Workers at Vodeo Games have unionized to create the first certified video game studio union in North America. This union includes both full-time employees and contracted workers. Vodeo Games was founded this year by Threes creator Asher Vollmer. The studio developed Beast Breaker, a turn-based, mouse-bouncing RPG that combines pinball physics with careful resource management. It was the first game released by Vodeo Games, and the studio plans to release one video game every year. They describe their games as “small, intimate games that you can curl up with and completely lose yourself in”, but at the same “full of complex, interlocking systems that can take years to fully master.”
Workers at the company are working 100% remotely. There are 13 employees and contracted workers spread across both the United States and Canada. Vodeo Games United is the name for this new union. “We were really inspired by what a lot of our colleagues were doing in the game industry and the tech industry and beyond — Voltage Organized Workers, United Paizo Workers … there was a lot going on,” Vodeo Games designer Carolyn Jong said. “It felt like a natural next step for us to be talking about, ‘Hey, maybe we should be unionizing,’ and help set a positive precedent for the digital games industry as well.”
Vodeo Game is the first officially recognized video game union in North America, following the steps of United Paizo Workers and Cards Against Humanity Workers United, which were the first tabletop gaming unions. There has been an increase in gaming unions around the world, such as Paradox Interactive workers in Sweden and Nexon workers in South Korea. The need for workers’ union also increased over the past few years in North America as studios began to deal with accusations of workplace misconduct. Chris Floyd, the game director at Vodeo Games, said Vodeo workers wanted to create fair conditions at a studio where they love to work. These are all signs that the video game industry is on the way to claiming a more important role in the society.