Core Values & Code of Ethics

Core Values

These core values are the IGDA’s essential and enduring tenets. They are timeless guiding principles that require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to the IGDA and its members.

Community

We cultivate opportunities for our members and advance the profession when we communicate with our peers. We value inclusion and diversity as it makes us stronger, wiser and more relevant. We empower ourselves when we share information and opinions, collectivize resources, and advocate on issues that concern us. We value the traditions and history of this community.

Professionalism

Game development is a bona fide profession dependent on the skills of talented individuals. As development professionals, we espouse conduct that is honorable and ethical and beneficial to the profession, the industry, and society at large.

Expression

Games are an expressive medium worthy of the same respect and protections as movies, literature, and other forms of art and entertainment. We oppose any effort that would treat games differently from other forms of art and creative expression.

Innovation

We embrace and support continual innovation as being central to the medium of games, the game development profession, and the IGDA.

Leadership

The IGDA provides leadership in addressing current and future issues affecting our profession. The IGDA's role includes advocating publicly on issues that concern members and creating opportunities to empower its members. The IGDA provides leadership development opportunities for our members. For an individual member, leadership means taking ownership, being a role model, and contributing to progress.

Impact

Games and play are a major element in cultures around the world, with profound artistic, social, spiritual, and technological impacts. They change the world in numerous ways, such as entertaining, enhancing learning, inspiring creativity and innovation, and forging new social connections.

Fun

We are a community with a playful and fun culture in an industry based on creating stimulating experiences for others. Games engage and entertain. Fun is in our DNA and we embrace that.

Code of Ethics

As creators of interactive media, we, the members of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), recognize the importance of the effect of ideas conveyed through art, and especially the effect of ideas presented in an interactive choice-driven format. As professionals we here establish a Code of Ethics with the following objectives:

  • To promote the growth of our industry and the growth of creative endeavors;
  • To cultivate a welcoming and supportive community of game developers;
  • To advocate for game developers and ensure their voices are heard;
  • To emphasize the role of empathy in understanding diverse perspectives and experiences;
  • To foster inclusivity among game developers, studios, and games.

This Code is divided into four sections: 

  • Principles (IGDA Members): Basic standards that all members of the IGDA commit to uphold;
  • Principles (IGDA Volunteers and Leaders): Expectations of ethical behavior and conduct from volunteers within the IGDA;
  • Workplace Standards: Standards that all members of the IGDA acknowledge as rights for the facilitation of professional delivery and creativity; and 
  • Industry Leadership: Standards for management and leadership of development studios at all levels of the IGDA.

A Code of Ethics is only as strong as the willingness of its members to uphold it. In establishing this Code, we, the members of IGDA, commit to these professional standards and agree to uphold and enforce them for ourselves and our peers.

Section 1: Principles (IGDA Members)

As individual developers and members of IGDA, we commit that we will:

  1. Continually strive to increase the recognition and respect of the profession by:
    1. engaging respectfully with other people;
    2. upholding the integrity of our work;
    3. attributing credit to whom credit is due; and
    4. representing our work and our contributions honestly;
  2. Present ourselves and our skills accurately;
  3. Respect intellectual property rights and adhere to fair and reasonable practices related to ownership and protection of IP;
  4. Seek fair rights to ownership of content that we create, and ensure honest and accurate crediting of works created by us and others;
  5. Honor signed legal agreements in spirit and in letter;
  6. Promote proper, responsible, and legal use of computing technology at our disposal;
  7. Strive to create content appropriate for our stated audience by working strenuously to cooperate with and support local/regional ratings boards (the ESRB, PEGI, CERO, USK, etc.), and never intentionally misrepresenting or hiding content from committees assigned to review content for communication to the public;
  8. Uphold a professional standard of workplace environment for all development;
  9. Work towards publicly establishing and communicating our standards as media professionals.
  10. Strive to share knowledge even while protecting intellectual property, for the growth of our peers as professional craftspeople and our industry;
  11. Strive to promote public knowledge of technology and art, and the strengths of our industry in expanding the boundaries of art and science.
  12. Promote this code of ethics within one’s company, with third-party contractors, and within the entire profession.

Section 2: Principles (IGDA Volunteers and Leaders)

In addition to the commitments for individual members listed above, all IGDA Volunteers and Leaders (e.g., Chapter Leaders, SIG Leaders, Coordinators, IGDA Headquarters) are expected to uphold the following standards of ethics:

  1. Act with grace and respect when engaging with others from a position of authority;
    1. Uphold the spirit of inclusion and collaboration when managing conflict;
    2. Create, encourage, and uphold welcoming spaces that promote psychological safety and well-being;
    3. Power or authority stemming from one’s position within the IGDA should not be used for personal gain; 
  2. Be willing to receive feedback from mentions or reports of violations to the Code of Ethics, and enforce reasonable measures to ensure community members adhere to the Code.
  3. Understand the significance of adhering to ethical standards, especially for volunteers and leaders with social influence and prominence, and advocacy work and activities.

Section 3: Workplace

As professionals committed to excellence in our field, we hold that:

  1. Safety is a basic right for every developer, and your actions should maintain workplace integrity, including physical and mental well-being;
    1. Maintaining awareness of how your actions and words are perceived while adhering to workplace standards set forth by leadership;
    2. Empowering team-driven efforts in maintaining safety at the workplace 
  2. Discrimination or the tolerance of discrimination of any kind, whether on the basis of race, gender, creed, age, sexuality, family status, disability, national origin, and seniority (e.g., industry experience), harms us as professionals, limits our craft, and violates this Code;
  3. For the integrity of ourselves as professionals and as a professional organization, we will be aware of and adhere to all local laws in the region in which we operate, unless there is an overwhelming ethical conflict in so doing;
  4. Fair treatment for developers at all levels, whether full time, part time, temporary, or student employees, is required for our operation at a professional standard.

Section 4: Industry Leadership

As members of IGDA, we may at times assume leadership roles within the industry. As leaders in our professional field, we commit that we will:

  1. Understand that an informed and physically healthy workforce benefits game development on ethical, creative, and business levels comprehensively;
  2. Be forthright in communicating information pertinent to the talent that we lead, and will not knowingly deceive those whom we lead;
  3. Adhere to fair schedules and contracts, and not commit to delivering more than we can reasonably achieve while maintaining standards of workplace quality of life;
  4. Ensure that all employment agreements are fair and legal;
  5. Provide for the health of our employees to the best of our abilities;
  6. Uphold trust between ourselves and those we lead by ensuring confidentiality of legal documentation and private information;
  7. Promote the growth of our industry by supporting the exchange of knowledge and ideas between developers, for our mutual benefit;
  8. Provide for the future of our developers and our industry by providing support for families and future developers, and acknowledge and respect the value of our veteran talent;

Ensure to the best of our ability the mental and physical well-being of those whom we lead, maintaining highest standards of workplace quality of life.

IGDA Inclusivity Policy

The IGDA expects its members, including associated chapters and special interest groups, to adhere to this policy and universally apply it to their communities, events, and interactions:

“We value inclusion and diversity as it makes us stronger, relevant, and more successful. As a membership association, the IGDA represents and advocates on behalf of all individuals in the video game industry. We fully support equality in the workplace, cordial respectful communications, safe social interactions, and an environment that reflects fairness and mutual respect throughout the industry.”