Part and parcel of gaming development is the ability to cross borders to attend conventions, trade shows and shake hands with gamers, publishers and everyone in between. But the recent moves on immigration from the White House have resulted in an awful lot of chaos for everyone involved, including green card holders.
But the Game Developers Conference is due to kick off at the end of this month, and for devs it's one of the most important dates on the calendar. So to help out those who suddenly found themselves unable to go, Devolver Digital has stepped up.
In a tweet earlier this morning, followed by a confirmation press release, Devolver announced it would demo any game at GDC for a developer who found themselves unable to travel to GDC in the wake of the White House's ban on travel from certain countries. "Devolver Digital will set up gaming PCs and HTC Vive sets (if necessary) to demo games from developers affected by the ban in the nearby offsite location used by Devolver Digital during [GDC]," the publisher announced.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) February 2, 2017
It's an incredibly decent move by Devolver, and it's also very savvy. Apart from the humanity of looking after people who found themselves caught in the crossfire of a grander political battle than game development, it also puts Devolver in contact with a lot of developers and projects they might not have encountered previously.
Devolver's move also comes after other industry groups criticised the White House for their recent immigration ban. The Entertainment Software Association warned that publishers and developers "rely on the skilled talent of U.S. citizens, foreign nationals and immigrants alike", while GDC's official Twitter account said they were "horrified" by the decision and would refund affected attendees.
Developers were more forceful in their words. The creator of Dots sent an in-app notification urging users to donate to the ACLU, which is suing the United States in the wake of the ban. Vlambeer announced they would donate all revenue over a 24 hour period to the ACLU to help fund their legal costs. Super Evil Megacorp CEO Kristian Segerstrale, whose company makes the mobile MMO Vain Glory, also posted on Medium that "for the many migrants, green card holders and holders of various visas ... the fact that something like this can happen is pretty scary".
"Whatever your political affiliation or beliefs, discrimination or persecution of individuals on the basis of religion, ethnicity, national origin or anything else for that matter is simply not OK anywhere, ever," Segerstrale added.