Video games are the most popular form of entertainment, an art form, and a cultural artifact.
Like any product they can impact their users (players). Yet games are more than just interactive products. They are a cultural space where a relationship is formed between the game creators and the players, and between players themselves. This relationship calls for game creators and publishers to agree on a set of values.
The impact games have on players can be of different nature: overall neutral, potentially positive, or potentially negative. While the positive impacts of certain video games can be celebrated, it is important for all game industry actors to understand the potential negative impact some video games can have on some of their players. We understand that achieving profitability is extremely hard, but it should not prevent game creators, publishers, and platforms from doing so in an ethical manner focused on benefiting both players and game industry workers. The game industry can flourish, and players can have fun, while we define together an ethical framework and identify ethical lines that should not be crossed.
Our hope is to collectively define a code of ethics for the game industry, serving as a guideline that we can follow. Our ultimate goal is for actors of the industry to agree to pledge to respect this code. The first step is thus to define guidelines together, and below is a first proposed draft. We want this initiative to be scientifically driven and as evidence-based as possible, which is why we are first calling for academic researchers to lead this effort.
This is a living document, meant for dialogue and which will evolve with the feedback received and future discussions. The following guidelines are not exhaustive and we hope that we can refine them together. The idea is to give a high level guidance on the important ethical considerations we must face and the resources to dive deeper on each aspect. We also hope that this document can serve as a bridge to the many organizations focusing on specific topics, so don’t hesitate to send us the resources that you know of if you do not see them mentioned in the “Learn more” section.
The code is currently divided in two main sections: guidelines for the benefit of players and the overall game community (with community, design, and business consideration), and guidelines for the benefit of game industry workers (with company values, protection of workers, and diversity and inclusion considerations).
We encourage you to give us your feedback on this code of ethics (whether you are from the game industry or its ecosystem, a scholar, a player, a parent…), since this is meant to be a collective effort.
Guidelines for the benefit of players
and the overall game community
Community & Events
Player Safety in Online Multiplayer Games
Game Design & Content
Marketing, Business Intelligence & Monetization
Protection of minors
Guidelines for the benefit of game industry workers
Diversity & Inclusion
WhO WE ARE
Many people have participated in the elaboration of this first draft, and many more have given precious feedback. The objective is to ultimately provide evidence-based guidelines whenever possible, which is why academic researchers are sought to lead this initiative. We cannot acknowledge everyone who has participated so far, but if you would like to know more about the origins of this initiative, please contact us or read this Gamasutra article.