Respect the Player

A presentation at GDC 2019 in in San Francisco, CA, USA by Catt Small

Ethics is a major topic of discussion in the tech industry today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other huge companies are coming under fire for catalyzing addiction and rewarding compulsive user behaviors. People spend hours on these websites and feel worse for doing so. However, the trend continues to grow without repercussion in the games industry—all in the name of user retention. Dark patterns are experiences that trick users into harming themselves, and like websites and apps, games are full of them. From indies to giants like Pokemon Go, people are being tricked into spending their data, money, and time without reward or value. I’ll discuss why dark patterns need to enter the video games lexicon and why we need to consider ethics in game development.