International Game Developers Association
International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is the professional association for over 12,000 video and computer game developers worldwide. It is incorporated in the United States as a non-profit organization. Its stated mission is "To advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community."
|Founded||1994(as Computer Game Developers Association)|
|Founder||Ernest W. Adams|
|Focus||Computer Games and Interactive Media|
In recognition of the wide-ranging, multidisciplinary nature of interactive entertainment, there are supposedly no barriers to entry.
The IGDA was founded in 1994 by Ernest W. Adams and was initially known as the Computer Game Developers Association (CGDA). Modeled after the Association for Computing Machinery, Adams envisioned the organization to support the careers and interests of individual developers, as opposed to being a trade organization, or an advocacy group for companies.
The need for a professional association for game developers was not apparent until the congressional hearings surrounding Mortal Kombat and other video game legislation became common in the 1990s. With legislation affecting the game development industry, the IGDA developed into a more organized voice for computer game developers as it merged with the Computer Entertainment Developers Association and grew from 300 members to over 12,000 members the next fifteen years.
The association as of July 2014 has been working with the FBI to deal with the on-line harassment of developers; Kate Edwards had been approached by the bureau at San Diego Comic-Con International.
Chapters are intended to provide an informal way to connect game developers within local communities. Chapters vary greatly in size and meeting attendance. They provide forums, for example, for discussions on current issues in the computer gaming industry and demos of the latest games.
Special Interest Groups, better known as SIGs, are intended to spark developer interest in a specific topics or disciplines. For example, the Game Education SIG has a stated mission "To create a community resource that will strengthen the academic membership of the IGDA while enhancing the education of future and current game developers." Some SIGs sponsor events, such as creating the Global Game Jam.
Committees are generally formed by the IGDA to conduct research into a subject, normally for a short period, leading to a single report. Some, however, are semi-permanent, and produce yearly reports. Some of these reports lead to gaming industry standards.
Aside from bringing game developers together, the IGDA focuses on the following issues present in the game development industry:
- Quality of life - making the process of game development easier and more pleasant for everyone.
- Diversity - ensuring that people from a wide range of backgrounds and their needs are represented in the game development industry
- Anti-Censorship - recognizing games as an art form, and as a medium of expression
- Business and Legal Issues - empowering the development community with business knowledge and advocating for developers
- Student and Academic Relations - setting curriculum guidelines, enhancing collaboration between industry and academia and providing guidance to students wanting a career in games
The IGDA, through its chapters and SIGs, organizes hundreds of events for members of the game development industry including chapter meetings and meetups. However, there are larger events that are organized that bring IGDA's international members together:
- IGDA Summit - The IGDA Summit highlights the expertise, insights and experience of the global IGDA membership – from board members and staff to key volunteers and engaged members.
- IGDA Scholars Program - The IGDA Scholars Program is a program that awards promising students in game development and related disciplines passes to key conferences related to game development (e.g. Game Developers Conference and the Electronic Entertainment Expo) and includes mentorship from key members of the game development industry, opportunities to visit local studios or meetings with senior figures in the industry.
- IGDA Leadership Track at Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (SIEGE) - The IGDA Leadership Track at SIEGE will encompass a broad range of topics pertinent to the heads of game studios.
- Global Game Jam - Now managed by the Global Game Jam, Inc., the Global Game Jam is an event that organizes developers, artists and game designers to create games within a 48-hour period.
- IGDA Leadership Forum - Focuses on advancing the state of the art in game production and management, and encompasses a broad range of leadership topics relevant to game development.
During the GDC 2013 a party was hosted by co-presenters IGDA and the start-up incubator YetiZen. The event featured "at least three girls in white outfits–one was in a skimpy t-shirt one was in this weird furry get-up–dancing." Backlash over the presence of these female dancers resulted in the several people resigning in protest, most notably Brenda Romero from the IGDA's Women in Games Special Interest Group steering committee. On the day following the party IGDA Executive Director Kate Edwards issued an apology stating "We regret that the IGDA was involved in this situation. We do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people."
On November 20, 2014 the IGDA added a link to "A Twitter tool to block some of the worst offenders in the recent wave of harassment" to their Online Harassment Resources web page. However, due to the method of the list's generation several IGDA members including the Chairman of IGDA Puerto Rico Roberto Rosario were added to the list of harassers. These errors resulted in the IGDA removing the link to the tool on November 22.
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