Legal: Relating to the law.
Ethical: Relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these.
As video games gain more popularity in the years, the technology to make these games become better to make them more realistic, thus highlighting many ethical issues. A lot of the time in most games, there is a sensitive controversy on topics. One of the most common being video game violence. This can include criminal activity, graphic violence, gory scenes, nudity, sex and sexism, racism and anything that could be considered too aggressive. Many would use the excuse that it’s video games that are turning people violent and pumping aggression into children and adolescent minds however no research has actually proven this to be correct.
Another ethical issue in a game could be stereotyping. This can be towards gender, race, disability, age, class, etc. It’s a true fact that men play more video games then woman therefore games are targeted towards them for a wider audience, but especially in recent years the numbers are evening out and are now not biasing to one gender. This includes making female characters to be more respectful than a walking and dumb-talking big-chested air-head as many video games have done in the past. Such as the game ‘Tomb Raider’ in which they had to change the character design of Lara Croft as her outfit was originally to revealing.
To give parents a warning of what age-rating the game is, the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) was created. It prevented children from picking up the game that may have been deemed unsuitable or inappropriate for them.
Another Ethical issue in video games is if they are Educational or not, and if what they’re teaching can cause a positive or negative impact. Games that have been deemed educational have been put into a different category that isn’t just for the purpose of pure entertainment.
Addiction can be a pretty serious issue. If the game entices you to spend long hours it could cause potential damage to the player, especially if they’re staring at a screen constantly. It is a major concern in the video game industry as an addiction is not what they intended to have in their game however do want the players to enjoy it. Yet the constant gaming could cause the player to become withdrawn from society and miss social opportunities.
Copyright (©) is one a big aspect in the legal side of the gaming industry. Copyright is a legal way to protect the owners work which gives the author full authority of usage, publication, distribution and other owner rights. This allows no one to steal nor closely copy your work, such as if you had a two manual working brothers trying to save a princess in a mushroom kingdom – it could be seen as a violation to Nintendo’s copyright.
IP (Intellectual Property) is the result of creativity, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.
A trademark is a recognisable and distinctive symbol used by someone (or a company) – typically a name, design, word, phrase, and/or image. Trademarks can be identified by the following symbols:
™ (For an unregistered trademark, used to brand and promote.)
℠ (For an unregistered service mark, used to promote brands.)
® (For a Registered trademark)
An owner may take legal action if their trademarked work has been violated and/or stolen by unauthorised use – this includes a law suit.
Health warnings aren’t shown as massively on video games as they are on films. Both will show a few frames of a ‘Caution’ or ‘Warning’ with a description of the potential hazard such as flashing images in case the viewer has photosensitivity/epilepsy or extreme gore and jump-scares in case of weak stomach/heart, etc.