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IGDA Releases 2021 Developer Satisfaction Survey in Partnership with Western University

18 Oct 2021

Importance of Diversity Contrasts Lack of DEI Reporting Policies

SAN FRANCISCO – Oct. 18, 2021 – The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has released its 2021 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) in partnership with Western University and sponsored by Facebook Gaming. Composed of data provided by 803 respondents between February 15 and April 12, 2021, the 2021 DSS provides insights into areas of growth, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement throughout the games industry.

Diversity ranks among the most critical topics, with the highest number of respondents indicating that it is “somewhat” or “very important” in the DSS’s 17-year history. However, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)-related practices across the industry need improvement, as data suggests all-time lows regarding equal treatment and opportunity for all people in the game development industry.


Some key findings below:

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

  • 87% felt that diversity in the workplace was important
  • 89% felt that diversity in game content was important
  • 90% felt that diversity in the game industry was important
  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents felt that the industry had become more diverse in the last two years; down from 57% in 2019

Presence of Anti-Discrimination Policies in the Workplace

  • Over half of all respondents note company policies directed at increasing EDI; 69% report a ‘general nondiscrimination policy,’ and 60% report a ‘sexual harassment policy’
  • However, only 38% of workplaces had a formal complaint procedure for EDI issues, with only 28% including a formal disciplinary process
  • 41% of respondents felt that the above policies were adequately enforced in the workplace (down from 59% in 2019)
  • Nearly three quarters (74%) responded ‘no’ when asked if there was equal treatment and opportunity for all within the games industry, with 14% indicating they were not sure; a decline from 65% answering ‘no’ in 2019.

Crunch Reports from Respondents

  • One-third of respondents indicated that their job included crunch time, down from 41% in 2019
  • Works long or extended hours not classified as crunch: 22% in 2021, down from 35% in 2019
  • Among those who experienced crunch, 58% of employees, 64% of freelancers, and 63% of the self-employed had crunched more than twice in the past two years; up from 35% reported in 2019



 Respondents identifying as women: 30%, up from 24% in 2019

  • 25% of respondents fall within the ages of 30-34
  • Three-quarters of respondents identify as White/Caucasian or European (81% in 2019)
  • Reports of disabilities: 29% of respondents identified as having one or more disabilities


“In order to produce high-quality games in a sustainable and consistent manner, we as an industry need to foster and cultivate the talent available to us. No one should ever avoid or leave our industry because they feel unsupported or unwelcome,” said Renee Gittens, executive director of IGDA. “Acknowledgement of these areas of weakness, particularly with hard numbers to support them, is key in taking the steps to amend these problems. Some of these results should be disheartening, but empowering.”

The full 2021 DSS Summary Report is available today on the IGDA DSS page, along with other recent DSS Summary Reports.

The IGDA 2021 DSS Survey was created and analyzed by: Johanna Weststar, Associate Professor, DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies, Western University; Eva Kwan, PhD Candidate, Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Western University; Shruti Kumar, PhB Candidate, Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Western University; Trevor Coppins, PhD Candidate, Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Western University; and Ezgi Inceefe, Honors Student, DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies, Western University; with assistance and guidance from John R. J. Thompson.


For more information, follow the IGDA Twitter and IGDA Facebook or join the IGDA Discord.



Logos, Headshots, and DSS 2021 Infographics


About the International Game Developers Association (IGDA®)

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is the world’s largest nonprofit membership organization serving all individuals who create games. The mission of the IGDA is to support and empower game developers around the world in achieving fulfilling and sustainable careers.

As an international organization, the IGDA is a San Francisco, CA.-based 501(c)6 non-profit professional association and a global network of collaborative projects and communities of individuals from all fields of game development – including programmers and producers, designers and artists, as well as writers, business people, QA team members, localization experts, and everyone else who participates in any way in the game development process. The IGDA brings together developers at key industry conferences, and in over 150 Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs), to improve their lives and their craft.

For more info, please visit www.igda.org.


Media Contacts

Ray Porecca / Kaylah Humphrey

Stride PR for IGDA

raymond@stridepr.com / kaylah@stridepr.com

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