Game industry unions support nearing 50 percent, according to GDC survey

A recent GDC survey suggests that nearly half of all game developer support game industry unions. Of those who supported unionization, only a small percent actually thought the industry would unionize. A number of other statistics were also revealed in the GDC survey. reports that 47 percent of respondents to GDC’s yearly survey think the industry should unionize. Over 4,000 developers responded to the survey. Of those 47 percent, 21 percent said they actually thought the industry would unionize. Around 16 percent of the industry thought the industry should not unionize.

Game industry unions have been gaining support among developers as layoffs and closures are becoming all too common. Union advocates believe that worker unions can help employees collectively bargain and contend with management that often forces poor work conditions on employees. Crunch, unpaid overtime, and gender wage gaps have all been championed as issues unions can help workers contend with. Unions will not stop layoffs and closures from happening but can help ensure employees receive proper severance pay and notice.

A number of other interesting responses can be found in the GDC survey. Steam and digital storefronts were a big topic in the survey. Roughly half of the respondents said they sold products on Steam. At the same time, 32 percent of respondents thought that Steam’s revenue cut was not justified. Another 27 percent believe that Steam “probably” didn’t deserve its 30 percent revenue cut. Only 6 percent of respondents said Steam definitively said Steam deserved that cut.

Crunch and workload were also major topics in the survey. Of the respondents, only 44 percent reported working more than 40 hours per week on average last year and 27 percent said that they had worked at least one week that was 60 hours or more. Self-pressure was the main reason cited for overtime.

GDC 2019 runs from March 18 through March 22 in San Francisco. Expect more conversations about game industry unions, digital storefront revenue, crunch, and overtime from the Game Developer Conference.