Game Workers and the Empire: Unionisation in the UK Video Game Industry

Ruffino, Paolo and Woodcock, Jamie (2020). Game Workers and the Empire: Unionisation in the UK Video Game Industry. Games and Culture, 16(3) pp. 317–328.



This article investigates some of the key debates that have emerged within the nascent union organising project Game Workers Unite, with a specific focus on its UK branch (GWU UK). The analysis is based on a period of participatory observation and a series of interviews with board members of GWU UK. This article evaluates Game Workers Unite (GWU) in relation to other recent attempts at unionising the game industry. It concludes that the strategies adopted to counter the hyper-visibility and individualisation of the game worker are key contributions of GWU in contemporary video game labour. This article draws on the work of Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter (2009) Games of empire: Global capitalism and video games to evaluate the historical specificity of GWU and the importance of the organisation for the contemporary video game industry.

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