IGDA to Set Standards for 'Networking Events' in Response to Flap Over GDC Party

"Parties" are out and "networking events" are in, under new guidance from the International Game Developers Association's executive director, responding to the blowup over a party at Game Developers Conference 2013 that featured scantily-dressed dancers.

"The IGDA will offer 'networking events' as its primary focus, not 'parties,'" Kate Edwards wrote in a bullet-point memo published yesterday on Gamasutra. Later, Edwards writes, "Undoubtedly, some chapters will decide they prefer a classic 'party' to a 'networking event,' and may have activities which are local to their region. We respect these differences, but still fully expect chapters to uphold the IGDA’s values of inclusion and diversity, regardless of the type of event and locale."

On March 26, IGDA co-sponsored a GDC party with a startup company called YetiZen, which featured dancers so inappropriately attired that two developers resigned positions within the IGDA over it. One of them, Darius Kazemi, apologized for not speaking up about partnering with YetiZen for this event, as the organization had drawn fire for a similar party the year before.

YetiZen, in a lengthy defense of itself, said the IGDA reviewed and approved the plans for the party and that Edwards herself approved the costume designs via email, a claim Edwards did not address in her memo.

Edwards wrote that the IGDA "will be vigilant (far more vigilant than in the past) when choosing to partner with another organization. If we do decide to partner, sponsor or co-present, we will attempt to have comprehensive oversight of the entire event’s content from end-to-end."

Furthermore, the IGDA will assemble an advisory group to draft recommendations for "how game industry companies and organizations can be more inclusive and stage productive events, while still remaining fun."

As for herself, Edwards said she will adopt a "walk out and talk out” policy. That is, "if I attend an event and find the content to be contrary to the IGDA ideals, regardless of the potential value of being present, I will leave the venue. However, I won’t do so without informing the sponsors/organizers of my reasons for walking out—both at the party and afterwards."

The entirety of Edwards' statement is at the link.

The Future of IGDA Events [Gamasutra]