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Game Workers Unite International calls for better support for staff impacted by the COVID-19 crisis

"People [...] are going through hell right now."

The Game Workers Unite International organisation has issued a statement damning some video game development studios for a lack of consistency and support for developers and staff impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

In a statement posted to the organisation's Twitter page, GWU said there was a "huge disparity" between different roles across different parts of the world and intimated some staff were "going through hell right now".

In response to some of the anonymous stories received by the organisation reporting layoffs and forced unpaid leave, the group is now calling for the standardisation of "flexible working hours, universal health service for all, fair sick pay, rent freezes and a more sustainable way of making games and games' hardware too".

"Yes, video games are and will be a crucial source of joy and entertainment for millions of people right now, during this difficult time," the organisation wrote. "Yes, we encourage that, we support that - games are there to release pain, inspire cooperation, increase bonding between different generations, or sometimes, and that's okay, just to pass time.

"And yet - there's a huge disparity of job security between different roles, between different parts of the world. Even if most devs and artists are safe, the people that are making the games' production and release happen are going through hell right now - QA testers, event organisers, hardcopy packaging and retailer staff, workers maintaining servers or shipping of the games, let alone the incredible carers of our office spaces - cleaners, caterers etc. We are hearing stories of layoffs and forced unpaid leave in these sectors and want to encourage everyone to use their voices to call out the companies and regions that are doing this.

"After this crisis, nothing will be the same - for all workers we must demand: flexible working hours, universal health service for all, fair sick pay, rent freezes and a more sustainable way of making games and games' hardware too."

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Vikki Blake avatar

Vikki Blake


When​ ​her friends​ ​were falling in love with soap stars, Vikki was falling in love with​ ​video games. She's a survival horror survivalist​ ​with a penchant for​ ​Yorkshire Tea, men dressed up as doctors and sweary words. She struggles to juggle a fair-to-middling Destiny/Halo addiction​ ​and her kill/death ratio is terrible.

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