Game Workers Unite: unionization among independent developers

Woodcock, Jamie (2020). Game Workers Unite: unionization among independent developers. In: Ruffino, Paolo ed. Independent Videogames: Cultures, Networks, Techniques And Politics. Abingdon: Routledge.



The rise of GWU has brought the question of unionization to the forefront in the videogames industry. There are many clear grievances that workers have, from the widespread use of crunch, lack of diversity, to precarious contracts. There are experiments underway to unionize large AAA studios, which have been the focus of most attention. However, there are important differences in the way that videogame production is organized, from larger AAA studios to much smaller indies. There are challenges to unionizing in this context, with little in terms of examples to learn from. This article examines union organizing strategies in small businesses, drawing on examples from other sectors. This includes SVEOD, a radical workers assembly of delivery drivers in Greece, exploring how different antagonisms beyond the individual workplace can be organized around. Despite the differences in the way that videogame production is organized across AAA or indie, the article stresses that no videogame is made only by one person. Interrogating the different connections within the industry provides an important way to understand how unionization could be successfully built in indie studios.

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