Jen MacLean, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, answers questions from IGDA member Livio De La Cruz.
What are some of the major challenges in running an international association?
You find your empathy, creativity, and problem-solving skills are tested in ways you would never believe. We serve members on six continents, in emerging markets and in well-established industry hubs, all of whom face different challenges. We spend significant time looking for common areas of concern where we can make a big impact, but we also work closely with each chapter to be sure that we’re offering benefits that are valuable from South Africa and South Australia to Switzerland and San Francisco.
The opportunities to not just make the world more fun but also make it better and safer are limitless for game developers right now.
In this age of free professional networking groups and social media, how does IGDA help professionals see the value in paying for membership?
With more than 150 chapters and special-interest groups around the world, our components are an important part of how we interact with members. But we offer other benefits and tools to help game developers succeed in every stage of their career, from discounts on game-development tools to ongoing education.
What is one big industry trend that has been on your mind lately?
I’m excited by the chance game developers have to create amazing experiences in virtual and augmented reality that aren’t just used for play but also for learning and improvement. We can apply game design principles to VR-based training for doctors and nurses, instruction on common challenges like public speaking, and even simulations for astronauts. The opportunities to not just make the world more fun but also make it better and safer are limitless for game developers right now. It’s empowering to know your industry is helping to drive such powerful change.