Ethics in Representation of Video Game Development

Published: 2021-09-13 22:15:11
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Category: Psychology

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Ethics in Representation of Video Game Development1.0 Introduction        The video game industry has had a long history and seen the development of games that exceed the expectations of gamers. Many see this as form of communication and leisure among individuals of all ages. It enhances player’s hand eye coordinations which are even used in flight and military training. (Gotterbarn, 2009, p. 370). Although games such as Grand Theft Auto have been proven to be filled with violence and racism, a different approach is taken. Instead of focusing on the users, it is worth diving into aspects of the games themselves. The ethics of game developers are observed and questioned.        This literature review examines this issue by looking at three aspects: microtransactions, gender representation and game ratings.2.1 MicrotransactionsNot all video games are available to the public for free, most usually come at a price. Therefore, the ethical aspects of purchasing such software products will be discussed. One obvious way for creators to ensure profit would be by selling the game to customers. Nenad (2017) notes that his would mean players had to pay a price to be able to experience the full game. This process is called a ‘microtransaction.’ “Microtransactions denote payments for purchasing applications for mobile phones or payments for purchasing the additional content for video games.” (Nenad, 2017, p. 241). Game developers often times use tricks such as offering a free trial for the game which bait players to play it or offer a game for free but fill it with advertisements. This pressures the player into paying for the full game or advertisement removal.King (2017) uses ‘Multiplayer Online Battle Arena’ (MOBA) game League of Legends to further discuss this. “In League of Legends, microtransactions allow players to purchase a type of currency called “Riot Points.” (King, 2017, p. 1367). Players commonly use Riot Points to purchase characters and skins for them. Following an in-game event called ‘Burning Tides’, developers decided to remove a character names Gangplank from the game. Many dissatisfied players complained on forums as they had paid for the character and skins already but got no refund. (King, 2017, p. 1369). In some cases, the game is designed in a way that would prevent it’s completion without payment. Such games can also be negatively publicized by the public due to their dissatisfaction and prevent others from purchasing it. (Nenad, 2017, p. 250). Players who make many microtransactions in multiplayer games also risk getting looked down upon by others because deemed not as skillful because they pay their way through the game. Children are also often times unaware of making microtransactions with real money due to platforms such as Steam that make it easy to complete such payments.

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