Texas Video Game Publisher Moving His Diverse Family To Canada, Thanks To Trump
Video game developer Mike Wilson – co-founder of video game publisher Devolver Digital, film maker, and prominent Texas citizen — is making good on a promise many have threatened, but few have actually carried through with. He and his family are moving to Canada because of the election of Donald Trump. Wilson told the Dallas News:
I’m an entrepreneur, so I do actually follow through on a lot of things that I say that other people just talk about. But I don’t think other people believed that I meant it.
They can believe it now. The family’s home has been sold and the move to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia is scheduled.
Wife Melissa Foresaw The Threat To Diversity.
Wilson has more reason than most to escape Trump’s onerous, prejudiced policies. His wife, Melissa, is Native American. As the situation at Standing Rock intensified last fall — ultimately culminating in Trump’s approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline — Melissa extracted the promise from her husband that, if Trump won the election, they would move to Canada. Wilson explained:
Mind you, this was when none of us believed [the election] was going to go that way. I guess she was afraid that like 99 percent of people that were saying that, we wouldn’t really do it.
The children of the family also face increased difficulties under this administration. The oldest daughter is gay. While she is choosing to stay in the liberal enclave of Austin, Texas — at least for now — the option to join her family in Canada at some point is an attractive one.
The ascension of Betty DeVos as Education Secretary also raises issues for the video game developer. Wilson was already worried that the overcrowding in his son’s public school was detrimental to the boy’s education. Funding for educational needs is now likely to get a whole lot worse.
Wilson said :
We’ve been really lucky in business and I’ve paid a lot of taxes over the last 15 years, and at some point I want to pay taxes into a system that I believe in, where the money is actually going toward things like education and healthcare.
He’s blunt in acknowledging that he didn’t get to where he is by himself. When he and his wife were starting their family, they were poor. There were times when they had to rely on public assistance:
The things that helped me achieve the American dream were socialist programs. That’s what I believe in, is giving people a chance.
The video game entrepreneur has done his share of offering chances. When Trump issued his initial travel ban, targeting Muslims and their countries, Devolver Digital offered booth space for any affected video game developer who couldn’t travel to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. The company issued this invitation on Twitter:
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) February 2, 2017
Video Game Industry Ventures Into Activism.
Wilson’s company is also partnering with others to sponsor #Resist Jam, an online jam created to resist authoritarianism. According to the event’s initial media release:
#ResistJam is an online game jam about creating games that resist oppressive authoritarianism in all its forms…
It differs from most game jams in that we’re providing mentorship and workshops from experienced members of the game industryto make sure that as many people as possible can participate, no matter their skill level. Our objective is to empower jammers to make amazing and powerful games by focusing on diversity and inclusion.
Clearly, Mike Wilson is a man committed to his principles, as well as someone who would like to show others a way forward. While he insists that he and his family will always be Americans, he is one among countless others who are worried about the country’s future. As he has learned in business, what worked in prior decades isn’t the answer for the future:
You have to evolve and change, or you’re left in the past.
But if the situation in America becomes “dangerously bad” — as it’s threatening to do under the Trump administration — he wants to be a sort of beacon to others:
Hopefully we will have demonstrated and provided a bridge for people who are thinking about doing this but think it might be too hard.
Mike Wilson provides a lesson and a warning: while Trump obsesses on who is being let into this country, the United States is likely to experience a brain drain and the fleeing of creative talent.
But who, in our current government, is astute enough to grasp the fact?
Feature photo, video game publisher Mike Wilson, from Facebook page.