Both Staged Bits and Speeches Highlighted a Desire for Unions
On Wednesday, the Game Developers Conference held the 19th annual Game Developers Choice Awards. This years coveted Game of the Year award was won by God of War. Though the awards and big names took center stage, the presence of Game Workers Unite could not go unnoticed. GWU is an organization that advocates for the rights of workers in the gaming industry. They may not have been directly on the stage, but a number of people in the spotlight of the Game Developers Choice Awards lent their voice to their cause.
The GDC coincided with the Independent Games Festival which also saw GWU presence. Its host Meg Jayanth used her opportunity to highlight a need for workers to be unionized. She and Night in the Woods developer Scott Benson both wore “UNIONS NOW” pins as part of their outfits. The biggest union act of the evening was probably from Double Fine’s Tim Schafer. At one point he said, “I’m not anti-union, but I don’t really think we need them.” After a little while, all the lights went out. Acknowledging that the lighting crew is unionized, the teleprompter started flashing “UNION! UNION! UNION! UNION! ONION!” Schafer closed by saying “I hear you. This is a union show. We’re better for it.”
We thought @betterthemask was an absolutely killer host. Dropping truth all night about the need to deroot white supremacists from our communities and improve our industry with worker power and collective action! pic.twitter.com/JRdCWnwgGI
— Game Workers Unite ✊🏿✊🏽✊🏾 GDC (@GameWorkers) March 21, 2019
For Tim Schafer to be part of this bit is interesting seeing as how Double Fine is not a unionized studio. Later in the event, Schafer returned to the stage. Over his suit, he wore a t-shirt and hat, both with the logo of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 16. This group is the union of the workers who are responsible for making the event possible.
Do you think AAA game developers should be taking steps toward unionizing? Let us know in the comments below.