Video games and Ethics

Photo by John Sting (

When the topic of games is brought up. immediately the thought is how fun games are to play, as well as reminiscing of many childhood games played. With many thinking of the games they grew up playing, video games bring joy to many people, with the development of technology we have also seen the improvement in the creation of games. We have gone from video games being played from console connected to the tv to on the go, with smart phones. Over the years smart phones have shown many improvements becoming more powerful, with more powerful devices come with improve games available to users at a few swipes of a finger.

many developers along with businesses have seen the potential and have acted upon it with higher quality mobile games. A new design included with mobile games is an option for micro-transactions, many of these games will be marketed as free to play. Allowing all users to experience the game with the idea that users are paying what they feel the game is worth, the benefit of this is that it doesn’t exclude users they may be hesitant to pumping money into the game, allowing the users who what to do so.

With the popularisation of mobile games such as “Candy Crush” even more attention was directed towards mobile app games. Not so as to how great these games were, although they were fun games. Many stories of children running up crazy bills on these games. A lot of news reports were based on the fact that children were playing these games making many purchases, and a trend with these purchases were that the initial purchase may have been for a small amount. They were done repeatedly to the point where it added up to a huge amount. Some parents were able to get a refund others not so lucky; the EU did actually pass a law combatting free-to-play games that targeted children.

Although the law passed was a good thing, I doubt some of these games target audience are children, there are some cases where they are aim at children but for the majority. They have a different target audience, as children don’t have payments card or accounts to be making all these purchases. This brings me to business that don’t do such a great job running on free-to-play model. Along with others where you can question their ethics and how they run these games. An example of how this experience can feel is having a very watered down game, where most of the content along with any other form of progression is locked behind a huge wall and the only way to get through this wall is to throw some money at it. You start to get the feeling that you are being force to pay money to enjoy the game.

So what are some of the items you can get form micro-tractions? This varies depending on what game you play, with some games it allows you to play the game a bit longer, getting certain things done instantly. With others you have a small chance of getting a rare variation of a weapon, or other similar items. The chance of getting these items are so low, you can basically call it luck when you do, this paired with the way you get a chance to try obtain a rare item can be a bad combination. If you take a person who considering themselves as unlucky getting a rare item, this can give them a rush. Why not try their luck some more. Now with free-to-play games there is a term that describes the big spenders this being Whales nothing against people who can actually afford to spend as much as they want on these games, but there are some players that add cuts to their lives to just have a little bit more to spend in-game. This is can start off pretty harmless but can quickly turn into an addiction, skipping meals “maybe this time round I’ll get that item” to dipping into the savings. There are many examples out there of the extremes people will go to fund their habits.

The link below further explains in detail of a person experience of this.

I feel that there are a many game publishers that look for whales, and design games in a way to attract as many as they can, in hopes of trying to exploit them, make as much money as they can for however long they can. From the producers point of a view its just business, but some of the produces of these games prey on those that are vulnerable, such as a person who is depressed or players who find communities in the games and they try so hard not to let down. It’s like the producers of these games are not trying to make fun games anymore,but only thinking of ways to parting players of their money.

The next link is an interesting read from a producers view.

I do believe that are many free-to-play games out there that are done right, they try to give players a fun experience along with players wanted to spend money on the game instead of being forced to spend money. If a lot more business they follow this there will be a better market place with a lot of game that offer a enjoyable gaming experience, I hope you enjoyed the read.