In today’s video gaming news, learn more about how war games are a big part of video game success in the industry, but is it ethical to make and play them? Meanwhile, Andrew Wilkie, a prominent anti-gambling advocate in the Australian Parliament, seeks support for a new bill. He desires to prohibit the sale of loot box-containing video games to minors. Lastly, Elden Ring is one of the major video game success stories of 2022, but now its developer, FromSoftware, is making headlines owing to rumors of pressure and low pay at its production office.
War Games—Are They Moral?
Original Source: Is it ethical to make — and play — war games?
Last night I killed a man. I shot him three times. I hit his shoulder instead of his skull. Staggering. I aimed. Shot him in the chest. After he fell backwards, I shot him in the stomach.
Of course, I didn’t do this. In 2022’s third-person shooter Sniper Elite 5, I did it. As you may have guessed, I’m not good at it. Gaming is enormous business. Before the pandemic, the sector’s revenues exceeded those of the cinema industry. That business includes war games. Spacewar!, founded at MIT in 1962, was about war, as are many of today’s top-selling games.
For years, the UK games sector has claimed that its economic, cultural, and commercial weight has not earned it recognition. However, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM now dedicate programming to video game soundtracks, and the medium is regularly discussed on the nation’s flagship cultural programs. War Games, a new exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum, explores video games.
Is it acceptable to spend evenings and weekends pretending to shoot people, as panellists at an IWM event I chaired asked?
The gaming industry has always had an uneasy relationship with these questions, preferring either to invent fictional alien races for players to shoot at or, failing that, to set their games during the second world war, since it’s generally understood that any complex ethical concerns about violence can be put to one side if the people you’re shooting work for the Third Reich. As games become more realistic, even that becomes uncomfortable.
The science on video game violence is settled: playing violent games does not cause aggressive behavior. Because many individuals have an innate moral sense that what you do in a video game says something about you, the assumption that there is a correlation endures. I choose to support my friends and allies in “choice-based” video games because, as absurd as it seems, I abhor gratuitous cruelty, even to virtual people.
Video games, like immersive theatre, are unique. The creator of an immersive play or video game can put a gun in your hand and make you pull the trigger, unlike a novelist or film-maker. Similarly, the FT’s video game offers you a much more immediate idea of what it’s like to fight a cyber attack than any paper or interview.
In the real world of “war games,” which defence strategists use to assess vulnerabilities and measure team response to threats, what you do in a game tells us something about who you are in real life. Because we believe that how participants react in an organized war game tells us how they would react in a real military conflict, we can draw conclusions about how cyber operations affect nuclear exchange risk.
Of course, most video games don’t simulate war. Kenny Duffy, a Falklands war veteran, described his experiences as “90 per cent boredom and 10 per cent utter horror,” which is not what most game designers want. A 55-minute strategy exercise isn’t boring either.
As anyone who has played a board game with a mismatched couple can attest, how you behave in a fictional scenario does reflect your real-life behavior. While creating a war game may have no greater ethical implications than creating a war film, we can and should judge my weekday sniping, just as we would judge someone who watches Platoon every night.
Video games are everywhere and profitable, so they’re now being studied. But gaming’s success and impact mean gamers must learn to live with increasing scrutiny and self-reflection.
New Australian Bill Would Make Loot Box Games “Adults-Only”
Original Source: Video Games with Loot Boxes Would Be ‘Adults-Only’ Under New Bill in Australia
Loot boxes and comparable products in video games are being examined by Australia’s government, prompting the project. Players can buy treasure boxes to get weapons or talents.
Loot boxes are gambling in several nations. Because players don’t know what they’ll get until they get it. Some argue that everyone gets a reward and that buying the products isn’t necessary.
Loot boxes are considered gambling in Belgium and other nations. The UK and others aren’t so sure. Wilkie doesn’t want to wait for the funded parliamentary inquiry’s findings because he believes Australia needs reform.
Wilkie introduced his bill Monday. In it, he believes that loot box mechanisms prey on the same urges as gambling, turning children into gambling addicts. He wants any game with loot boxes or similar systems confined to anyone above 18, Australia’s legal gambling age.
He also wants warning labels about loot box gambling. Loot box games must also be rated R18+ or RC (refused classification) by the Australian Classification Board.
Video game creators are hampered by Australia’s “RC” ban. Digital retailers and distributors must verify the age of anyone buying a restricted game under the bill.
The bill is already gaining momentum in Australia’s Parliament. At least one MP, Liberal National Party’s Andrew Wallace, is signing it.
It’s probable the bill will pass quickly. Despite resistance from the gaming industry, safer and responsible gambling will prevail.
Several years ago, the Entertainment Software Rating Board refused to classify loot box games. At the time, the US and Canadian rating board based its decision on the lack of a consensus on loot box gambling.
The add-ons’ implementation and inclusion are similarly loosely controlled. This may cause global change. Video game developers have used loot boxes’ lack of oversight and unclear status to offer new in-game options.
Diablo Immortal shows why controls are coming. According to some, Activision Blizzard’s free-to-play video game’s loot boxes have required players to spend over $100,000 in upgrades to create strong characters.
The gambling company denies it. It also made record profits. Activision Blizzard made $24 million from Diablo Immortal, which gamers criticized for its aggressive in-game monetization, in two weeks.
Elden Ring Devs Compare Fromsoftware to Playing Dark Souls
Original Source: Elden Ring Developers Compare Working at FromSoftware to Playing Dark Souls
Elden Ring is one of 2022’s biggest video game successes, but FromSoftware’s allegations of crunch and low pay are making headlines.
FromSoftware’s latest game received critical acclaim and sold well. The game’s YouTube debut was one of the most successful ever.
Unfortunately, FromSoftware, like many AAA video game developers, was soon plagued by crunch, overtime, and low pay.
The discussion began in March after Elden Ring’s release. According to The Gamer, a few FromSoftware employees were using Career Connection, a Japanese job board, to complain about terrible working conditions and low compensation.
For background, Career Connection is a Japanese equivalent of Glassdoor, where current or former employees can review their firm to inform potential applicants about working conditions.
FromSoftware’s employee satisfaction rating is 2.6 out of 5 on Career Connection, with evaluations from 2012 to 2019. Low pay, 40 months of overtime per month, no maternity leave, and more are cited in employee reviews.
GamesIndustry.biz has unearthed more FromSoftware employee testimonies about working at the Elden Ring developer months after people started to notice the reviews of bad conditions. Multiple people told the report that FromSoftware does “some amount of crunching.”
Department-by-department, the studio’s crunch varies. According to GamesIndustry.biz, they rarely work overtime.
Another remarked, “During important periods of game releases, I often had to work early mornings and overtime for two to three months.”
Unlike other Japanese companies, overtime wages are merely half of their regular hourly rate, according to one source.
The studio’s inadequate salary was also mentioned by FromSoftware employees. According to one source, their “pay is not acceptable” and their coworkers felt the same. According to Career Connection, FromSoftware employees earn 3.41 million yen per year, or $25,000 USD.
Note that the yen is weak against the dollar right now, thus direct conversion from Yen to USD may not accurately reflect employee remuneration. Tokyo’s cost of living is higher than rest of Japan, although FromSoftware operates there.
Other FromSoftware employees reported working at the studio was fantastic despite some unfavorable accounts. One worker compared it to FromSoftware’s Dark Souls, stating, “It’s hard to get things perfect, but once you do, it’s satisfying. It’s like defeating a boss in Dark Souls.”
After Elden Ring’s success, Bandai Namco raised pay for all its staff, so we’ll have to see if FromSoftware raises developer pay.
Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News
Overall, the video game industry is thriving. Even before the pandemic, the industry’s profits were greater than Hollywood’s. War games are a vital component of this market. How about the morality of it all? The gaming industry has a tense history with questions like these, opting instead to feature aliens for players to kill or, failing that, to place their games in World War II because it’s generally accepted that complex ethical concerns about violence can be set aside if the people you’re shooting at work for the Third Reich. However, even that is starting to feel uneasy as games get more realistic.
On the other hand, a recent announcement indicates that the Australian government would investigate in-game loot boxes and similar features. With in-game currency, players can try their luck at opening loot boxes and perhaps obtaining rare goods like new weapons or abilities. Loot boxes have been deemed illegal as a form of gambling in some nations. For this reason, Andrew Wilkie, a prominent opponent of gambling in Australia’s parliamentary body, is lobbying for a new piece of law. Forbidding the selling of loot box video games to minors was top on his list of proposed regulations for the gaming industry.
Finally, Elden Ring is one of the most successful video games of 2022, but its developer, FromSoftware, is currently in the news owing to rumors of stress and low pay within the company. The discussion began in March, just after the release of Elden Ring. The Gamer was the first to notice that a number of FromSoftware employees were using the Japanese job board Career Connection to complain about terrible working conditions and low compensation. Following the success of Elden Ring, publisher Bandai Namco announced a pay boost for all of its staff, so we’ll have to see if FromSoftware follows suit by increasing pay for the game’s devs.