years, many major gaming companies have been called out for being toxic environments for workers. Activision/Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Bungie have all been hit with these kinds of accusations.
In each case, employees accused human resources of not taking their claims seriously. And for these workers, the HR department was their last resource.
That would change, however, if the workers were unionized. But unions in gaming companies have previously been unheard of in North America. That changed his week as the workers at Vodeo Games created the region’s first video game studio union.
Vodeo is best known for their game Beast Breaker, and is now working on their second title. Designer Carolyn Jong told Polygon:
“We were really inspired by what a lot of our colleagues were doing in the game industry and the tech industry and beyond – Voltage Organized Workers, United Paizo Workers … there was a lot going on. It felt like a natural next step for us to be talking about, ‘Hey, maybe we should be unionising,’ and help set a positive precedent for the digital games industry as well.”
Video game director Chris Floyd also weighed in, saying, “We’re looking at the wider industry, and all of us were aware of how necessary these kinds of steps are for our industry.”
The team lays out their set of beliefs on the company website. They read:
- Depth and accessibility are not mutually exclusive
- There’s no such thing as an apolitical game
- Game development should be sustainable
- Game development should be playful