Board Talk – Ed Fries for June 2014

30 June 2014

fries_160x160The question we board members get more than any other is “Why should I join the IGDA?” Why indeed? We can make the financial argument that the dozens of discounts for software and events will pay back your dues many times over throughout the year. We can appeal to your sense of “doing the right thing” for the industry by describing our many efforts in “advocacy” such as our recent public stands against copyright abuse in the King case. But I want to talk today about a slightly more subtle but no less important benefit: being part of the worldwide community of game developers through the IGDA.

Let’s face it, all of us are busy people. We love our jobs and when we are working hard on something cool (which is hopefully most of the time) we are pretty focused and heads down. It’s times like these that the benefits of being part of the IGDA community can seem pretty distant, perhaps even a distraction. But take it from someone who has been around this industry since I published my first game in 1982: Things change.

In the decades I’ve been involved in games I’ve seen everything you can imagine. I’ve seen the fall of a huge part of our industry as happened in 1984. I’ve seen the rise of regions like China to become incredibly influential. I’ve seen young testers grow up to become famous game designers. More recently I’ve seen Free To Play, digital distribution, and mobile devices rewrite the rules for our business entirely. In short, what I’ve seen is change, and if anything, the pace of change is accelerating.

People have to navigate that change. People like you. You may not think you need to know the guys at the game studio across the street, or on the other side of town. But when things change and you find yourself trying to figure out what to do next, you will wish you did.

We are lucky to work in a business that is not directly competitive. If one game succeeds it doesn’t mean another will fail. Our real competition is the difficulty of making a great game and helping it to find its audience. Even when I was running Microsoft’s Xbox first and third party businesses I had close friends at Nintendo and Sony, and those friends have helped me in the years since I left.

Community can be fun during the good times, but it is essential during the bad. The people I’ve seen enjoy the longest and most successful careers are those who stay connected with their peers. People who treat everyone with respect. People who share openly with the community. People who help others. People who understand that their competitors one day may very well be their teammates the next.

Be a part of the larger game development community. The IGDA can help.

Ed Fries, Treasurer
IGDA Board of Directors