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Greetings from the New IGDA Executive Director

Posted By Jen MacLean, Monday, September 18, 2017

It’s easier to become a game developer than it has ever been, but it’s also harder to build a sustainable, long-term successful career as a gamedev. The IGDA must address the challenges facing game developers around the world, and help every person with the interest and aptitude to make games succeed.  Advocacy and event discounts are helpful, but aren’t enough to help developers conquer the hyper-competitive environment and proliferation of new platforms that make game creation such an exciting and difficult career.  I’m excited to lead the IGDA as it re-focuses its mission on giving developers worldwide what they need to succeed.

Since I was 7 years old, when I received an Atari 2600 for Christmas, I’ve been passionate about video games.  One of the proudest moments of my childhood was sending away the picture of my Pitfall high score, and receiving my certificate of achievement and patch from Activision.  When I discovered the Infocom text adventures, and read the mini-biographies of the developers of the games, the people involved in creating these experiences became idols to me: rock star equivalents,  far beyond the aspirations of mere mortals.

And then, through a bit of luck, I became a game developer myself.

Once I entered the industry, I quickly learned that as much as I love games, the people who make them are even better.  Over the time I’ve spent in the industry, I’ve volunteered with the IGDA at every level, supporting chapters and Special Interest Groups, serving on the Board and, eventually, as Chair, joining the organization as a Lifetime Member, and speaking at multiple IGDA Leadership conferences.  Now, the IGDA is at a crossroads, and, with our Board of Directors and Director of Operations, we’re taking immediate steps to make our organization a more powerful, more impactful resource for game developers everywhere.

We have an amazing, passionate membership of creators around the world, and over 190 Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) who make a profound difference in their communities.  We’ll be focusing more energy and resources on supporting those groups, and on highlighting the work they do.  We’re also adding new member benefits that help game developers learn new technologies, explore new platforms, and continue to develop their professional skills.  And we must do a better job of supporting game developers who start, or work at, independent studios.  Over the past few years, the game industry has seen its “mid-tier” studios, with 100-300 developers, diminish significantly.  These studios are the juggernauts of the future industry, and it benefits game developers everywhere to have the IGDA more actively support small- and medium-size independent studios and their employees.

The IGDA always wants to hear from our members on ways we can better support you, so please contact the organization with your suggestions.  We share the same goal: a thriving industry where creators can successfully, happily make games that bring powerful emotions to people around the world.  I hope you’ll join me, and the IGDA, in supporting that goal and our mission.

Tags:  ED  IGDA  IGDA Foundation  Jen MacLean  Update 

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