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Prof. Andy Cullison '01 on the Ethics of Video Game Design

July 28, 2014

"Andrew Cullison is the director of the Janet Prindle Institute of Ethics at DePauw University and the secretary-treasurer of the American Philosophical Association's Eastern Division. Cullison, who develops video games in his spare time, has also taught classes on ethics and technology," notes a Polygon article.  The piece examines the potentially addictive nature of video games.

"I do think game developers have a moral obligation to think about their game design in light of recent evidence we have concerning the addictiveness," says Dr. Cullison, a 2001 graduate of DePauw. "It's easy to dismiss abuse of a product as a personal choice of the consumer, but as evidence of addiction for any product grows -- it becomes less clear how much choice is involved.

The professor adds, "What's more troubling about this phenomenon, is that the business model for games has changed in two important ways that make it very tempting for developers to try and create a game that is addictive. In-app purchase and subscription-based models are more lucrative if the consumer can't stop playing, as are free games that rely on cost-per-click advertisements. You only make money off your users if they keep coming back to play, and the more addicted they LGL 7006are to the game, the more likely you are to make money off their clicks."

Brian Crecente writes, "Cullison believes the growing trend and ability to make revenue from a single, heavily involved gamer has created a dramatic shift in how some game developers are thinking about game design."

Access the full article here.

Learn more about Andy Cullison in this previous summary.

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