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Press Release: The IGDA and Western University Release 2023 Developer Satisfaction Survey

2 May 2024

DEI, employment, crunch, credits, and demographics

SAN FRANCISCO – May 2, 2024 – The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has released its 2023 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) in partnership with Western University. Through the collation of data provided by 777 respondents between May 17 to October 20, 2023, this most recent DSS provides insight into growing concerns faced by games industry professionals

Respondents expressed discontent regarding topics including Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) efforts, employment, crunch, and proper crediting. The IGDA intends to align its upcoming advocacy efforts with the insights reflected in this survey.

Select key findings below:

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • 85% felt that diversity in the workplace was important (87% in 2021)
  • 85% felt that diversity in game content was important (89% in 2021)
  • 87% felt that diversity in the game industry was important (90% in 2021)
  • More than half of the respondents (58%) felt the game industry had become more diverse over the past two years. This is more in line with the DSS 2019 data (57%) after a low of 49% in 2021

Anti-Discrimination Policies in the Workplace

  • 28% respondents reported that their workplace had no EDI programs
    • Only 38% of workplaces had a formal complaint procedure for EDI issues, with 28% including a formal disciplinary process
    • Many said that their company had policies on general non-discrimination (72%), equal opportunity hiring (61%) or sexual harassment (62%). [69% report a ‘general nondiscrimination policy,’ and 60% report a ‘sexual harassment policy’ in 2021]
  • 43% of respondents felt that the above policies were adequately enforced, up from 41% in 2021
  • Close to three quarters (67%) stated there was not equal treatment and opportunity in the industry (74% in 2021)

Employment + Crunch Reports

  • In 2023, 10,500 game makers lost their jobs through layoffs
  • 4.8% of respondents indicated that they were currently unemployed
  • A majority of respondents reported relations between employees/contractors and management at their place of work were good (40%) or excellent (27%) as opposed to fair (23%) or poor (10%)
    • Employee respondents rated relations with management the most poorly with 35% selecting fair or poor, and 15% of freelancers selected poor relations
  • While most felt that their company was at least somewhat effective at resolving individual (57%) and group (49%) problems, one-quarter in each case felt their company was not effective at either
  • 28% said their job involved crunch time (33% in 2021)
  • 25% worked long or extended hours not classified as crunch, up from 22% in 2021
  • Those who experienced crunch, 63% of employees, 64% of freelancers, and 75% of the self-employed, had crunched more than twice in the past two years (58% of employees, 64% of freelancers, and 63% in 2021)
    • Many respondents, particularly freelancers, felt that crunch or long hours was expected as a normal part of their job


  • Less than half of the respondents (48%) said that their studio/company had a game credits policy
  • 71% were very confident that their name would appear in the credits for the title on which they were working
    • When respondents were asked to consider what would happen if they left the studio or their contract ended before the game shipped, this percentage dropped to 41%


  • 38% of respondents fall between the ages of 28-37, slightly older from 2021
  • 80% had attained a degree or diploma from a college, vocational school, or university
  • Respondents identifying as women: 31%, up from 30% in 2021
    • 8% of respondents identified as gender non-binary, gender fluid, genderqueer, or two-spirited
  • 63% of respondents are married or partnered, and 27% of respondents reported having children
  • 79% of respondents identify as White/Caucasian or European (up from 75% in 2021)
  • 58% of respondents work in the United States or Canada (NA)
  • 44% of respondents identified as as having one or more disabilities, up from 31% in 2021 

“The Developer Satisfaction Survey is a meaningful tool that helps games industry professionals identify what issues matter most among their peers,” said Dr. Jakin Vela, executive director of IGDA. “Identifying the critical issues highlighted in this report is the first step in moving forward as an industry, and as a community.”

The full 2023 DSS Summary Report is available today on the IGDA DSS page, along with previous DSS Summary Reports.

The IGDA 2023 DSS Survey was created and analyzed by: Johanna Weststar, Associate Professor, DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies, Western University; Ava Lentini, Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology, Western University; with research assistance from Jingyu Cui, Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences Western University; Jessica Baer, Department of Psychology Western University; and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant held by Marie-Josée Legault and Johanna Weststar; as well as translation provided by LocQuest Localization Studio and the work of Beatrice Ceruti, Crystal Yi-Tung Dawn, Eric Shen, Albert Wei, Julia Gstöttner, Yuri Tanaka, Guido Di Carlo and Aurélie Perrin.

For more information on the IGDA, follow the nonprofit on social media or join the IGDA Discord.



IGDA Press Assets

DSS 2023 Results and 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

Eliott Garcia / Haylee Kiedrowski

Stride PR for IGDA

eliott@stridepr.com / haylee@stridepr.com 

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