Labour issues are quickly becoming the norm in the gaming industry. Layoffs, walk-outs, crunch, poor labour conditions and abuses of power are just a few of the ongoing issues that have been reported over the past few years.
Cultural Workers Organize brought together a panel recently to explore some of the different approaches to alleviating the ongoing stresses that game workers face. The July 17 event was held at 32 Lisgar and hosted by Toronto Media Arts Centre.
Austin Walker, an Editor of VICE Games and the host of the podcast Friends at the Table, led the event. Before his career as a critic, he studied the intersection of play and labour at the University of Western Ontario, where he was a research associate in the Digital Labour Group.
The other panelists were games industry researcher Johanna Weststar; Jennifer R. Whitson, whose research centres on game developers, digital media surveillance and social influences on software development; animator and experimental game designer Sagan Yee, who is Executive Director of the video game arts not-for-profit organization the Hand Eye Society; Dan Joseph, an organizer with Game Workers Unite Toronto, CWA Canada/Canadian Media Guild organizer Katherine Lapointe; and Tannara Yelland, who was co-founder of the Vice Canada union drive.