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Firewatch designer calls on devs to speak up to their governments

Campo Santo's Nels Anderson wants to see the game industry's concerns better represented in government, and he's gone so far as to launch his own local "voter mobilization and information initiative."

Campo Santo designer Nels Anderson wants to see the game industry's concerns better represented in government, and he's gone so far as to launch his own local "voter mobilization and information initiative" in Canada under the moniker #TechVoteBC

While Anderson's initial efforts revolve around Canadian politics, his concerns are worth highlighting for the global game industry because they're focused on overcoming common challenges like accessing federal funds for creative work, hiring skilled foreigners, or keeping the cost of living in check so that developers who want to start a family can afford to do so without leaving city centers or abandoning game development for more lucrative fields.

"Here in British Columbia there are more jobs in the tech/digital media industry than in forestry, mining and oil/gas extraction combined. Yet anyone paying attention to the election would certainly see that much more time has been spent discussing the resource industry than the tech industry," Anderson tells Gamasutra via email. 

"I think part of it is because other, older industries tend to be centralized into a smaller number of large companies and unions that have an established apparatus for reaching out to government. Our industry is younger, is still changing very dramatically from year to year and is made up of a lot of smaller companies."

Put simply, Anderson is lobbying for more game industry members to get out and vote. He argues that most governments aren't set up to deal efficiently with indie developers and small studios; they've been designed to deal with businesses that are old, established and large enough to have whole departments dedicated to taking care of the paperwork and meetings that are often required by government spending programs.

By having a more vocal role in the policy-making process, he reasons, game developers can help educate and improve their local governments and, eventually, make life better for themselves. 

"A huge part of this is just educating government about what the opportunities and challenges facing of our industry are," writes Anderson. "Government is going to make policy one way or the other and some of that policy will impacts us. I'd much rather that when that policy is being made, it's being made with our concerns in mind."

Of course, this is not a new concern -- for more perspectives on how government policy can affect the day-to-day life of game developers, consider DayZ creator Dean Hall's losing battle with the New Zealand government and a former Unity evangelist's efforts to ignite Lithuania's smoldering game industry.

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