Kate Edwards became the International Game Developers Association’s executive director back in 2012. Over the last five years Edwards has worked within the organization to expand reach into various regions and countries around the world, including making connections in Egypt, Tunisia, Georgia and Bandgladesh, according to GamesIndustry.biz.
On June 30th, 2017 in a blog post, Edwards affirmed that the executive director role at the IGDA has come to an end.
In the post, Edwards stated that the job was always intended to last for just a few years, writing…
“To many people, this may seem like a sudden decision. But the reality is that when I began in 2012, I decisively told the IGDA’s board of directors that this would likely be a 3- to 5-year mission for me,” […] “When I reached the end of my third year, it was clear that more work was to be done, and so I persisted along with my remarkable staff. As we’re nearing that 5-year milestone, I’m following through on my original intention. There’s never a perfect stopping point for a dynamic job like this, but now with GDC and E3 behind us, this was just as good a time as ever to move on.”
Back in 2015 David Auerbach from Slate had estimated that Edwards would resign shortly after a series of corruption allegations surfaced in relation to the IGF and IGDA, which later saw former IGF chairman Brandon Boyer resign at the height of the allegations.
Prediction: Boyer, Scavio, and Edwards will all step down within 18 months.
— David Auerbach (@AuerbachKeller) April 16, 2015
Edwards was infamously outspoken against #GamerGate since 2014 after the IGDA originally advocated the use of the #GamerGate autoblocker, which managed to block some independent developers as well. Some thought that the IGDA was treading on thin ice by employing the autoblocker. The organization eventually subsided from using the GGAutoblocker, but not before founder Ernest Adams explained to us…
“So far as I know, the block list wasn’t intended to include independent developers. If an indie developer is being blocked, that’s a coincidence.
“Essentially, it blocks anyone who is following more than one of the ringleaders.
“This post on the GGAutoblocker blog explains how to get whitelisted if you feel that you have been blocked in error.”
Adams linked to Randi Lee Harper’s blog explaining how developers and potential members of the IGDA who had been blocked could vouch for whitelisting.
At the time, IGDA chairman of the Puerto Rico sect, Roberto Rosario, had criticized the main IGDA arm for instituting the use of the GGAutoblocker, and Rosario underwent some form of ostracizing for being sympathetic toward #GamerGate.
Edwards, meanwhile, had been making multiple public statements denouncing #GamerGate to publications such as Venture Beat, stating that it was a harassment campaign. Youtube outlets like ShortFatOtaku and Netscape rounded up some of the more controversial comments from the IGDA and the history of the organization’s run-in with #GamerGate.
I had originally reached out to Edwards for an interview regarding the criticisms about the IGDA and the way certain prominent organizations within the gaming industry had taken a rather anti-gaming stance by making claims about people using the GamerGate hashtag based on misinformation. However, Edwards declined partaking in a full length interview after stating that the information might be misconstrued as “SJW lies”.
The hashtag kicked off in 2014 after numerous scandals over the years finally came to a head involving a Kotaku journalist. Game journalists attempted to sweep the scandal under the rug, and when gamers kept prying the media labeled the gaming community as a bunch of harassers and misogynists. It was later revealed that some of the journalists who had aligned themselves as anti-#GamerGate had committed illegal acts, and some have been arrested for actually partaking in harassment, and for having allegedly raped multiple women.
Despite all of the negative comments from major gaming organizations about #GamerGate, those who organized within the hashtag did manage to convince the FTC to further update and enforce their guidelines regarding disclosure, in addition to launching a full investigation into Kotaku and Gawker. The consumer revolt was also responsible for encouraging multiple gaming websites have also updated their disclosure and ethics policies in light of #GamerGate’s efforts.
(Main image courtesy of MIT Global Education)