In my 22 years as a game developer, I haven’t managed to make much headway in the industry at large. I’m still barely beyond senior1, I’ve seen countless very competent and skilled women leave the industry, I’ve barely met a Black, Latino, Asian, indigenous, mixed race, trans or non-binary person2 and most companies still consist of 70 – 80% white men.
We still have a hard time taking sexual harassment, harassment, epistemic injustice, racial injustice and just about any -ism you can think about that has to do with gender, ethnicity or sexuality seriously, except to seriously underestimate how badly these people are treated in the industry. The action plans that companies come up with are usually targeted towards the people on the floor, and we have no power compared to the leadership teams in the companies.
I’m trying so hard not to give up, but it’s hard.
At the same time, we need to fix this.
Why? Well, primarily because it’s the right thing to do, and secondarily because companies with primarily white men and no cultural divergence in them are usually not as profitable as equal, diverse and inclusive companies. Thirdly, because we as an industry are running stale. We’re not as good as we could be and I think everyone more or less knows that.
I just need a bit more energy. A bit more bravery. Keep going a bit longer. I know I’m not alone, but I also know so many women who have just gone “I’m noping out if this hellscape.” and left. Not because they are weak, but because contrary to me, they won’t take that kind of treatment.
I don’t know how many times people have told me “I don’t understand how you let them treat you that way.” The answer is “I don’t know, I’m afraid I’ll never land another job in the industry if I quit. I’m afraid I deserve it.”
I have no idea what this post is, except a call for help.
How do we fix the games industry? How do we change the minds of people? How do we create a place where everyone is welcome?
- We can attribute that to my lack of skill, we can attribute it to the unwillingness of managers to look at performance and potential, we can attribute it to sexism or whatever. We can attribute it to HR saying “are you sure it’s not just you?”
- Although the ones I have met I love dearly, because man, you struggle even more than I do sometimes and I wish I could help more and be more supportive of you. You deserve so much better.