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Addictiveness by design casts ethical shadow over game designers

Photo © Rebecca Pollard, via flickr and Creative CommonsSeven of Victoria’s video-game studios recently launched new games. The games, which include TinyMob’s Tiny Realms and GameHouse’s new version of Slingo, highlight the industry’s growth in the region.

The 20 or so Victoria-based studios employ 240 people and spend about $25 million annually. Eight years ago, about 40 people worked in local game studios.

On a global scale, gaming revenues are predicted to grow to $78 billion in the next two years.

The industry’s growth mirrors that in other digital technology industries. As the Internet advanced in sophistication and conquered both the wider, geographic world and our personal time, so have video games.

We’ve come a long way, baby, from Pokémon, Doom and The Legend of Zelda.

Game designers have also become more sophisticated in attracting and retaining players.

In many games, designers intentionally manipulate players to keep them online and to keep them returning to play more, again and at higher levels. They design consequences into games to prevent players from stopping play, and build in rewards for players who stay in the game, move up to higher levels and to subscribe to advance the game….

Read the rest of this editorial at the Victoria Times Colonist….

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