Gaming Uber Alles, Year Three

Gaming Uber Alles, Year Three
Ten Things That Don't Suck About the Game Industry

Jason Della Rocca | 8 Jul 2008 08:32
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The IGDA's own Production Special Interest Group started the Leadership Forum as an event specifically geared towards project management and leadership. This is an area that has progressed a great deal in recent years, and is explored in more depth in Erin Hoffman's recent Inside Job column "It Takes a Method."

8. Quality of Life
OK, maybe this one doesn't quite belong on the list, as working conditions and poor quality of life for many developers remains a serious challenge. That said, we're more aware of the issue than ever before, and there are growing efforts to address it. Certainly, the above work to improve production processes are helping to alleviate some of the pressure, but the biggest results are coming from wholesale changes to how a studio is set up and lead.

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Those studios with good quality of life - or at least the ones who work to alleviate the pain associated with occasional development crunch through overtime pay and other support systems - are leveraging their advantages to attract and retain top talent. I can only imagine that Relentless' without-crunch clock (1,706 days and counting!) is seen as an indicator of a competitive advantage. And industry leaders are recognizing the value of enabling their staff to live outside of work, as quoted by design legend Eric Zimmerman: "We push our designers to have a life. ... Designers with interesting/rich lives outside of games, design better games."

9. Credit and Recognition
Each year, the game industry gets closer to having a truly TV-worthy awards ceremony. And while celebrity for celebrity's sake isn't that valuable, it's important for us to recognize developers for their contributions to the art form. In that regard, it's great to see the specific individuals behind the work recognized via industry awards like the Game Developers Choice Awards and the AIAS's Interactive Achievement Awards.

On a more operational level, the fact that the IGDA's own credit standards initiative has garnered so much interest and support is an important step in ensuring that all developers receive fair credit for their efforts, and are viewed as the true talent they are.

10. Social Impact
I am a firm believer in the transformative power of games and play, and that videogames have the power to make the world a better place. Whether through the pure joy of playing with friends or deliberate attempts to impact society, games are affecting us.

On the deliberate side of the scale, the whole serious games movement has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. Examples like A Force More Powerful (to counter oppressive government regimes), Re-Mission (to help cancer patients) and Civilization (teaching history in the classroom) really make you stop and wonder at the amazing power game developers wield to help humanity.

Yeah, that sure doesn't suck.

Jason Della Rocca is the executive director of the International Game Developers Association. (Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the IGDA.) He still seems to suck a lot at his personal blog, Reality Panic.

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