What’s the Difference? SaskGameDev vs SaskInteractive

It can be pretty confusing knowing who does what in Saskatchewan, and even just knowing all the different players in the creative and tech space in Saskatchewan. To help we created the three part video series The Creative Tech Ecosystem in Saskatchewan to help explain some of it. But for those of you that are looking for a text source, we thought we’d expand on it with a little primer about the biggest confusion we find people having – the difference between SaskGameDev & SaskInteractive.

A Comparison

Gov’t Funded
Gov’t Mandated
Covers all Interactive Digital Media
Supported by Creative Saskatchewan
<300 members
Tasked with informing government policy
Has provided almost no promotion to creators in the province
Has provided almost no professional assistance to creators in the province
Has provided almost no industry information to creators in the province
Has organized or run almost no events for digital creators in the province
Has provided paltry sponsorships and supports for industry events
Has well-paid staff
Rarely engages with the community/industry
Little to no professional background in the creative industry
Little to no professional background in the nonprofit sector
Has repeatedly failed its legal obligations

No funding
Volunteer Initiative
Personal Initiative
Focused on Game Development
No Supporting Organizations/Affiliations
>400 members
Tries to inform government policy voluntarily
Regularly helps get media coverage for gamedevs
Regularly provides mentorship and assistance to creators in the province
Regularly provides and discusses industry information with creators in the province
Has organized or run numerous record-breaking events for creators in the province
Has internally funded numerous industry and public events
Is all volunteer run
Is engaged daily with the community/industry
Led by one of Saskatchewan’s most experience game developers
Led by a highly experienced nonprofit leader
Has not failed its legal obligations

The State of Things

We aren’t happy about this state of affairs. We’re proud of what we’ve done, but we had hopes that our government-funded agency would be more useful, more professional, and achieve more positive good. Unfortunately SaskInteractive has failed its duties morally, ethically and legally in numerous ways, repeatedly, for years on end. We’re trying to help make positive change happen at SaskInteractive to help improve the situation for game developers, and other creatives, in the province.

The origin of a lot of the big problems with SaskInteractive has been the lack of oversight, transparency and accountability. Up until this year it never provided its financials publicly, but after three years of fighting for them they finally posted, only some of, their legally required financial disclosures. As the records show the financial management of the organization has been a mess and raises serious questions about the conduct of staff and oversight of the board.

Beyond finances we also have learned that the organization cannot indicate at any time in its history that it’s AGM (annual general meeting) ever met quorum. This means that there was never enough members present for the meeting for it to be considered legally valid. An AGM is where members are provided information about the organization and are given the opportunity for oversight, and importantly the chance to elect from among the members people to serve on the board. With having never reached quorum, no valid elections have ever been held in the organization. Without quorum no member oversight has ever occurred. The board have for years simply appointed from among themselves, given themselves undeserved powers, ignored the community, and congratulated themselves on doing so. Meanwhile the community has been completely detached, not involved in the process, poorly served, and largely unaware of what SaskInteractive could or should be doing.

How You Can Help

To move forward we want to see transparency, accountability and oversight. To make that happen we have to get people involved, and we need facts to be laid bare. This way things can be honestly and fairly evaluated and the people that should be being served are aware of the situation, and are given the opportunity to give feedback that also results in action and changes. The first step is getting a legitimate AGM held. For this we need as many interactive digital media creators in the province (especially game developers – professional, student or hobbyist) to sign up for SaskInteractive membership (do so here: https://saskinteractive.com/membership/membership-benefits-plans/) then they need to attend the AGM at 1pm on Saturday September 25th (register on Eventbrite here).

This is the second attempt at an AGM, when the first on August 16th “failed to reach quorum” though SaskInteractive couldn’t produce a credible and legitimate membership list to base that decision on. Combined with holding the AGM during work hours (a noon on a monday), they made active choices that made it difficult for people to join, and made it impossible to verify the AGM’s attendance or member’s rights to vote. This egregious failure is not just incompetent and dangerous, but violates the law. We need creatives to get involved and stand up to this. The organization needs to be held accountable. We need to make sure it is. Joining in is how you can do that.

We can’t do it without you.