Game devs react angrily to ESA’s support of government tax proposal


Last week, the Entertainment Software Association, the video game trade association you probably know best from its stewardship of E3, released a contentious statement praising the tax reform proposal currently before congress, claiming the bill will “energize tech sector innovation and economic opportunity. For the $30.4 billion US video game industry, which employs more than 220,000 people all across the United States, the pro-growth policies introduced will incentivize greater US investment and more high-quality American jobs.”

And while the large gaming publishers repped by the ESA might be comfy with that position, it didn’t go over well with actual game developers, including some MMO devs, who reacted loudly on twitter (twice) in rejecting the ESA’s position as being representative of or beneficial to workers.

“20 year game industry veteran here,” Riot’s Greg Street wrote (you’ll remember him from his tenure at Blizzard). “You don’t represent my views. Like at all.”

“14 years in the industry, 13 shipped games, and I’ve never given this joke of a company the right to speak for me,” posted Riot’s Jo Graylock. “Total garbage.”

Indeed, some argued it’s bad for gamers too. “While I believe @theESA wants to be a force for good, plan hurts future devs + Real growth comes from players’ ability to afford games,” Trion Worlds’ Scott Hartsman tweeted. “Not to mention that it’s also not current-dev friendly. Appears very anti-everyone-but-big-corp-owners. More than a bit mystified.”

As Gamasutra summarizes, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, if passed, would significantly reduce the corporate tax rate while also reducing or eliminating a multitude of tax breaks for future home owners, veterans, the chronically ill, and students. The publication also notes that corporations like game publishers would be under under no compulsion to spend their newfound savings improving wages and the working conditions of actual developers, generating industry stability, or creating new jobs. The proposal currently has just 35% popular support across the US.

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