International Game Developers Association

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is a nonprofit professional association[1] whose stated mission is to "support and empower game developers around the world in achieving fulfilling and sustainable careers."[2]

The IGDA is incorporated in the United States as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. It has over 12,000[3] members from all fields of game development. In recognition of the wide-ranging, multidisciplinary nature of interactive entertainment, everyone who participates in any way in the game development process is welcome to join the IGDA.

International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
IGDA logo
Formation1994 (as Computer Game Developers Association)
FounderErnest W. Adams
Type501(c)(6) organization
FocusComputer Games and Interactive Media
Area served
Over 12,000
Executive Director
Jennifer MacLean
Chair of Board of Directors
Vesa Raudasoja


Ernest Adams - Game Developers Conference 2010
Ernest Adams in 2010.

The IGDA was founded in 1994 by Ernest W. Adams and was initially known as the Computer Game Developers Association (CGDA).[3] Modeled after the Association for Computing Machinery, Adams envisioned the organization to support the careers and interests of individual developers, as opposed to being a trade organization, or an advocacy group for companies.

The need for a professional association for game developers was not apparent until the congressional hearings surrounding Mortal Kombat and other video game legislation became common in the 1990s. With legislation affecting the game development industry, the IGDA developed into a more organized voice for computer game developers as it merged with the Computer Entertainment Developers Association and grew from 300 members to over 12,000 members the next fifteen years.[3]

In December 2012, Kate Edwards was appointed executive director after Gordon Bellamy, the previous executive director, moved on from the position in July of that year to join Tencent.[4]

The association as of July 2014 has been working with the FBI to deal with the on-line harassment of developers;[5] Kate Edwards had been approached by the bureau at San Diego Comic-Con International.

In September 2017, Jennifer MacLean was appointed interim executive director[6] after managing the IGDA Foundation for more than a year. She was confirmed as permanent executive director in February 2018.


The Board of Directors is the governing body of the IGDA. In November 2018, the IGDA appointed Vesa Raudasoja as Chair of the Board of Directors[7] and Emily Greer as Vice-Chair.

Chapters are intended to provide an informal way to connect game developers within local communities. Chapters vary greatly in size and meeting attendance. They provide forums, for example, for discussions on current issues in the computer gaming industry and demos of the latest games.

Special Interest Groups, better known as SIGs, are intended to spark developer interest in a specific topics or disciplines. For example, the Game Education SIG has a stated mission "To create a community resource that will strengthen the academic membership of the IGDA while enhancing the education of future and current game developers." Some SIGs sponsor events, such as creating the Global Game Jam.[8]

Committees are generally formed by the IGDA to conduct research into a subject, normally for a short period, leading to a single report. Some, however, are semi-permanent, and produce yearly reports. Some of these reports lead to gaming industry standards.


Aside from bringing game developers together, the IGDA focuses on the following issues present in the game development industry:[9]

  • Quality of life - making the process of game development easier and more pleasant for everyone.
  • Diversity - ensuring that people from a wide range of backgrounds and their needs are represented in the game development industry
  • Anti-Censorship - recognizing games as an art form, and as a medium of expression
  • Business and Legal Issues - empowering the development community with business knowledge and advocating for developers
  • Student and Academic Relations - setting curriculum guidelines, enhancing collaboration between industry and academia and providing guidance to students wanting a career in games


The IGDA, through its chapters and SIGs, organizes hundreds of events for members of the game development industry including chapter meetings and meetups. However, there are larger events that are organized that bring IGDA's international members together:

  • IGDA Summit - The IGDA Summit highlights the expertise, insights and experience of the global IGDA membership – from board members and staff to key volunteers and engaged members.[10][11]
  • IGDA Scholars Program - The IGDA Scholars Program is a program that awards promising students in game development and related disciplines passes to key conferences related to game development (e.g. Game Developers Conference and the Electronic Entertainment Expo) and includes mentorship from key members of the game development industry, opportunities to visit local studios or meetings with senior figures in the industry.[12]
  • IGDA Leadership Track at Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (SIEGE) - The IGDA Leadership Track at SIEGE will encompass a broad range of topics pertinent to the heads of game studios.[13]

Past events

  • Global Game Jam - Now managed by the Global Game Jam, Inc.,[14] the Global Game Jam is an event that organizes developers, artists and game designers to create games within a 48-hour period.
  • IGDA Leadership Forum - Focuses on advancing the state of the art in game production and management, and encompasses a broad range of leadership topics relevant to game development.[15]


During the GDC 2013 a party was hosted by co-presenters IGDA and the start-up incubator YetiZen. The event featured at least three girls in white outfits dancing, one was in a shorter t-shirt, another in a furry outfit.[16] Backlash over the presence of these female dancers resulted in the several people resigning in protest, most notably Brenda Romero from the IGDA's Women in Games Special Interest Group steering committee.[17] On the day following the party IGDA Executive Director Kate Edwards issued an apology stating "We regret that the IGDA was involved in this situation. We do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people."[18]

On November 20, 2014 the IGDA added a link to "A Twitter tool to block some of the worst offenders in the recent wave of harassment" to their Online Harassment Resources web page.[19] However, due to the method of the list's generation several IGDA members including the Chairman of IGDA Puerto Rico Roberto Rosario were added to the list of harassers.[20] These errors resulted in the IGDA removing the link to the tool on November 22.[21]


  1. ^ "About the IGDA," paragraph 1. International Game Developers Association. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  2. ^ "IGDA Relaunches with New Member Benefits." International Game Developers Association. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Hoffman, Erin. "Living the Dream: Let's Get Together". Escapist Magazine. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  4. ^ Takahashi, Dean. "IGDA chief Gordon Bellamy joins Tencent". Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-08. Retrieved 2014-09-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "IGDA Appoints Jen MacLean Permanent Executive Director." International Game Developers Association. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "IGDA Appoints New Chair, Vice-Chair of Board of Directors." International Game Developers Association. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  8. ^ "IGDA Education SIG Spawns First Global Game Jam". IGDA. 23 Nov 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  9. ^ "Advocacy." International Game Developers Association. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2013-09-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "About the Scholarships". Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  13. ^ GamesPress. "SIEGE Adds IGDA Leadership Track for Game Devs". Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  14. ^ "About Global Game Jam". Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Welcome IGDA Leadership Forum Fans". Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Really? IGDA Party At GDC Brings On The Female Dancers". Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  17. ^ "IGDA draws backlash, member resignations over female dancers at GDC party". Archived from the original on 28 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  18. ^ "IGDA Responds to the GDC Party Faux Pas". Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  19. ^ "IGDA Online Harassment Resource". Archived from the original on 20 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Roberto Rosario - @siloraptor". Archived from the original on 26 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Kate Edwards (IGDA) - @IGDA_ED". Archived from the original on 26 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.

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