Developers speak out against Global Game Jam AI sponsor

title page for global game jam
(Image credit: Global Game Jam)

Various developers have spoken out against this year's Global Game Jam (GGJ) list of diversifiers and sponsors which incudes two AI tool websites. 

A Polish game developer, Sosowski, took to Twitter/ X to voice his disdain over the latest list of diversifiers at GGJ. "[I] didn't expect [GGJ] to be this tone-deaf," the developer admitted. 

Another indie game developer, Rami Ismail, explained on Twitter/ X that while "I understand needing sponsors to run an event that tries to do good, I really do - I get it. This is an incredibly unfortunate example, though, and I'm not sure any amount of income can offset the reputational damage here, especially amidst the student & dev audiences GGJ serves." 

The Global Game Jam is a nonprofit that was set up with the goal of giving indie developers a space in which to create and show off their games and designs. It's a place where many devs can come together to experiment and meet new people in a safe environment. 

The diversifiers are also an important part of GGJ as they act as sponsors for the event. "Diversifiers are a great way to add more fun or a challenge to your jam weekend," the official GGJ website explains. "Sometimes they can be very helpful to limit your scope or refine your ideas. It can help your game stand out from the crowd, and you can choose up to 4 when you submit." However, the website goes on to explain that these are totally optional additions that you can use and add to your GGJ game alongside the main focus of the theme. 

This year devs can use two AI tools in the GGJ. The first is ReadSpeaker, an AI plugin that can add "dynamic runtime voice dialogue, enhance player immersion, and make your games more inclusive," according to the GGJ website. There is also Leonardo.Ai, a tool that can enhance or generate images and 3D textures using AI. 

One of the biggest creators of free indie game assets, Kenny, spoke out against these tools on Twitter/ X: "I think what's the worst about Global Game Jams' questionable sponsors is that the event is held at schools and attracts a lot of young developers. Give them proper resources, please."

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Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.