No Player is Ideal: Why Video Game Designers Cannot Ethically Ignore Players’ Real-World Identities
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.
Neely, Erica. “No Player is Ideal: Why Video Game Designers Cannot Ethically Ignore Players’ Real-World Identities.” ACM Computers and Society, Vol. 47, Issue 3, 2017, pp. 98-111.