I am always glad to see more people blogging! and in the spirit of Pol's very good first post I want to point out that I mostly agree here, but as an aspiring IP law crank I find this bit troubling:

On the other hand, some will argue that a true radical game cannot be made through capitalist production processes (arguably true), and therefore call for gamedevs to make truly radical games: with no funding, with no IP/fully open source, not sold on the market. Such morality calls directed at people who make a living by selling games and also intend for people to play their games and have built a sense of their craft among a community of peers that is inseparable from the market are trite nonsense (imo!), and themselves a form of DISCOURSE that is more concerned with abstract morality posturing than the articulation of a political project with concrete impact and actionable steps.

I'd be interested, I guess, in cases where people are actually doing this? This sentiment feeeeeels in the genre of a variety of complaints I've seen recently that are aimed at free things, bad things, unmarketable things etc as either literally or rhetorically mucking up the works and deflating the financial/aesthetic/moral/political/etc value of the cultural field in general. I think this leans dangerously close to getting mad at something that basically does not exist in any empowered or meaningful sense (Jason Rohrer infamously tried to un-public domain work that he released to the public domain as soon as a port of his game for the Chinese market used the code and assets in question, which I think is evidence that in general people do not understand what working outside of IP law would actually look like).

Momentarily feeling this way is fine so long as you can localize it to one irritating person online, but framing it as a threat in terms of political inertia I think underestimates the degree to which the mainstream is oriented towards completely eradicating any free, non-professional, non-commercial, non-IP-oriented ways of making and distributing work right now. Which is to say my position is basically that we are obligated to assert the value of these practices, right now, regardless of how we personally get paid or the role IP and platforms play in our own work.

That it's not well understood how or why people do these things, and that simply asserting its value is often received as a radical statement of moral judgement against professionals is a symptom of how bad the situation is over the past few years, I think! These approaches have to coexist conceptually if we're going to move from one to the other (or even work towards a world where people have more of an option of doing so), and I don't think there's necessarily an ideological or political problem with that (I'm uninterested in morals in this case, lol).

It's interesting to bring up a sense of craft and community as something that exists and is developed in the professional sphere, since people like Lana Polansky have observed that the identification and consolidation of a variety of independent, artistic, hobbyist, etc game and software making practices into a homogenized "indie game" commodity that can be plugged into specific commercial storefronts as content has basically served to erase knowledge of and access to this particular moment's pre-history. In this case, the specific communities and approach to craft that existed in these different niches have all been shoved together, and the "community" and "craft" here are moreso received from the industry than emerging organically or situationally, even if it feels that way on the inside. It's very illustrative of what I mean.

I worry about people using the excuse of paying their bills or operating in a space of their peers (which again, are sympathetic and reasonable things to desire, I feel like I have to re-articulate because every time I bring this up people seem to act like by just broaching these issues I am taking an all-or-nothing position!) to become a bit too precious or sentimental about this situation in a way that precludes imagining anything differently and realistically engaging with those possibilities. I think pointing out that, for example, IP law operates primarily in perverse incentives that do the opposite of protecting artists' rights and rewarding creativity, or that currency is a sort of double-alienation which returns our innate capacities to us in an incomplete form but also a form only legible within capitalism is obviously very different from telling someone they HAVE to work a certain way, and even people making deliberately provocative statements along those lines are rarely in a position to do anything to you personally about it; it's most often people who have been excluded from commercialization and professionalization due to physical capability, social status, the nature of their work, etc, in the first place.

Arguments that critique (which is not necessarily moral culpability), especially from people who do not have access in these areas can meaningfully drag down people who are already working as professionals strike me as strange, like, if we're worried about inertia, isn't it typically observed to be the other way around? I think we need to let go of the prescriptiveness and defensiveness just a bit to really be able to examine what norms are imposed by professionalization, and existing distribution, education, community, criticism and IP standards, especially if we want to change them.