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IGDA Developer Satisfaction Survey highlights DEI deficiencies and crediting confusion

The latest data indicates DEI policies aren't being adequately enforced and suggests crediting practices need formalizing.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 3, 2024

3 Min Read
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The latest IGDA Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) indicates game studios are struggling to adequately implement and enforce anti-discrimination and crediting policies in the workplace.

The survey is the result of a partnership between the International Game Developers Association and Western University, and is based on data provided by 777 respondents between May 17 to October 20, 2023.

On a broad level, respondents expressed discontent with how Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives are being implemented in the workplace. Crediting practices were another area of concern.

Digging into the data, 28 percent of respondents claimed their workplace had no EDI programs in place, while only 38 percent said their employer had implemented a formal complaint procedure for EDI issues.

Although the majority of developers said their company had policies covering general non-discrimination (72 percent), equal opportunity hiring (61 percent), and sexual harassment (62 percent)—only 43 percent actually felt those policies were being adequately enforced.

"According to the DSS respondents, a growing number of studios have non-discrimination, sexual harassment, and equal opportunity hiring policies. Fewer have formal complaint processes or disciplinary processes for EDI issues," reads the full report. "Very few have systems to track retention of people from underrepresented groups, retain diverse talent or foster diverse applicant pools. As we celebrate successes, there is more room to improve."

IGDA calls for game companies to formalize crediting policies

The 2023 report marked the first time questions on crediting practices featured, and only 48 percent of respondents claimed their studio had an overt crediting policy in place. 24 percent said no such policy existed, and 29 percent said they didn't know either way.

Despite that uncertainty, 71 percent of respondents expressed confidence they would be properly credited on their current project. However, that percentage decreased when respondents were asked to consider what might happen if they exited their role before their contract ended or the project has shipped. With those caveats in place, only 41 percent of respondents felt they would be credited.

Respondents who work as freelancers or contractors were asked extra IP-related and crediting questions. Everyone in this sample group said they worked for hire on an IP owned by their employer or client. 77 percent of this sub-group claimed their name was included in the game credits, but 13 percent said they did not receive a credit.

Overall, the IGDA says the data shows that many companies' crediting practices may be "opaque and ad hoc," with developers seemingly placing their trust in their employer to have some kind of process in place even when they can't be certain that's the case.

"The new data on game crediting practices is also informative and supports additional advocacy from groups such as the Game Credits SIG to encourage studios to formalize and make transparent their crediting policies and to expand them to include contract workers and workers who may leave the project before its end," adds the report.

You can find a concise breakdown of the 2023 Developer Satisfaction Survey on the IGDA website.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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