Vodeo is the first union of certified game developers in North America

Workers at independent studio Vodeo Games have organized, giving North America its first-ever recognized game developer union. The union claims that Vodeo Games management voluntarily recognized the union and that 100% of eligible employees and contractors voted to organize.

This first studio unionization could be the first to come, at a time when fair and safe working conditions are at the forefront of the collective consciousness of the industry.

The union is called Vodeo Workers United and was formed with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), an organization that helps employees organize into unions. The union says the process was unconventional because the staff are totally remote and more than half of the union’s bargaining unit is made up of independent contractors. Vodeo is a very small studio, with only 13 employees listed on the workshop website.

Vodeo Games is also a fairly new studio founded by Threes creator Asher Vollmer, who just released their first game earlier this year. The game, Beast Breaker, is a turn-based RPG with pinball physics that launched last September on Switch, Mac, and PC.

Despite being the first game studio union in North America, Vodeo Games says it was inspired by other groups working to create better working conditions for video game developers, including ABbetterABK, which is made up of Activision Blizzard and King employees fighting for change.

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However, unlike reports of sexual harassment, unequal pay and other significant issues coming from Activision Blizzard, Vodeo employees say they are unionizing for other reasons. Talk to PolygonCWA campaign manager Emma Kinema said it’s because workers are invested in the success of the company.

“They don’t organize themselves because there’s a big, scary boss, like Bobby Kotick or someone else,” Kinema said. “They organize themselves because they care so much about the work they do, and they want to have more of a say in how it’s done, the conditions in which they work to create the games that they care about. heart.”

Vodeo Workers United tweeted similar sentiments, saying, “By ensuring that more workers like us have a protected voice at work, we can set a precedent for new industry-wide standards that will improve our common working conditions.” ”

Across the industry, studio workers are fighting for a better culture and better working conditions. Last week, IGN shared the story of Bungie’s fight for a better work culture. Bungie and Activision Blizzard are just two of many studios in the conversation about working conditions and culture; a roster that also includes the developer of Last of Us Part II Naughty Dog, the creator of Red Dead Redemption 2 Rockstar, and the developer of Cyberpunk 2077 CD Projekt Red. The severity of the news also differs greatly from studio to studio, with the huge issues from Activision Blizzard to Insomniac making headlines for managing to ship Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart “completely crunch-free.”

Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.