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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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, 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 ensure a professional standard of workplace environment for all development; and
  • To publicly establish and communicate our standards as media professionals.

This Code is divided into three sections: Principles, being basic ideals that all members of the IGDA commit to uphold; Workplace, being standards that all members of the IGDA acknowledge as rights for the facilitation of professional delivery and creativity; and Leadership, being 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 commit to a professional standard and as members of the IGDA agree to uphold and enforce it for ourselves and our peers.


Section 1: Principles

As individual developers, we commit that we will:

  • Promote equal access and opportunity for game developers around the world, without regard to race, gender, creed, age, sexuality, family status, disability, national origin, or other accidental quality; and in analysis, demeanor, and expression shall be alert to the sensitivities of groups and individuals;
  • Continually strive to increase the recognition and respect of the profession; uphold the integrity of our work and credit contributions where they are due, never representing another’s work as our own, or vice versa;
  • Present ourselves and our skills accurately;
  • Respect intellectual property rights;
  • Seek fair rights to ownership of content that we create;
  • Honor signed legal agreements in spirit and in letter;
  • Promote proper, responsible, and legal use of computing technology at our disposal;
  • Strive to create content appropriate for our stated audience, and never misrepresent or hide content from committees assigned to review content for communication to the public. Specifically, we will work strenuously to cooperate with and support local/regional ratings boards (the ESRB, PEGI, CERO, USK, etc.);
  • Strive to share knowledge even while protecting intellectual property for the growth of our peers as professional craftspeople and our industry;
  • Strive to promote public knowledge of technology and art and to promote the strengths of our industry in expanding the boundaries of art and science; and
  • Promote this code of ethics within our companies, with third-party contractors, and within the entire profession.


Section 2: Workplace

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

  • Workplace safety, including physical and mental safety and comfort, is a basic right for every developer;
  • Discrimination or the tolerance of discrimination of any kind, whether on the basis of race, gender, creed, age, sexuality, family status, disability, or national origin, harms us as professionals, limits our craft, and violates this Code;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Harassment of any kind, whether in a professional engagement or within the larger game development community, violates this Code and will not be tolerated; and
  • Game developers deserve fair and full protection from their employer against all forms of harassment, including harassment by a colleague, by a community member, or by another party.   


Section 3: Leadership

As leaders in our professional field, we commit that we will:

  • Understand that an informed and physically healthy workforce benefits game development on ethical, creative, and business levels comprehensively;
  • Be forthright in communicating information pertinent to the talent that we lead, and will never knowingly deceive those whom we lead;
  • Adhere to fair schedules and contracts, never committing to delivering more than we can reasonably achieve while maintaining standards of workplace quality of life;
  • Ensure that all employment agreements are fair and legal;
  • Provide for the health of our employees to the best of our abilities;
  • Uphold trust between ourselves and those we lead by ensuring confidentiality of legal documentation and private information;
  • Promote the growth of our industry by supporting the exchange of knowledge and ideas between developers for our mutual benefit;
  • Provide for the future of our developers and our industry by providing support for families and future developers and by acknowledging and respecting the value of our veteran talent;
  • Not engage in harassment of any kind, including unwanted physical contact or verbal or emotional abuse (both online and in person), nor tolerate those who do; and
  • Ensure to the best of our ability the mental and physical well-being of those whom we lead, maintaining the 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.”