Title

No Player is Ideal: Why Video Game Designers Cannot Ethically Ignore Players’ Real-World Identities

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Abstract

As video games flourish, designers have a responsibility to treat players and potential players justly. In deontological terms, designers are obliged to treat all of them as having intrinsic worth. Since players are a diverse group, designers must not simply focus on an idealized gamer, who is typically a straight white male. This creates a duty to consider whether design choices place unnecessary barriers to the ability of certain groups of players to achieve their ends in playing a game. I examine the design implication of this for the gameworld, avatar design, and accessibility to players with disabilities. I also consider the limits of designers' control by examining responses to abusive player chat in multiplayer games. Ultimately, a careful balance must be found between what is necessary to create the game a designer envisions and what is necessary for treating all players as having intrinsic worth.

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