With video games becoming a new mass multimedia there is a lot of scrutiny over the ethics of gaming. Ethics is a set of moral principles that if followed ,not by law, but by what people think is right and wrong. game designers have to try and consider peoples moral principles and beliefs when designing video games because if there is any controversial content they will get berated by the media costing sales and money as well as their reputation.
the three biggest controversial ethical debates in video games to date are;
women portrayal in video games
since the beginning of the video game industry feminists believe that they have been objectified by video games. in early games women have been pictured as weaker which caused this controversy. so “are women being objectified by video games?”
once side of the argument is that women are being objectified in modern games. From being the helpless princesses in the castle to the heroin in Skimpy clothing feminist groups have been fighting a constant war against video games. An example of a controversial female character in video games is Lara croft from “tomb raider”. She is often seen from two perspectives. one being “a smart but beautiful role model for women” and the other being ” eye candy for boys and objectifying women”. Some say that princesses are objectifying women making them as some sort of collectible. The whole aim of the Mario games is to “save” the defenseless princess peach. this game objective has become the most powerful ammo in the feminists artillery against women in video games.
the other opinion on this ethical debate is that women aren’t being objectified and its simply a overreaction by over sensitive feminists looking for a popular topic to attack and get there opinions seen. women in modern games have become equal to men. an example of this is games like Dragon age or Fallout since women are seen as equals and not objectified as-well as the fact that you can play as a women. games have grown since the old “save the girl” side scrollers with branching relevant stories and deep character development.
violence in video games
When it comes to violence in video games people rather love it or loathe it. some people see video game violence as just another addition to gaming adding adrenaline and action to games while others s
violence in video games has become a massive argument of late due to the media constantly berating the industry, blaming violence in real life on violence in video games. the news has said that video games are the cause of mass shootings because the game was found the shooters home. this greatly damages the industry since one of the largest genre of games is action. Concerned parents are also attacking the industry about this claiming that video games have caused their children to become violent and aggressive. personally I believe its the parents fault for buying the children 15-18+ games before they reach a age where they’re not as impressionable.
micro transactions are becoming common-place in the games (mainly appearing on mobile games) causing large debates over the introduction of the “mini-payments” into the gaming norm. the ethical debate on this new marketing tactic is “Is it alright to spend hundreds of pounds of real world money for in-game money?”.
One side of this argument is that a person should be able to spend THEIR money on what they want because its THEIR money. we have no right to dictate how a person should spend their hard earned finances. People will often buy in game items in currency rather to speed up the games “time-based” mechanic to collect there items sooner or to get premium items such as weapons or clothing that hit harder, look cooler and to simply to show off to the gaming community. buying these micro transactions could also be seen as supporting the creators of the game since games with micro-transactions are often free meaning the only profit the company has coming in is from ad venue. i mean how much difference is there between purchasing an online sword to donating to a company on kickstarter to get a unique item?
The other side to this is that people shouldn’t be able to spend purchase micro transactions and companies are making micro-transactions mandatory to beat the game (pay to win). money is necessary to modern day life. Food, warmth, shelter all costs money so if a individual is spending all his money on video games its potentially life threatening as it takes money away from the day to day essentials. some see micro transactions as being forced upon us by greedy video game companies so we can complete the game we have already paid for. in MMORPG’s its worse because of the competitive of it all. people will buy a better weapon to beat there friend who will then buy a better weapon to beat him and so on.
my personal opinion on this debate is that micro transactions are a growing part of the gaming business no matter what we do. Micro-transactions are good in the case of free games because its giving money to the creator and could almost be seen as a form of donation. The form of micro-transaction i don’t agree with is big name games jumping on the band wagon. games that you have already paid for should not contain more payments. As for my opinion on people spending massive amounts of money for online games I believe, even though its probably help ruin there lives, its still their money and we have no opinion in the matter.
I see ethics in video games a “lose-lose” battle since along as there is one person who believes in different things, there will be controversies and ethical arguments. As long as the industry tries its best to try and not offend it’ll grow to a point where no-one will care and move onto another industry to complain about.