IGDA Logo from the organization's website
Over the past few weeks, the International Game Developers Association has been experiencing something of an upheaval focused around one of the directors. The entire situation has been somewhat of an embarrassment for the directors and the entire organization has been heading into some uncharted waters trying to find its way out of the morass.
At issue is Dr. Tim Langdell, an independent game designer and owner of EDGE Games. Until recently, EDGE Games had not released a new title in well over a decade. According to an email sent by some disgruntled members at the beginning of August, Dr. Langdell was using his position on the board of directors of the IGDA to push his company's agenda of what was described as SCO-like patent protection. The email claimed that EDGE Games had:
trademarked the word “edge” and they leverage this trademark against any media that contains this word–threatening legal action should their target not enter into a licensing arrangement with the studio. Such targets have included David Mamet’s film The Edge, Marvel’s comic book Edge, EA’s Mirror’s Edge, and Namco’s Soul Edge, which was released as Soul Blade and later, Soulcalibur in the west as a direct result of Edge Games’ actions. Most recently their actions have resulted in the removal of the indie game hit, Edge, from the iPhone app store.
Also according the email, in legal proceedings he had presented himself improperly as "a pioneer in the field of computer gaming and is widely publicized on the Internet and has been engaged as a legal expert in the field of computer gaming." The "concerned members" then provided a link to a petition to demand a special meeting of the organization to have Dr. Langdell removed from the board. Langdell posted a rebuttal to the accusations (located here).
Dr. Tim Langdell (IGDA Board's webpage)
The board was concerned that the membership information had compromised since the IGDA had not approved the letter and immediately sent out a notice to that effect to the membership at large. In a somewhat surprising move, however, the board authorized a special subcommittee to examine the rules and regulations for holding special communications. While the original email and petition drive were not official acts of the IGDA, the board chose to act responsively and, perhaps, pro-actively to avoid further disintegration of the group. That a special meeting has never been called speaks to how well the organization has delivered on its charter to date.
In the latest news announced today, the IGDA has decided on the structure and form of the special meeting. Meeting the needs of a geographically-diverse membership is challenging and the board appears to have found some solution to overcoming that particular obstacle. The main questions that remain at this point is whether or not a quorum of the membership will participate and, if they do, what the future of Dr. Langdell and his involvement in the IGDA will be.