A while back Riot settled a gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit for $100 million. The lawsuit brought up cases of sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, retaliation, and constructive dismissal.
I’m pretty sure – actually I’m convinced – that this type of behaviour does not only exist, I would also argue that most likely, it is fairly common in many game companies. I don’t think I’ve worked at any larger company where this does not exist in some form, nor have I heard from any women at other companies that they don’t have that type of behaviour at their studios. Paradox released a report last year (I think) outlining discrimination, bullying and harassment. I doubt there are any studios that are not struggling with these types of issues.
To be honest, I’m not sure the studio would even see it as a struggle or an issue worth putting money and resources on. Every place I’ve worked with over 100 employees has cared very little about prioritizing diversity and inclusion. If they have done anything it is usually along the lines of asking already overworked employees from marginalized groups to deal with systemic issues, and more often than not, those systemic issues have been wrapped neatly in individual responsibility. “How to handle sexual harassment” “what can you do to lower your stress”. As if both those issues are the responsibility of the person it happens to, and not the person(s) that make it happen.
This is what most HR-people will say, or rather, that is my experience of what HR has told me. At A Certain Studio the running commentary – apart from me being singled out as a “problem” because I spoke and will continue to speak openly about these issues on social media – was “are you sure it’s not just you?”. I love gaslighting. It really brings out the best in an organization.
In addition to these pretty severs issues, there’s also the ever present lack of structure and organization and a resistance to organizational changes that I find quite interesting. Someone should do a study on why the games industry in particular is so very recalcitrant when it comes to updating processes and working efficiently.
I have a suspicion that I’ve spoken about this before. The misconception that in order to be truly creative, you have to be without limitations. Frameworks and processes are often seen as limiting.
This is not a true statement. Process does not limit creativity. What it does limit is indecisiveness and dragging of heels.
It also limits the opportunity to treat people as goods and wares, where most of the bullying and harassment comes in. No structure allows people to be exploited, which is something the games industry has a penchant for doing.