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The Society of Professional Game Developers: Our Vision

Jim shoots for the moon with inflammat'ry screed that's less than a charter but more than a creed.

James Cook, Blogger

July 12, 2009

5 Min Read

The Society of Professional Game Developers:Our Vision

Games are a form of universal language. Everyone, from children to the elderly, plays games in one form or another. Games are a part of our shared history and heritage, and the elements of gaming, from risk to success and failure to the stories we tell thereof, inform every aspect of every culture in every stage of history. We, the professionals who develop games, have the unique privilege of informing gaming itself.

All too often, we find ourselves consumed by the flaws inherent to the process by which we develop and produce the games that entertain and educate billions of people around the world. The relative novelty of our format, that of electronic games, has left us open to abuse and exploitation by selfish interests, both within and without our industry. As the inheritors of a legacy that started with cave art and proceeded through theater, literature, and film, we have a responsibility to use our power wisely and well, to enrich the lives of the innovators who make up our ranks, to benefit the communities of which we are a part, and to safeguard the reputation and future of our industry and the effect it will have on the future of our world.

To this end, we, the Society of Professional Game Developers, devote our efforts to educate, advocate, communicate, and advance the art and science of making the games that will help chart the course of Humanity itself. Whether we are visionaries, artists, engineers, administrators, or champions, we all have a shared responsibility-- to ourselves, to our community, and to the societies that allow us to transform our dreams into a vocation that has profound influence on our world.

The technology we use as a matter of course in our pursuit of game development and production also gives us the tools we need to create a new way of making games. We now possess the means to communicate instantly with anyone around the world, to create and improve our professional abilities, to evaluate and mentor our peers, and to transmit the fruits of our efforts to other developers and to the consumers who are educated and influenced by the games we create. The Internet, social networks, professional development resources, and elements within the games themselves may be harnessed to create a self-sustaining and evolving framework that:

connects industry professionals of all disciplines and levels of experience

establishes and maintains an objective, self policing, peer-reviewed system of reputations and achievements for individual professionals, studios, and publishers

creates an organic method of identifying and mentoring new talent, while reinforcing and improving the skills of existing developers

provides a means of crediting each and every developer for their efforts-- in their specialty, for their studies and mentorship, and for their contributions to the industry and to their communities

promotes transparency and the development of professional ethics through peer influence and anecdotal evidence without fear of retaliation

safeguards the individual developers, the studios, and the publishers from fraud, waste and abuse at all levels, through peer review, advocacy, education and community censure

fosters an environment where flexibility, accountability, adaptability, leadership and professional pride triumphs over desperation, hierarchy, autocracy, and complacency

informs developers of laws and legislation, as well as emergent technologies and social trends that affect the individual and the industry as a whole

provides defense, advocacy, and resources for developers, studios, and publishers who face crisis situations-- legal counsel and defense, job placement assistance, family counseling, health care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, disaster relief, and economic factors both inside and outside the industry

creates a clearinghouse for intellectual properties, crediting developers with new ideas and fresh concepts, and provides atelier services for studios and publishers

informs individual developers on pay scales and salaries in the industry, while allowing studios and publishers to work co-operatively with individual developers to establish compensation policies that enrich everyone—from the contract tester to the publishing executive

defends the industry from harmful media exposure, political/religious crusades, and other interests that strive to profit by harming public and consumer perception of the industry, through education, advocacy, and legal defense

promotes awareness of how games inform culture and society, and how, through games, to inspire and influence positive social trends in our lives, our industry, our communities, our environment, and in our world.

Historically, efforts to organize unions and protective associations within the games industry have failed, whether through complacency, fear of retribution, or outright persecution from those too afraid of what an organized, educated and informed industry can do. We face a challenging time ahead of us-- economically, socially, and environmentally. We already struggle to survive economic failures brought about by abuses of organizational systems that are poorly suited to represent individuals and their well-being, to say nothing of businesses or communities. It is time to act-- now-- before we are engulfed by the problems we should have faced earlier, but failed to.

We bring the dreams, myths and stories of our time to life. We educate, inspire, and inform millions of people. Our innovations set the standard for entertainment. Together, we can use this powerful influence to make our world a better place. To this I pledge my professional and personal future.

Are you with me?

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