Organizing in the Game Industry: The Story of Game Workers Unite U.K.

Woodcock, Jamie (2020). Organizing in the Game Industry: The Story of Game Workers Unite U.K. New Labor Forum, 29(1) pp. 50–57.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1095796019893315

Abstract

The videogames industry is often talked about as a “new” or “young” industry. Compared to many existing industries it is, of course, comparatively new. However, the first videogame—the Nimatron—was made in 1940 and briefly featured at the World’s Fair. Programmers working for the military were hacking games onto computers in the 1950s; Spacewar!, made by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student Steve Russell, was being distributed across a predecessor of the internet in the 1960s, and arcade games were being launched by companies like Atari in the 1970s. Even if the latter date is the point from which videogames were really commercialized, the earlier examples demonstrate that the industry originated almost half a century ago. Following a brief overview of the videogames industry, this article focuses on workplace issues that have spurred organizing efforts among some workers in the industry.

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