In 2018, the game industry became bigger than film and music industries combined. Almost 70 percent of the US population plays games. Game developing companies employ millions of people around the globe, yet only recently were consumers confronted with the industry’s inner workings.
Mental health issues, divorces, unpaid crunch time and a host of other problems seem to be deeply rooted in the industry and, but little has been done to solve them.
“Games creation seems like this magical process that no one really understands. In reality, it is very close to a factory shop floor”, says Marijam Didžgalvytė, the chair of communications for Game Workers Unite (GWU), an organization that helps exploited workers and pro-union activists establish unions.
Marijam, herself a fellow Lithuanian who grew up playing videogames in local internet cafes ended up in London as an economic migrant of the 2008 financial crisis. In 2018, she started writing about the video game industry. Around the same time, GWU was starting to form in San Francisco and Marijam was quick to join their efforts.
“For me to begin to work in a space that combined my two passions – gaming and class war – just seemed like a very natural thing.” she explains.
“For me to begin to work in a space that combined my two passions – gaming and class war – just seemed like a very natural thing”
We talked with Marijam about the importance of unionization, whether unions will change the content of the games, and how an unapologetically leftist DNA of the movement can affect its image within the gamer community.
'Labour Rights in Esports', by Marijam Didžgalvytė
'Left Left Up', a video show by Marijam on the intersection of gaming, its communities and real-life events
'The games industry needs unions – and these are the people trying to make it happen in the UK', by Astrid Johnson, Eurogamer.net
'Videožaidimų pramonės spindesys, skurdas, profsąjungos ir gundymo politika', by Tomas Marcinkevičius, Gyvenimas per brangus