Most of Video Game Industry Open to Unionization

A recent industry survey suggests that crunch time (100-hour weeks leading up to game releases) and similar issues are why nearly half the employees in the game development industry are looking to become represented by a union.

The Game Developers Conference (“GDC”) surveyed almost 4,000 game industry professionals. Several survey questions addressed the time and labor spent developing a game. Almost half of the 4,000 people surveyed said workers should unionize, and another 26% said maybe, for a total of over 75% respondents open to the idea of union representation.

Respondents’ explanations for their answers focused on repeated unreasonable deadlines, ever increasing periods of crunch time, and a perceived commodification by the industry that treats programmers, writers, and artists as interchangeable cogs in the game development machine. Aren’t these some of the same reasons all employees in every industry seek union representation?

So, when half of the workforce says it is in favor of forming a union, that assertion should be a strong reality check for any company that may have previously dismissed the threat of a union as “too unlikely.” Hopefully employers who wish to remain union-free are implementing the right, positive-employee relations measures and engaging in appropriate union-free management training.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at