Why the Hell Don’t Game Developers Have a Bill of Rights?

I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t work in the game industry. I’m a writer for a website that hasn’t even been up for a year, and one that most people have never heard of. I’m also not a game developer: again, I don’t claim to be anything more than a writer. But that shouldn’t stop me from being able to speak about things I personally disagree with. With the recent emails coming out from Team Bondi’s employers about their work conditions, I think that it’s about time that game developers as a whole should be treated fairly.

So why the hell don’t game developers have a Bill of Rights?

Oh wait, they do! It’s right here. Eric Zimmerman wrote it six years ago as an article on Gamasutra. But it’s about time the whole games industry embraced it and installed it as something to actually treat employees by. The worst management cannot possibly produce the best work. Team Bondi presented gamers with a wonderful product, but one made by overworked and undercompensated employees.

I don’t want to hear “that’s life” or “there are worse things” or “it’s not that bad” or anything even remotely like that. Of course there are worse things than this. That doesn’t mean that, as gamers, we shouldn’t help these people. Especially because these people do something as important as make the games we play. Gamers helped Allison Theus with her surgery. Gamers help people all the time. Not that I am comparing game developers’ problems to a physical disability or sick kids, but still, why can’t we stand up for the people that are actually making the things we say we adore so much?

Another possible argument is that this isn’t indicative of the industry as a whole. Not all or even most developers are like Team Bondi or (comparatively speaking) the old EA, or Rockstar San Diego or the others. Should that stop us from supporting it, or stop the ESA or IGDA from implementing it or at least parts of it? Absolutely not. Will it take time and money to enforce? Probably very little, especially if it’s “not indicative of the industry as a whole”. But wouldn’t it be worth it? Wouldn’t it be worth it to make a true attempt to ensure that everyone that makes games is treated fairly in the workplace? As a more direct benefit to you, wouldn’t it be worth it because as was pointed out in the Team Bondi emails, it would mean that our games would be better?

Again, I’m not a game developer, I don’t know their situation. But if there’s anything that I feel should be stood up for, it should be the rights of the people that make the games we play, the games we cherish, and the games that have changed our lives and given us thousands of hours of entertainment. If you’re going to stand up for something – and call yourself a gamer – why don’t we stand up for the people who are making the damn games?

One Response to “Why the Hell Don’t Game Developers Have a Bill of Rights?”
  1. ------------------- says:

    The Internet needs a Bill of Rights, not game developers.

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