Game developers' mental health to be the focus of international summit

Game industry employees face a lack of job stability, unclear career trajectories and increased burnout rates, report shows.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
Gaming console

Working with games isn't an antidote to job stress.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The International Gaming Summit on Mental Health, which takes place in Toronto on Oct. 9-10, will be the first event of its kind to focus on the mental well-being of game industry professionals. The summit is partnering with mental health nonprofit Take This, which will address how mental illness is represented in games and the mental health of gaming industry employees and even gamers themselves.

The summit coincides with World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10 and will delve into the unique struggles that gaming industry professionals face. Take This' State of the Industry 2019: Mental Health in the Game Industry report, released in July, shows that the game development career path isn't an easy one. It's fraught with long hours that can lead to burnout, anxiety and depression, job instability and unclear career trajectories. 

"To reduce burnout in the industry, management should minimize determinants, maximize protective factories and begin to change industry cultural norms around work environment and work hours," the study said. 

In addition, the industry lacks inclusion and diversity, according to the survey. Of all respondents, 19% identified as female and 32% identified as something other than Caucasian or European. Take This said the lack of diversity and inclusion likely contributes to hostile and challenging work experiences for developers.

"To increase diversity, companies should adopt new hiring practices and listen to the feedback from marginalized groups in the industry to support retention," the survey said.

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