Everywhere but Nowhere: Development Experiences of the International Game Developers in Finland during the Covid-19 Pandemic and Remote Work

Solip Park, Annakaisa Kultima, Miikka J. Lehtonen, Jeanine Krath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic has influenced people's views on work, and a significant portion of the global game industry converted to remote work during the pandemic. To explore the status of game development in this pivotal moment, we have conducted semi-structured interviews with 27 immigrant/expatriate game developers ("game expats") in Finland analyzing their migration push and pull on societal, industrial, social, and individual factors. The results indicate societal and industrial factors simultaneously influencing game expats' migration intention, but with an increasing influence of game corporation's role on developers' both on-the-job and off-the-job embeddedness due to an absence of (local) community activities during the pandemic. The data also reveals that game developers are valuing the physical workspace for face-to-face interactions, despite the industrial norm of digital tools and seamless transition to remote work. Furthermore, an alarming stratification and hierarchization within the game industry were identified, which game developers self-dividing in-house versus outsourced workforce even if they were both required to work remotely. This paper contributes to game studies on game developers' experiences as an attempt to investigate the local context of game development. It is also one of the first snapshots of game work practices in Finland during the Covid-19 era.
Original languageEnglish
Article number233
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Game Developers
  • Development Experience
  • Expatriation
  • Remote Work
  • Covid-19

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