Metrics regarding working conditions show marked improvement over a two year period, according to the 2019 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) conducted by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). Data surrounding families and wages suggest game developers feel supported enough to stay in the industry for longer while providing for children. Meanwhile, more companies have instituted anti-discrimination policies and crunch is on the decline.
However, other data suggests there is still room for further improvement, including lack of enforcement of anti-discrimination policies and many other factors that negatively affect the perception of the games industry.
Some key findings follow:
Careers and Families
- The number of respondents with children rose 6% in 2019 DSS (35% in total, up from 29% in 2017), and an overall increase in the age of game developers
- Additionally, 65% of respondents reported making over $50k per year, up 11% from 54% in 2017.
Crunch Reports from Respondents
- Job involves crunch time: 41% in 2019, down 10% from 51% in 2017.
- Works long or extended hours not classified as crunch: 35% in 2019, down 9% from 44% in 2017.
- Crunch is expected at their workplace: 42% in 2019, down 11% from 53% in 2017.
Presence of Anti-Discrimination Policies in the Workplace
- General non-discrimination policy: 71% in 2019, up 14% from 57% in 2017.
- Equal opportunity hiring policy: 61% in 2019, up 12% from 49% in 2017.
- Sexual harassment policy: 64% in 2019, up 16% from 48% in 2017.
- Fifty-nine percent of respondents felt these policies were not adequately enforced, with another 31% unsure; in the 2017 DSS, those figures were 56% and 34% respectively.
- Over half (57%) of respondents felt the diversity of the industry had increased in the past two years, up 15% from 42% in 2017.
Factors Believed to Negatively Influence the Perception of the Game Industry
- Poor working conditions: 73% in 2019, up 19% from 54% in 2017.
- Sexism among gamers: 72% in 2019, up 15% from 57% in 2017.
- Racism among gamers: 55% in 2019, up 15% from 40% in 2017.
- Sexism in the workforce: 54% in 2019, up 15% from 39% in 2017.
- Lack of overall diversity: 49% in 2019, up 11% from 38% in 2017.
- Racism in the workforce: 29% in 2019, up 12% from 17% in 2017.
Most Desirable Companies to Work For
- In 2019, the top companies people want to work for are Nintendo (10%), “My Own Studio” (6%), Ubisoft (6%), Blizzard (5%), Naughty Dog (3%), and Valve (3%)
- In 2017, the top companies were Blizzard (8%), Valve (6%), Nintendo (4%), and Bethesda (4%)
“The 2019 DSS results carry an empowering message: our industry on the right track,” said Renee Gittins, executive director, IGDA. “We’re seeing significant leaps in just two years’ time, but issues like unenforced anti-discrimination policies show we still have more work to do. The IGDA will use these results as a guide to continue our work to provide resources to help game developers all over the world have successful and – more importantly – sustainable careers.”
The full 2019 DSS Summary Report is available today on the IGDA DSS page, along with other recent DSS Summary Reports.
The IGDA 2019 DSS Survey was created and analyzed by: Johanna Weststar, Associate Professor, DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies, Western University; Eva Kwan, PhD Student, Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Western University; and Shruti Kumar, MSc Candidate, Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Western University; with assistance and guidance from John R. J. Thompson.