North America has its first certified video game studio syndicate at Vodeo Games, the independent developer founded earlier this year by Threes creator Asher Vollmer.
Vodeo Workers United will soon begin contract negotiations after being voluntarily recognized by studio management. Vodeo released its first game, Beast Breaker, a strategy and puzzle game featuring various anthropomorphic animals, in September. Vodeo is made up of around 13 employees and contractors who all work remotely. Video Workers United has partnered with Communication workers of America, and more specifically the Campaign to organize digital employees, for the union.
Video games describes its titles as “cozy-crunchy” and declares on its website that the studio is made up of developers united around a set of beliefs such as “game development should be sustainable” and “game development should be fun “.
Talk with PolygonVodeo Game Director Chris Floyd said Vodeo workers seek to ensure a level playing field in their studio by forming a union, but also want to set an example for other game studios considering unionization .
“We are looking at the whole industry, and we were all aware of the need for these types of measures for our industry,” said Floyd. “Looking around, it’s really obvious. “
While video game studio unions are more common in other parts of the world, such as Europe, unions are still struggling to gain traction in many North American studios. But that could change. An ongoing strike among some Activision Blizzard employees in response to layoffs at Raven Software has also led to organizing efforts at the company. These efforts follow multiple investigations and lawsuits relating to an alleged culture of sexual harassment and discrimination at Activision Blizzard.
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