International Game Developers Association

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International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
IGDA logo.png
Formation1994;25 years ago (1994) (as Computer Game Developers Association)
FounderErnest W. Adams
Type 501(c)(6) organization
Focus Computer Games and Interactive Media
Area served
Over 12,000
Executive Director
Jennifer MacLean
Chair of Board of Directors
Vesa Raudasoja

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]

A professional association seeks to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest. In the United States, such an association is typically a nonprofit organization for tax purposes.


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.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

A nonprofit organization, also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view. In economic terms, it is an organization that uses its surplus of the revenues to further achieve its ultimate objective, rather than distributing its income to the organization's shareholders, leaders, or members. Nonprofits are tax exempt or charitable, meaning they do not pay income tax on the money that they receive for their organization. They can operate in religious, scientific, research, or educational settings.


Ernest Adams in 2010. Ernest Adams - Game Developers Conference 2010.jpg
Ernest Adams in 2010.
When I joined the CGDC board in 1991 ... all of the other members at the time were developers with several years' experience who were used to this ... However, none of that really mattered until the Congressional investigations that started up after Mortal Kombat came out. At that point it became clear to me that the game development community needed a voice.

—Ernest W. Adams, "Living the Dream: Let's Get Together", The Escapist .

<i>The Escapist</i> (magazine) American video game magazine

Escapist Magazine is an American video game website and online magazine. First published as a weekly online magazine by Themis Media on July 12, 2005, The Escapist eventually pivoted to a traditional web journalism format and became well-known for a roster of popular video series.

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 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is an international learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947, and is the world's largest scientific and educational computing society. The ACM is a non-profit professional membership group, claiming nearly 100,000 student and professional members as of 2019. Its headquarters are in New York City.

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]

Kate Edwards American geographer

Kate Edwards was the executive director of the International Game Developers Association from December 2012 to June 2017. She is a geographer, writer and content culturalization strategist, most active in information-based cartography and video game content. Edwards spent over a decade working in various roles at Microsoft, creating the Geopolitical Strategy team and working to evaluate and manage geopolitical and cultural content in software products. After leaving Microsoft she founded Englobe as a consulting firm engaged in content culturalization and strategy, primarily for the video game industry.

An executive director is a chief executive officer (CEO) or managing director of an organization, company, or corporation. The title is widely used in North American non-profit organizations, though many United States nonprofits have adopted the title president or CEO.

Gordon P. Bellamy is an American video game executive. He has over 19 years of experience and leadership in the interactive entertainment industry. Gordon was the Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association from August 2010 until July 2012.

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 April 2019, the IGDA appointed Lucien Parsons 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]


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:

Past events


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]

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  2. "IGDA Relaunches with New Member Benefits." International Game Developers Association. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
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