Professional Standards and Practices
for Analog Game Publishers
The analog game publishing industry is a broad field with a large number of creators from varying levels of experience. This document proposes certain professional standards and practices for all tabletop game publishers. We hope that publishers will sign onto these common to further the professionalization of our industry. This will offer baseline guidance for the benefit of our customers, freelancers, and industry on a whole.
The development of these standards and practices has been sponsored by the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN), an international volunteer trade organization that supports indie game developers in creating, publishing, and promoting fantastic games. The IGDN brings together a wide variety of developers–including pen and paper, card game, LARP, and board game designers–in a private environment where each and every member strives for excellence. We encourage and seek out diverse voices to join us, particularly among traditionally underrepresented segments of the larger gaming community. All game creators and professionals, including women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and those with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
This document proposes professional standards associated with ethical conduct, contracts, customer relations, diversity, and conventions. It furthermore provides a powerful budgeting tool to help you determine your rates of pay on projects. Publishers may sign onto these standards to indicate their support for improving the industry on a whole.
This is an evergreen document that will continue to evolve as required. The document has been developed by members of the Indie Game Developer Network and respected collaborators. These standards explicitly align with the excellent “Babble-On Unified (QT)POC Standard Requirements” document. They have been furthermore designed to align with the artistic standards set out in the Artpact collective, which have been archived at http://artpact.artisfy.com
These standards support a baseline expectation for behaviour. Exceptions for these standards may be afforded with the informed consent of all parties involved, with written documentation to that effect.
Table of Contents
Guidelines for the United States of America
Guidelines for the International Publishers
Customer Relations and Marketing
Diversity and Underrepresented Creators
Sensitivity Readers & Cultural Consultants
Speaking On Panels, Seminars, Or Workshops
Trade Conventions and Training
The goal of this document is to encourage professional behaviour by analog tabletop game publishers and establish standards of conduct. Contractors may rely upon this document to establish expectations with the publishers they work with.
Any publisher may choose to opt into these standards and practices by filling in the form at tinyurl.com/StandardsPracticesAnalog. Your entry will be reviewed and will be added to Annex 1 of this document respectively as well as being posted publicly at http://gamepublisherstandards.com/. By opting into these standards and practices, you will also be granted permission to use the following logo on your website and/or products.
By signing onto these standards, you agree that your organization will follow the standards presented here. This means that your organization as a whole as represented by your staff will follow these standards.
Please note that the activities of freelancers, contractors, friends, and family are not covered under these standards unless they have independently agreed to abide by these restrictions.
If you have any questions or concerns with regards to these standards and practices, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clarity of terminology is essential for effective communication and contracts. These are standardized definitions for use within the game publishing industry.
Contractor: An independent individual performing duties over a limited period of time for specific duties, often also referred to as a “freelancer”. Contractors are given individual and clearly defined tasks on a single product with no promise of future work. An individual contractor may accept multiple contracts at the same time.
Staff: A paid employee of a company performing duties over an extended period of time, subject to local labour laws. Staff are given ongoing responsibilities and continued employment during the development of multiple products.
Retainer: An individual who is paid a small amount on an ongoing basis to perform specifically on an as-and-when required basis. This is often used for work that needs to be performed on a sporadic basis such as editing, small amounts of layout, graphic design, marketing, or legal work.
Writing: Creating prose, instructional text, and/or example text. This can include the creation of new fiction consistent with an existing setting and the mechanics already established. This can also involve an explanation of rules and mechanics.
Design: Creating and adapting mechanical systems or procedures. This involves research into both the framework of the existing rules and into other related works. The process of design is iterative, with multiple revision passes based on feedback from the playtesting process. This can also include the synthesis of multiple distinct mechanical systems into a common framework or adapting an existing system to a particular game.
Research: Searching for information to inform the process of writing, design, or developmental editing. This includes gathering information from primary and secondary sources to inform future design or writing. This can include the process of reading and analyzing existing games. This can further include consideration of academic sources, media portrayals, specialized databases, or interviews with subject matter experts.
Playtesting: Testing the rules and mechanics in a controlled environment to assist the revision of game designs.
This term replaces the ableist term “blind playtesting”.
Line Editing: Provision of guidance to writers, designers, editors, and other creatives to ensure consistency across multiple products in a given product line. This includes the preparation of a writing style guide, artistic references, common terminology, and setting lore. This also includes the process of standardizing language and tone across multiple products and contributing to marketing efforts.
Developmental Editing: Restructuring game texts for easier use and reference. This also
includes system review to identify mechanical inconsistencies or ambiguity. It further includes fact-checking and revision of text for a consistent voice between multiple contributors. In the case of a stand-alone product, this will also include any responsibilities normally attributed to line editors.
Copy Editing: Detailed revision and correction of the text. This includes grammatical review, correcting spelling, and fixing punctuation. This further involves identifying issues with the presentation of information, forward references, or unclear sentences which should be reworked for clarity. This can further involve the identification of key terms to be indexed.
Proofreading: A late-stage review process for the complete text, often after the layout process has been completed. This typically involves identifying any text which is unclear, has typos, has minor spelling errors, or issues with the layout.
Art Direction: Directing the illustration, graphic design and layout activities for products. This includes establishing specific artistic styles for the product and identifying potential illustrators capable of working in this style. This includes establishing common reference image assets for collaboration. This also includes determining the quantity of art in the product and establishing art budgets.
Illustration: Creation of visual art including portraits, landscapes, characters, items, icons, or background elements. Illustrations are created following the guidance provided as part of the art direction process. This includes adapting artistic styles in order to align with the other artists/illustrators on the project. This further involves making major changes at the initial sketch stage, and minor changes at later stages.
Layout: Transforming text and art assets into digital files ready for publication. This includes selecting typefaces for a product. This further includes creating layout templates such as stat blocks if appropriate. This may include limited copyfitting in consultation with editors and/or writers. This further includes the preparation of print-ready versions of the final product as well as accessible PDF versions of the final products. For clarity, this further includes the preparation of worksheets, product covers, or product packaging.
Consultation: Paid research and developmental editing by an external expert. This may
involve expertise in certain academic, cultural, technical, or racial subject matters. This
explicitly includes the service commonly referred to as ‘sensitivity reading’. Sensitivity consultation is included in this category.
Demonstration: Running sessions of a completed game in a public venue for the benefit of a publisher.. This includes events at game stores, game conventions, actual-play recordings, or online streaming. This covers professional gamemastering in all forms.
Prohibited Grounds: Characteristics such as race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed (religion), sex, gender, gender presentation, sexual orientation, age, a criminal or juvenile record of offenses, marital status, family status, receipt of public assistance in the area of housing accommodation, mental or physical disability, physical appearance or size.
Harassment: Engaging in a course of harmful or abusive comments or conduct related to one or more of the prohibited grounds that is known or may reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile, or inappropriate, which adversely affects the comfort and safety of the individual(s). This includes all forms of harassment including but not limited to sexual harassment, online communications, or offensive text messages, be it in public or private.
Discrimination: Engaging in actions that further pre-existing disadvantage, stereotyping, prejudice, or other collective harms against individuals based on prohibited grounds. This includes the dissemination of hate literature, inciting hatred against identifiable groups. It also includes systematic harassment or discrimination, with policies, practices, procedures, actions, or inactions that may appear neutral, but have a disproportionate adverse impact associated with one or more of the prohibited grounds.
Ethical conduct is of paramount importance within this industry. In order to enable a safe environment for creators and customers, all members of the industry should hold themselves to high ethical standards. All game creators and professionals, including women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and gamers with disabilities, should be made to feel welcome in the industry. While ethical issues are notoriously subjective, the standards and practices provide minimum standards to consider.
Publishers will establish internal policies prohibiting discrimination or harassment by staff, contractors, or volunteers. These terms are defined in section 3 of this document.
Abusive behaviour has no place in our industry. Publishers will not hire or contract with individuals with credible allegations of sexual assault, physical assault, physical abuse, serious emotional abuse, or other serious forms of violence. All allegations are presumed to be credible by default in the absence of contradictory evidence. These guidelines do not constitute or replace the criminal justice system.
It is incumbent upon companies and industry members to be accountable to their mistakes. Being transparent, taking accountability, and acting with integrity is key. This includes:
A process of restorative justice may allow to safely re-enter the industry through sufficient accountability. The prohibitions for contracting, hiring, promotion, or advertising in the previous section may be waived if all individuals directly harmed provide their free and informed consent.
We are collectively responsible for the safety of our customers and the products we produce. Certain analog games can have the potential to cause physical, psychological, or emotional harm to players. Publishers and designers share the responsibility to mitigate these dangers during the design, development, and production processes.
Participants should have the informed consent of any potentially triggering subject matter which may occur in play. Games addressing sensitive topics are valuable but should be handled with care.
Designers should consider the inclusion of formal safety tools or procedures in their designs. A variety of useful safety tools have been compiled in the TTRPG Safety Toolkit at www.bit.ly/ttrpgsafetytoolkit Kienna Shaw and Lauren Bryant-Monk. While this toolkit was designed for tabletop roleplaying games, it may be applicable to other styles of games.
Best practices when developing safety tools are to consider alternatives for accessibility purposes, education on navigating content, and tools as care skills. Games should ideally be designed in such a way that mechanics that support safety are built into the framework of the game.
Contracts are extremely important for game publishers and the freelance contractors they hire. The most important use of these legal documents is for clear communication between both parties. Written contracts are used to formalize verbal agreements for future reference.
Contracts should be drafted with the goal of clarity and not confusion.
As a general principle, contracts should establish the following key elements:
The vast majority of game publishers are not experienced legal professionals and may be intimidated by the prospect of creating new contractual agreements. Other established publishers may be able to share their existing contracts, and you can find a wealth of templates online. Legal professionals in your jurisdiction may be able to draft a contractual template for your use or review one that you create.
Proper financial record-keeping is essential, and all contracts issued should be retained for a minimum of 3 years or the amount prescribed by local tax laws. This is used for reference, arbitration of disputes, and for tax-related considerations.
Consent is the foundation upon which all personal and professional relationships are built. All contracts, written or verbal, require the active, informed consent of both parties and must be established in safe circumstances.
It is always the best practice to rely upon written contracts.
Publishers should only use verbal contracts if they pay 100% of the contract value in advance, assuming any risk associated with the decision. This is often used for small pieces of text, test pieces of art, or in the context of an established professional working relationship.
Game development is a process that inevitably generates intellectual property. For that reason, contracts will explicitly discuss how copyright and other IP rights are handled. Publishers shall ensure that artists and writers retain the ability to use their work in their portfolios at a minimum.
Publishers should allow contractors to retain the maximum possible amount of intellectual property rights for the given project. A good practice is to purchase non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, sub-licensable, irrevocable licenses from their contractors. This is a viable alternative to the classical “work for hire” format in which all rights are permanently ceded to the publisher.
Blockchain is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a system in which a record of transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network.” These technologies are currently highly speculative in nature and present extreme environmental damage.
The use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Etherium is strongly discouraged and should be minimized wherever possible. The creation, dissemination, or sale of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) associated with games is absolutely prohibited.
Contractors who perform work according to the terms of a contract must legally be paid the amount they are owed.
Publishers should ensure that a portion of the payment is provided in the form of an advance. This advance payment may double as a “kill fee” in case irreconcilable differences lead to the cancellation of the contract.
Publishers should provide the final payment on delivery of the work under contract. Payment for work already performed on publication or contingent on a crowdfunding campaign is not an acceptable payment structure unless a clear and fair royalties structure is included in the contract.
Establishing a system of fair compensation is a significant challenge within the tabletop games industry. The lack of centralized information sharing has meant that wages for freelancers and paid staff are often obscured. This has led to a race to the bottom within the industry, with extremely low pay rates to compensate for unrealistically small project budgets. These standards intend to provide clear guidelines on the ranges of acceptable pay to assist in the contracting process.
It is in the community’s best interest to provide proper compensation to all contracted designers, writers, artists, editors, and other creatives. Reasonable levels of compensation will make the industry more sustainable, allow freelancers to provide the best quality work possible, and improve the industry as a whole.
The international nature of the publishing industry presents special challenges to consider. While a significant number of game publishers are located in the United States, these standards must account for those publishers in other jurisdictions. Publishers in rich countries should not be offshoring and underpaying contributors in poor countries. Conversely, those publishers in poor countries should not be forced to pay the exorbitant rates of compensation to contributors in rich countries. As such, all of these standards are based on the jurisdiction of the publisher.
The most reliable measure of income in a given country is the regional minimum wage. As this governs the minimum that a company can legally pay their workers in that jurisdiction, it likewise provides the absolute pay rate under these standards. Publishers should pay more than this legal minimum and should work towards providing a living wage in the area in which they are based.
This document establishes a set of ten standard pay tiers. Each tier provides an hourly rate, daily rate, writing rate, editing rate, and proofreading rate. Publishers who are signatories of these standards should identify which of these standard pay tiers is appropriate for their business based on the following guidelines.
Publishers are expected to make their pay rates publicly available, preferably on their websites. This form of wage transparency allows potential freelance contributors to evaluate whether that publisher’s compensation levels are appropriate.
Minimum Wage (USD)
Hourly Rate: This is the standard hourly pay rate for the given tier in USD. This is best used when quoting and pricing smaller pieces of art, indexing, playtesting, demonstrations, or simple consulting work.
Daily Rate: This is the standard day rate assuming each day of work consists of eight hours. This is best used for larger pieces of art, research, extensive consultation, graphic design, or layout
Writing Rate: This is the standard per-word rate for writing game text, fiction, and rules. This rate assumes a standard rate of production of 250 words of production-quality work per hour or roughly 2000 words per day. Tier four currently aligns with the professional writing rates associated with the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA).
Editing Rate (Full): This is the standard per-word rate for comprehensive editing work including developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading. This rate assumes a standard rate of comprehensive editing of 500 per hour or roughly 4000 words per day.
Editing Rate (Partial): This is the standard per-word rate for any single form of editing on a project. If developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading are performed by different people, each would be entitled to this rate. This is also the appropriate level of compensation for any line editing work.
Pay Tier 2: In the United States, the Department of Labour has established the Federal Minimum wage at $7.25. This means that individuals employed by companies anywhere in the United States must pay at least that amount, which aligns with the Tier 2 pay rate.
Pay Tier 4: This is a level that meets the minimum wage standards in every state of the USA. This can be an acceptable rate of pay for publishers in states with low costs of living.
Pay Tier 6: This can be an acceptable rate of pay for publishers in states with high costs of living. This is a level that provides a living wage in states with low costs of living according to the MIT’s Living Wage Calculator.
Pay Tier 8: This is a level that provides a living wage in all states of the USA according to the MIT’s Living Wage Calculator.
The rates here are measured based on the minimum wage in the publisher’s jurisdiction at current exchange rates. Round up the minimum wage to the nearest US dollar during your calculation. For reference, the list of minimum wages by country may be relied upon for this purpose in the absence of other sources. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country
Publishers from low-wage countries may have difficulty matching the high pay rates expected from those in higher-wage countries. If the local hourly minimum wage is less than $4 USD/hour, they may provide Tier 1 compensation while remaining in compliance with these standards and practices.
Acme Games is a publisher in Germany where the local minimum wage is established at 9.50 € per hour. This converts to approximately 11.25 $ per hour in USD. The publisher would look at the chart and determine that the company must pay at least Tier 3 rates.
At the minimum rate of Tier 3, the publisher would be obliged to pay 12 $ per hour of work or 96 $ per day. They would pay freelancer writers 6￠ per word, and a comprehensive editing pass for 3￠per word.
At the standard rate of Tier 5, the publisher would be obliged to pay 20 $ per hour of work or 160 $ per day. They would pay freelancer writers 10￠ per word, and comprehensive editing for 5￠per word.
At the ideal rate of Tier 7, the publisher would be obliged to pay 28 $ per hour of work or 224 $ per day. They would pay freelancer writers 14￠ per word, and comprehensive editing for 7￠per word.
The standard tiers are meant to provide a foundation and a starting place for determining compensation levels. Certain freelancers are able to complete their work significantly faster thanks to their extensive training and experience which should be rewarded. Publishers may provide a higher rate of pay for contributors with high levels of expertise, specialized talent, or when the work is done as part of crowdfunding stretch goals.
Conversely, many freelancers or other creatives have additional challenges due to issues of disability, family status, or forms of marginalization which require more time to produce the work. Publishers should accommodate the longer timelines which may be required for these contributors. Publishers may either provide the same compensation over a longer timeline or increase the number of hours/days associated with the task to account for these additional challenges.
Some publishers may choose to operate in a royalty model. As this approach to compensation places some of the risk upon freelance contributors, publishers must ensure that these contributors receive at least the payment equal to the minimum rate tier. The best practice is to provide the contributors with an advance on their future royalties equal to that minimum rate.
The default assumption is that payment is provided in the form of legal currency. It is, however, acceptable to provide payment in the form of barter or skills exchange provided that they are of equivalent value. Please use the rates of pay in order to determine what would qualify as equivalent value.
Everyone who works on a project must be compensated at least at the minimum tier. This includes company owners and other long-term employees they might have.
Example: Acme Games offers 20% of product sales to their illustrator who works 10 days on the project in a jurisdiction. The publisher would guarantee minimum compensation of 10 days at 96$ per day which comes to 960$ for their labour. Acme would provide an advance of 960$ and the illustrator’s share of the first sales would go towards paying off that advance. Once the full amount of the advance is accounted for, the illustrator would receive 20% of all additional sales going forward.
In order to aid the budget for projects, it is important to determine the number of days of labour expected. The following figures are suggested averages intended to assist the budgeting and planning process. These rates are not binding and may be different for any given project.
Layout & Graphic Design:
Example of Project Budgeting
The Eldritch Halls is a sample game by Acme Games with a 30k word count. Using the guidelines above, the publisher estimates the total budget for the project. Their standard policy is to pay their internal staff at the minimum tier (3) while they pay external contractors at the standard tier (5).
• Writing: 10 days
• Development: 10 days
• Layout: 10 days
Internal expenses on Eldritch Halls are equal to 30 days at the Tier 3 rate of 96$ per day. They would therefore assign an internal budget of 2,880$ for this work.
• Cover Illustration: 5 days
• Internal Illustrations: 15 days
• Design Consultation: 2 days
• Editing: 7.5 days for 30k words.
• Writing: 5 days for 10k words.
External expenses on Eldritch Halls are equal to 34.5 days at the Tier 5 rate of 160$ per day. They would therefore assign an internal budget of 5,520$ for this work.
The owner of Acme Publishing is able to effectively estimate that the total development costs for this project should be approximately 8,400$.
By signing onto the standards and practices, you agree to communicate freely and honestly with your customers. By contributing to a positive industry environment, we enable customers to enjoy games.
Honest presentation is essential when offering goods or services to customers. Publishers must provide an honest and accurate description of any goods they offer before customers commit money for a product.
When administering forums and Discord servers associated with your company, ensure that there is a code of conduct to ensure the safety of users.
Publishers should not attempt to moderate or alter reviews on their products. Do not delete negative reviews unless there is cause (harassment, brigading, etc.). Similarly, do not pay for positive reviews or followers.
Customer privacy must be provided at all times, based on domestic and international privacy protection laws. Accordingly, the private information entrusted to publishers such as mailing addresses or email addresses, should not be shared outside of the context of fulfilling orders.
Email marketing should be done with the explicit permission of the customers in accordance with local privacy laws. The best practice is always to ask customers to opt-in to mailing lists and offer the opportunity for them to unsubscribe at any time. This both reduces the potential of bothering our collective customers with spam and ensures compliance with international anti-spam laws.
Effective communication should include responses to emails and other communications within 3-5 business days. In the case of extended leave or vacations where these responses are not possible, publishers should set up an ‘away’ or ‘out of office’ automatic response.
Crowdfunding updates should be provided during the period of time that goals are being worked on. Monthly updates are the goal during the preparation of the main goal, and an update every other month is reasonable for stretch goals. Be transparent with regard to crowdfunding campaigns and the associated budgets to the best of your ability. Publishers should do their best to explain where funding will be allocated.
Diversity is essential to the vitality and sustainability of the games industry. It is important to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to create games, regardless of sex, orientation, ethnic origin, disability, faith, or other characteristics. Sensitivity readers, cultural consultants, public seminars, and inclusive hiring are tools for making the industry a more inclusive and welcoming place.
Games which address sensitive cultural content are valuable and challenging to create responsibly. Publishers and industry professionals must be careful and considerate when representing other cultures, ethnic groups, and belief systems. In order to explore the diverse expressions of cultures and intersectional issues, attention must be paid to ensure the product is not harmful to the represented group(s).
When producing games referring to cultures, religions, disabilities, and other identity groups outside of your own experience, a combination of independent research and professional consultation is key.
Examples of sensitivity readers and cultural consultants are not exhaustive:
Publishers must do due diligence in performing independent research into the cultures they are representing in your games.
Publishers should hire or contract at least one professional sensitivity reader or cultural consultant for each major cultural group being represented when producing culturally-sensitive games.
Publishers should engage at least one sensitivity reader and/or cultural consultant for the project prior to publication, and preferably as early in the development process as possible. Any sensitivity readers or cultural consultants must be properly credited.
Publishers should ideally agree that at least two sensitivity readers and/or cultural consultants should be hired for each major cultural group being represented when producing culturally-sensitive games. Please refer to Babble-On Unified (QT)POC Standard Requirements.
Publishers should be clear in their intentions when they put out a call for sensitivity readers and cultural consultants from specific marginalized groups. Their language has to be clearly defined as not to cause confusion or misinterpretation.
Publishers should be aware of intersectionality and that no group is monolithic. Likewise, even within marginalized groups, there are diverse and often contrary (and even toxic!) views. Hence, the need to get sensitivity readers and cultural consultants in order to present a balanced and nuanced perspective.
Publishers must avoid the use of harmful stereotypes associated with marginalized groups. Harmful tropes may include associating individuals with mental illness, disability, or ethnic origins with moral failings or evil intentions. In addition, publishers should not promote supremacist, eugenicist, or colonialist ideologies in their works.
Such tropes used by publishers and writers can easily be caught and edited by sensitivity readers and cultural consultants. The IGDN strongly believes that publishers and designers must evaluate their intentions before they approve or even begin designing the game. Good intentions are not magic and can unintentionally cause a great deal of harm.
When a publisher is notified of potentially harmful content in their work, they are responsible for treating those concerns seriously. While mistakes are inevitable, publishers should actively work to avoid repeating this mistake in future products.
These are guidelines for publishers, company owners, and project managers when it comes to 1) representation from underrepresented or marginalised backgrounds; 2) speaking on panels, seminars, or workshops.
Company owners and managers should not speak on panels, seminars, or workshops addressing including but not limited to racism, inclusion, disability, diversity, intersectionality, and LGBTQIA+ experiences unless there is at least one speaker from the relevant underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds.
Publishers should ideally work to ensure that panels, seminars, or workshops addressing including but not limited to racism, inclusion, disability, diversity, intersectionality, and LGBTQIA+ experiences are predominantly led by individuals of those backgrounds. Please refer to Babble-On Unified (QT)POC Standard Requirements.
Publishers should work to ensure that participating individuals from relevant backgrounds are given a promotional platform in both the digital and physical spaces for relevant content of their choice. This includes streaming platforms.
Publishers must ensure that physical spaces are accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
Publishers should do their best to include other accessibility aids such as microphones, captioning/subtitling, ASL interpreters, transcription, etc.
Publishers to not exclude any potential freelancer, contractor, employee, or volunteer on the basis of prohibited grounds as described in section 3.
Publishers should ensure that job openings for hiring or contract work be posted publicly for a reasonable amount of time. Application forms should use gender-neutral language and provide space for applicants to provide their own pronouns. These job openings should ideally be shared in spaces where marginalized peoples are more likely to see them. The best practice is to include an explicit diversity statement in job postings.
Publishers should also be aware that marginalized creators have skills and accomplishments that are often less recognized by the broader industry. Such creators may not feel safe to openly express the breadth and depth of their capabilities due to structural problems. Similarly, exclusion from the games industry due to structural discrimination may lead to reduced formal experience. Keep this in mind when requiring particular experience for a job opening.
Publishers managing projects with three or more writers should at least include one from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds. Similarly, projects with three or more two illustrators/artists should include at least one from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds.
Publishers should ideally ensure that at least a third of new projects will be led by a creator from an underrepresented or marginalized background. This includes creators who are of marginalized genders, disabled creators, Black creators, creators of colour, disabled transgender creators, and those otherwise underrepresented in games.
Publishers who choose to require that applicants perform sample work or examinations should compensate all applicants according to the pay standards presented here.
Trade conventions are a time that many people that are not directly related to companies or the industry may be brought in to help with sales and marketing. These individuals will be a direct representation to the public of the standards and practices of your company and the industry as a whole. All ethical and safety concerns for the industry apply at all conventions and industry events.
A regular occurrence for conventions is to bring in non-industry or non-regular workers to help in sales, promotion, and exhibit positions. To facilitate a safe and easy working relationship here is a list of subjects that should be covered before an agreement from a worker is expected.
Workers will typically be asked to demonstrate games or to facilitate sales. Each type of labour has different expectations in terms of remuneration.
Game demonstrations may be compensated in the form of entry, accommodation, food, travel, or product. The best practice is to additionally provide compensation equivalent to the amount which would be paid under the compensation standards in section 6 of this document.
Sales facilitation must result in monetary compensation on an hourly basis as per the standard compensation guidelines, Best practices are to also include convention, badges, accommodation, food, travel, or product.
Publishers shall ensure that individuals working in sales facilitation are provided with a safe and accessible work environment. Publishers should provide workers with planned schedules provided in advance, including breaks at minimum every 4 hours, and a 30 minute paid meal break in the case of a full 8-hour workday. Personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer should be made available if circumstances warrant them. Open communication and extra personal should always be available for facility breaks. There should also be enough seating for every working team member.
Publishers shall ensure that individuals providing either game demonstrations or sales facilitation are properly trained in the products they are promoting. These individuals should also have access to an informed individual to answer questions that may arise.
Publishers shall ensure that individuals working in sales facilitation are also provided with training for safety, ethics, and IGDN standards for conventions. These individuals must also be trained in the procedures for recording and completing sales, including any electronic equipment or cash handling procedures.
Publishers shall not organize, exhibit at, or attend as a guest of honour at conventions that lack anti-harassment policies.
Publishers are encouraged to support the development and refinement of anti-harassment policies at any conventions they are involved with. The best practice is to help establish clear procedures, trained contact persons, and an impartial investigative process. Periodic reporting, review of policies, and provision of resources are beneficial.
As a resource, please see the model anti-harassment policy presented at
These standards and practices have been informed by the following existing and published documents.
Art Pact Pay Guidelines
IGDN Harassment Policy
Babble-On Unified (QT)POC Standard Requirements
Editorial Freelancers Association
These Publisher standards and practices were established by the following individuals.
The following publishers are signatories of the Standards and Practices. They have agreed to follow the standards presented in this document including those related to compensation as listed in this document.
Accessible Games (www.accessiblegames.biz)
signed on 2022-02-17
Black & Green Games (www.blackgreengames.com)
signed on 2021-10-27
Drowning Moon Studios (www.drowningmoonstudios.com)
signed on 2021-10-19
Genesis of Legend Publishing (www.genesisoflegend.com)
signed on 2020-09-01.
Glittercats Fine Amusements (www.playglittercats.blogspot.com )
signed on 2021-10-20
NerdBurger Games (www.nerdburgergames.com/)
signed on 2021-10-27
Ordoalea Publishing (https://ordoalea-publishing.itch.io)
signed on 2022-02-23
Possum Creek Games (www.possumcreekgames.com/)
signed on 2021-07-03
Wannabe Games (www.WannabeGames.com)
signed on 2020-10-14
Ziapelta Games (www.ziapeltagames.com)
Signed on 2021-10-21
These standards and practices were established by members of the Indie Game Developer Network. We would like to thank Jason Pitre, Jessica Geyer, Alex Sprague, Joyce Chng, Kate Bullock, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, Tim Rodriguez, Filip Lončar, Alastor Guzman, and many others for their contributions.
Initial publication of these standards
Published these standards on gamepublisherstandards.com
Clarified the compensation guidelines to affirm that publishers must always pay greater than the local minimum wage in every circumstance. Publishers are expected to pay more than the minimum wage as their standard practice.
Addition of the section on Blockchain technologies, discouraging the use of cryptocurrency and prohibiting NFT production/sale.
Analog Game Publisher Standards and Practices pg.