Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Guideline for studios and publisher

As written in the introduction, what we propose here are labels that can be claimed by publishers to guarantee their customers some quality. So basically everyone proposing a game respecting these labels can simply ask for them, and receive either the Piggy Bank or the Book, or both.

The Book labels are somehow easier to follow. If your game is simply a game and might deal with something not ethical, like fighting, without any ethical or educational response, simply don't use a label. That does not mean that your game is unethical, but simply not addressing any ethical aspects. That could be important for parents to encourage them to watch what their children play, which they should always do!

The Piggy Bank labels are either simple or not:

- free games and Premium games (so with an initial price only) without in-app purchase or ads gets automatically the gold Piggy Bank.
- the same with IAP that gives additional content which is not needed by the game gets gold as well.
- the same with reasonable IAP and/or Ads get either silver (the price does not change much and the ads are very reasonable and can be removed) or bronze.
- freemium games can also get the three labels:
  • Gold if there is one or several one-time purchases, that are definitive (i.e. can be restored), reasonable ads that are removed once a purchase is done,
  • Gold too if the IAP are for clear additional content, definitive,
  • Silver if there are more in-app purchase or ads,
  • Bronze if there are no infinite in-app purchases and the ads are not impacting the gameplay. 

Simply said, a commercially ethical game should not cost too much to its customer. And in all cases shouldn't have the possibility to ruin its customer, like too many freemiums do!

So what about games with in-game economy, like Roblox, or freemium games such as Fornite, that would probably be quite costly with another model? It is much less of a clear cut, but as most of them are now, they shouldn't get a label without some safeguards for their customers.
Roblox and Fornite are quite ethical, you can play pretty much everything without paying something, and the in-app purchases are mostly reasonable. But you can spend a basically unlimited amount with both of them, and we believe it is not ok. Especially are both are very popular with kids.

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