Former IGDA Director Speaks Out Against IGDA

Former IGDA Director Speaks Out Against IGDA

IGDA logo

Darius Kazemi, a former director of the International Game Developers Association, says the organization is actually working against the best interests of game developers.

You might recall Darius Kazemi as the IGDA board member who resigned earlier this year over the controversy caused by the association's Game Developers Conference party, which featured female dancers in "skimpy" outfits that a number of attendees found offensive and demeaning. He only had three days left in his term but quit anyway, apparently deciding that the principle was too important to ignore even when the clock was so close to hitting zero. But yesterday, he revealed on his blog that there was more behind his decision to leave than just the GDC mess.

Kazemi wrote that during his orientation as a board member in March 2010, it was impressed upon him that his "primary duty" was "fiduciary responsibility to the organization." He said it made sense at the time, but he came to learn that it's actually very problematic.

"Fiduciary responsibility as a number one priority means that the most important thing for the organization is the continued existence of the organization. This means that any action we could take as an organization that carried any sort of significant risk of us losing a chunk of members (or god forbid, our corporate sponsorships) would be immediately shot down by a majority of board members with some variation of the refrain, 'My fiduciary responsibility to the organization prevents me from supporting this'," he wrote.

"What this translated to: anyone with an agenda that promoted anything but the status quo would be heavily challenged," he continued. "Even something relatively innocuous like, 'Instead of pointing out bad studios to work for, let's highlight some good studios to work for!' was cause for alarm because it would surely alienate a never-specified number of people whose memberships we couldn't stand to lose!"

Kazemi argued in the post that corporations like the IGDA in its current state because it gives developers a support organization without actually supporting their interests. The fix? Lose the IGDA. "If the IGDA disappeared, conditions for workers would not change materially, and in the long term, these conditions might even improve since energy would no longer be spent on an org that is structurally unable to engage in collective bargaining," he wrote. "Given the current state of the IGDA, by buying into the idea of 'fiduciary responsibility' to the organization as their primary duty, board members are working against the interest of the individual developers who pay dues."

"It is the fiduciary responsibility of IGDA board members to ensure that the organization continues to exist," he concluded, "but it is the moral responsibility of IGDA board members to ensure that it does not."

Source: Tiny Subversions

Permalink

Sounds to me like another reason the AAA game industry is going to implode soon. It sounds like if the pointless organization were to die it wouldn't actually take out any independent studios, so that's a relief.

Perhaps we could start a new one, but stock the board with guys like Edmund McMillen, Jenova Chen, maybe Notch

Sounds like corporations in a nutshell and is unsurprising.

Abomination:
Sounds like corporations in a nutshell and is unsurprising.

Actually, you can pretty much expand this to encompass organization with any level of bureaucracy. Whether the mission of the organization explicitly includes perpetuating it's existence or not, people running any kind of organization are going to make sure it keeps running and expand it's operations or scope in whatever way they can, regardless of what their actual job or professed mission is.

It's one of the big reasons we humans can't have anything nice.

Vivi22:

Abomination:
Sounds like corporations in a nutshell and is unsurprising.

Actually, you can pretty much expand this to encompass organization with any level of bureaucracy. Whether the mission of the organization explicitly includes perpetuating it's existence or not, people running any kind of organization are going to make sure it keeps running and expand it's operations or scope in whatever way they can, regardless of what their actual job or professed mission is.

It's one of the big reasons we humans can't have anything nice.

Right but the difference here is that it seems like continued existence is one of the only things the IDGA does. If their stated goals is along the lines of improving the gaming industry but it can't because anything it tries to do is too risky... well, that's a problem over and above other organisations perpetuating itself based on a provided product/service.

-Dragmire-:

Vivi22:

Abomination:
Sounds like corporations in a nutshell and is unsurprising.

Actually, you can pretty much expand this to encompass organization with any level of bureaucracy. Whether the mission of the organization explicitly includes perpetuating it's existence or not, people running any kind of organization are going to make sure it keeps running and expand it's operations or scope in whatever way they can, regardless of what their actual job or professed mission is.

It's one of the big reasons we humans can't have anything nice.

Right but the difference here is that it seems like continued existence is one of the only things the IDGA does. If their stated goals is along the lines of improving the gaming industry but it can't because anything it tries to do is too risky... well, that's a problem over and above other organisations perpetuating itself based on a provided product/service.

You are right, this one has taken it to the nth level of stupidity.

"We exist to ensure we exist!" is perhaps the least productive task one could create an organization for. It's like a human centipede that loops around on itself.

Yeah, enjoy that mental image.

The only way to have advocacy like this is to only accept donations no strings attached and stick to your guns. If it becomes a hired gun, well then it's either a failure or a success, depending on what the original objective was.

The status quo should be the original mission statement. If that mission no longer makes sense within the context of the wider world, then the institution should then be dissolved and then maybe reconstituted.

So this IDGA thing, is it some trade union that every game developer is required to be a member of or they'll face... whatever vague penalties one faces for not complying with unions? Actually I never understood how unions manage to ensure that non-union shops don't exist, short of employing Mafia-level "protection" tactics.

There's a counterpoint in the Facebook comments, but I'm not quite qualified enough to come up with discussion for it.

Steve the Pocket:
So this IDGA thing, is it some trade union that every game developer is required to be a member of or they'll face... whatever vague penalties one faces for not complying with unions? Actually I never understood how unions manage to ensure that non-union shops don't exist, short of employing Mafia-level "protection" tactics.

The IDGA is the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement.

The IGDA is the International Game Developers Association.

IGDA is a professional association, not a union, whose purpose is to facilitate networking and professional development for members. The IGDA proper is primarily responsible for managing the finances. However, the vast majority of the IGDA is comprised of all-volunteer chapters, run by developers and students alike, around the world who organize local events for people interested in their trade. These chapters receive little to no support from the IGDA proper and yet labor effectively to increase its membership revenue.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here