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Devolver Digital Offers Support To Game Devs Affected By Immigration Ban

Devolver Digital said it will represent game studios that can't attend the next Game Developers Conference because of the U.S. immigration ban.

The company is known for publishing not-quite-indie titles like Enter the Gungeon, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, and many others. Now it's offered to set up gaming PCs and HTC Vive headsets to show off games from devs affected by the President's ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The games still won't be shown at GDC proper--Devolver set up its own "Devolver Underground" nearby.

"Our team strongly believes that games are art and art is above politics," Devolver's Nigel Lowrie told Tom's Hardware. "Devolver strides to bring wonderful little games to a larger audience and [this effort] is simply an extension of that belief."

Rami Ismali, a co-founder of the Vlambeer game studio behind Nuclear Throne and other well-regarded games, shared his experience as a Muslim game developer in the Guardian:

As one of the few visible Muslims in the games industry, I frequently talk about my experiences on the road with fellow Muslim developers who are flying to the US for the first time. In the wake of the executive order, many that spent years of their savings on the trip to San Francisco have learned that they won’t be allowed into the country any more. Even if they’d be allowed into the US, many are afraid of anti-Muslim sentiment from a population that can elect a president like Donald Trump, especially in the country with the highest homicide rate with guns in the Western world.Many other Muslim game developers that live in the US – or even non-Muslims who only hold dual citizenship with a majority-Muslim country they’ve rarely if ever visited – are now stuck in the United States with no way to visit family or friends abroad. With many highly talented engineers coming from Middle Eastern countries, this not only limits the available talent pool, but also effectively prohibits travel for many workers in the US games industry.

Lowrie said it's too early to tell how the ban will effect gaming in the long term, "but we know for sure that some people can't come to GDC because of the ban and wanted to help where we can with some small gesture of support," he said. "If the ban continues, instances like these will become more common and in some sense limit what voices we have in the video game community's conversations."

The immigration ban has also been felt in the larger tech industry.

GDC 2017 will take place in San Francisco's Moscone Center from February 27 to March 3; Devolver Underground will be open January 27 to March 1. Devolver Digital said on its website that "submissions and inquiries should be sent ASAP as space is limited" and that "due to the limited space, preference will be given to those developers that were set to travel to GDC and were forced to cancel their plans due to the immigration ban."

Here's Lowrie on Devolver's plan between now and GDC 2017:

Once we know what games will be presented at our space we will update gdc.devolverdigital.com to highlight those and invite everyone that can make it to come by and check them out. For those that can't attend, we will have information and links to more about those games - just want to put the spotlight on developers and games that had it taken away from them unfairly.

Nathaniel Mott
Nathaniel Mott

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • Giroro
    Which developers, specifically, had to cancel their travel to GDC because of the travel restrictions?

    Otherwise they might as well be offering to snow games made by developers stranded on the moon.
    Reply
  • Daekar3
    Obviously somebody still hasn't read the executive order text. It's not a ban, it's vetting, and plenty of people have come into the country since it's been put in place.

    Seriously, stop perpetuating the lie.
    Reply
  • hotroderx
    Bye Toms I think it was pretty clear no one wants this kinda stuff on there tech news website. I could go into a bunch of detail's but I won't. I almost feel like this article is retaliation against those of us who spoke out on the last politically motivated article. A way of saying we won't have the readers tell us what to and not to publish. I hope this works out in your favor!

    Instead of this political news you could have had news about the new GTX 1080 from Gigabyte or perhaps Asus New expedition line of GPU's or perhaps even Sk Hynix new 2017 plans to release 10nm - Dram

    but instead you choose more political news so finished good luck if I do come back it will be with add-blocking software. I like to show your sponsors that I no longer support your website. Until things change!
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    I for one support the reporting of real world issues like this. People who prefer to actively ignore reality or present "alternative facts" are more than welcome to leave.
    Reply
  • WFang
    Sometimes the world of technology and politics overlap. This story was promoting an underground tech event.. how is that not relevant? Excuse you for not being able to handle the overlap with politics.
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    19244635 said:
    Obviously somebody still hasn't read the executive order text. It's not a ban, it's vetting, and plenty of people have come into the country since it's been put in place.

    Seriously, stop perpetuating the lie.

    What we had before Trump was extensive vetting. What we have now is a ban.
    Reply
  • nOv1c3
    Oh please with all do respect you're idiot


    Anyone with an once of intelligence that has read the executive order knows its has nothing to do with banning anyone

    This is just more phony left wing hysteria
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    19246479 said:
    Oh please with all do respect you're idiot


    Anyone with an once of intelligence that has read the executive order knows its has nothing to do with banning anyone

    This is just more phony left wing hysteria
    What's this then?

    Sec. 3. Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern.
    (c) ...pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order...

    Sec. 5.
    (b) ...prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality... (aka Christians as these are countries where the majority are Muslim)
    (e) ...admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest -- including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution...

    And what about all the people who were turned away or detained in airports since it came into affect? The existing vetting process is already extensive and can take as long as two years

    FYI
    "with all do respect" -> "with all due respect"
    "with an once of intelligence" -> "with an ounce of intelligence"
    "knows its has" -> "knows it has"
    Reply