The video game industry has been shaken by many scandals for several years. Crunch, sexual and moral harassment, discrimination, there are countless testimonies that describe at least painful or even dangerous working conditions in certain development studios. To measure the magnitude of these disruptions in development teams, UNI Global Union conducted a survey in 29 countries with alarming results.
Harmful wages and working conditions
First observation on this to learn : Video game industry employees think they are underpaid. 66% of them say they are dissatisfied with their pay, more so in Europe. In the old continent, the question of salary is a problem for 77% of the respondents, more than anywhere in the world.
In addition to geographical distribution, the gaps in the profiles of industry experts are also growing. As such Localization specialists and testers are the worst off, with 94% and 83% dissatisfaction with their pay conditions, respectively.
But income isn’t the only reason for dissatisfaction among video game pros. 43% feel their social benefits are inadequate and their working hours excessive. Again, translators are the ones most to be pitied, with 63% of them denouncing excessive working hours versus 55% of producers and 47% of programmers.
Numerous and dangerous discriminations
In addition to wages and working hours, human relations are also at the heart of the industry’s problems. In the UNI Global Union survey 46% of the women interviewed point to problems of sexual discrimination. An essentially similar statistic for non-binary people (43%), but which stands out when we look at the major studios.
When developing AAA (Big Budget) games, women are involved 59% underlined the existence of gender discrimination and identify them as a real problem in their workplace.
pira, One in four women admits to having experienced sexual harassment. A danger that weighs even more heavily on the creators of AAA, as 40% of women and 27% of non-binary people cite it as a specific problem in their society.
Finally, there is also racial discrimination within the industry. However, perceptions vary by skin colour: 17% of white respondents believe that racial discrimination is an existing problem within their structure 28% of non-white people.
Unions: a first step towards a healthier industry?
The industry as a whole has a long way to go but is taking better care of its teams. Photography from the world of video games is hardly brilliant, but even in the study there is cause for hope.
Thanks to the general awareness of industry players, they work to make things happen. 79% of respondents are now in favor of establishing video game unions.
“This groundbreaking report reveals global trends of recurring employee dissatisfaction that make working in the digital entertainment industry unfair, unequal and unsustainable for many workers.”said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “Video game workers are coming to Berlin to send a strong message to the titans of the industry: It’s time to fight for our rights – we will unionize. “
In industry, too, unionization has taken its marching orders. Movements are afoot at Raven Software, an Activision Blizzard company, and other American development studios. A national union was recently formed in Australia with the aim of monitoring and improving the working conditions of video game professionals.
A movement that needs to be supported now so that developers can regain their weight against the companies that employ them. With the global trend towards industry concentration, with more mergers and acquisitions than ever before, there is a risk that workers’ rights will come under pressure. It is therefore important to unite and forming a union can be a solution to be better heard.