To Become a Cultural Fit, or To Leave? Game Industry Expatriates and the Issue of Migration and Inclusivity


  • Solip Park


Game Developers, Game Work, Game Expats, Migration, Occupational Community, Game Development Culture


This paper explores the experience of immigrant/expatriate game developers (“game expats”), focusing on how the game developers’ community influences migration. Inspired by Weststar (2015)’s study identifying the game developers’ social group of occupational community (OC), I have conducted semi-structured interviews (n=29) with game expats in Finland in 2020-2021 and used grounded theory to identify cohesive patterns from their relocation experiences. The result showed community as a motivational driver for game expats’ migration to Finland, acting as a direct channel of recruitment and ease of relocation stress. Meanwhile, favor towards a certain type of personality, attitudes, and familiarity with the collective norms shared within the community (so-called “cultural fit”) was identified as a determining factor that affects game expats’ hiring and settlement. However, the closed hiring with a tendency to find already culturally fitting colleagues within the immediate community network due to concerns for productivity, raises difficulties for game expats with a junior level of expertise, less cultural proximity, or of a different gender. This paper highlights the challenges faced by game expats, calling for communal efforts between the industry, society, and institutions as an ecosystem to enhance inclusivity and cultural competence in game work environments.





@Conference{digra1923, title ="To Become a Cultural Fit, or To Leave? Game Industry Expatriates and the Issue of Migration and Inclusivity", year = "2023", author = "Park, Solip", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}