Ethical Design: Are Most Social Games Just Virtual Slot Machines?

2 Mar 2010 - 3:56pm
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Posted in:
susandoran
2010

This interesting post on games that you pay for...which essentially play themselves and don't require user interaction.

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/TadhgKelly/20100126/4239/Ethical_Design_Are_Most_Social_Games_Just_Virtual_Slot_Machines.php

On the surface this may sound perfectly reasonable to you. Every game developer wants their game to be played, preferably addictively, because it’s so awesome. The concept of addiction in that sense is the same as someone addicted to watching Stanley Kubrick films, or engaged in the sub-culture of Star Trek (to an extent). Addiction in that vein means interest, passion and true engagement. However what Randy is (unintentionally I think) relating in the above quote is not the addiction of engagement through awesomeness. Instead it is the addiction of compulsiveness.
The social game development community has been exercising a willing blindness to the qualitative aspect of the addiction that it is trying to spread. Much as it did when it took up with the obviously lead-gen based offers systems only to fall foul of scam accusations later, there’s a real sense of the elephant in the room around the whole social application industry, and that elephant is called “ethical design”.
What do you think?
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