GDC 2022 survey shows that game developers are interested in unionization, not interested in NFTs

A majority want unionization, but no NFTs.

Image via GDC

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GDC published results from its annual State of the Game Industry survey on Thursday, which revealed that game developers are very interested in unionizing, but not particularly in NFTs.

Of the respondents surveyed, 55% answered “yes” when asked if game industry employees should unionize. GDC noted that his percentage was up from years prior, with 51% believing the industry should unionize in 2021.

However, only 18% of respondents believed that workers in the industry would unionize; 62% of respondents also stated that they had not discussed unionization at their studios.

When asked for their individual thoughts on unionization in the industry, developers delivered a variety of responses. “It’s desperately needed, the last year of headlines should prove that,” said one respondent. Some acknowledged that unionization might not be a cure-all for toxic working conditions at game studios, but stated that it would at least provide “a baseline for workers to challenge exploitation.” A minority of developers opposed unionization, with one claiming that “it [would] destroy games.”

Unionization is a hot topic in the video game industry. It’s generally posited as a potential solution to the toxic working conditions that have plagued multiple studios since the industry’s inception, such as crunch working hours and workplace harassment. Leaders at game studios have historically taken an anti-union stance. In late 2021, an Activision-Blizzard executive attempted to disrupt union negotiations via an email that contained anti-union rhetoric.

Related: What the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard buyout could mean for labor and monopolies in the gaming industry

Respondents were also asked questions regarding cryptocurrencies and NFTs, which many prominent game companies have recently taken an interest in. Interestingly enough, over 70% of respondents claimed that their studios had no interest in either cryptocurrency or NFTs. The majority of developers lambasted blockchain technology when asked for their thoughts on its place in the video game industry, with one describing it as a “pyramid scam,” and another citing the environmental impact of NFTs as a reason why games shouldn’t include them.

Big publishers, such as Sega, Konami, Ubisoft, and Square Enix have all recently taken an interest in NFTs. Konami infamously minted Castlevania NFTs as part of the franchise’s 35th-anniversary celebration, while Square Enix announced it would pursue NFT-related endeavors in a controversial letter published by the CEO. It’s worth noting Square Enix’s stock price surged by roughly 8% following the company’s endorsement of NFTs, which seems to suggest investors may be on board with the technology, despite fans and game industry employees’ criticisms of them.