Game development is a global industry not limited by borders. It doesn't matter where you're from as long as you enjoy Zelda, had a level 68 Charizard at some point and assembled Heart of the Oak in Diablo 2.
Sadly, that borderless approach to business and life in general isn't exactly on the rise in the world. Protectionism seems to be the political buzz word of our time, and in the US this is especially true after the election of president Trump. Which is already affecting the conditions of #VideoGame developers in a very tangible way.
Foreigners Can't Join GDC
From February 27 to March 3, the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the largest gathering of game creators in the world, takes place. It's heaven for creative minds, providing a place for designers to meet up, find inspiration and show off their latest creations.
This year though, some of the conference's regulars might very well end up missing it after being bared from entering the US in the wake of Trump's new immigration ban.
Which is of course absurd. Not only is it blatantly xenophobic, it also hampers the growth of a thriving industry. Two things that contradicts the very essence of the ideals that american society was built upon.
Good Guy Devolver To The Rescue
Luckily, the game developer community is a rather creative one and won't stand idle in the face of intolerance. GDC organizers offered to refund those affected by the ban, but now indie publisher Devolver Digital has come up with a more constructive solution.
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Devolver — which is behind indie titles like Hotline Miami and Downwell — is offering to feature the games of those unable to attend this year's GDC showcase. They're simply gonna put up as many PCs and HTC Vive VR units as they have room for in their "Devolver Underground" location and showcase the games they received from developers that were unable to attend.
Hats of for sticking it to the man (Trump) and showing true camaraderie under somewhat tyrannical conditions.
Together Against The Ban
Devolver isn't the only game developer that has spoken out against the immigration ban. Insomniac Games, the creator of Ratchet & Clank, has openly opposed the policy, while the studio behind Dots & Co and Two Dots has implemented a popup in-game which encourages players to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union.
They again join the choir of hundreds of other companies from different industries that are declaring their disagreement with Trump's new ban. And luckily, they're not all just indie developers and small time businesses. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said he "hopes the White House can be persuaded to rescind the order," while Google CEO Sundar Pichai and cofounder Sergey Brin spoke at an anti-ban rally in front of the company's offices in San Francisco.
Let's hope The White House listens.