Addiction. Toxicity. Personal data leaks. Not the best keywords to be associated with your leisure activity, right? Yet, these labels have long become a social media staple when describing gaming. 

Well, change is on the way. The last year saw the advent of ethical gaming, both as a practice of mindful digital coexistence and a new level of game design standards. Today, games like Quandry are a gamifying concern for others. Forbes has begun discussing the importance of ethical decision-making in the Metaverse. Arise, part of the Gamesforchange.org portal, is a game focusing on reliving people’s stories and experiences.

So, what are the characteristics of ethical gaming, and why is it destined to capture a $30.22 trillion share of the global ESG investment market — and what role is blockchain to play in it?

Ethical gaming: building a sustainable experience

To start with, let’s explore the key features of ethical gaming.

1. Doesn’t promote addiction

Sadly, many developers capitalize on players’ FOMO and dopamine addiction. Daily rewards, battle passes, time-limited events, encouragement of grinding — and this is not an exhaustive list of tools used to maximize players’ engagement. 

According to the principles of ethical gaming, introducing new game content should not exploit players’ psychological vulnerabilities.

2. No extortion of donations

With many gaming titles being free-to-play, monetization strategy has shifted towards in-game transactions. Per se, it isn’t unnatural — after all, developers’ work needs to be compensated. Still, this business model often lies on the border of unethical. According to numerous reports, loot boxes or paid content provide users significant game advantage, so this revenue generation turns into extortion of donations. 

A rapidly emerging alternative is the blockchain-based Play-to-Earn and similar models. At its core lies the belief that every time spent has its opportunity cost, so there are monetary rewards. 

3. A transparent and respectful use of personal data

It’s no secret that gamers’ data is often gathered, structured, analyzed, assigned to personal profiles, and sold to marketing companies — and many of them are unaware of it. After all, how many of you have ever read the user agreement sheet? 

Open-source software addresses the misuse of personal data. And, in its turn, developing and playing blockchain dApps that underwent a technical audit is a robust, next-level solution that offers complete transparency.

4. Social and ecological impact 

At best, ethical gaming may pursue the goal of edutainment — educating through playing, at least on some level. For example, the game’s plot may be related to ecology or other social issues, raising awareness of the problem among the audience. Moreover, the game itself may prompt you to make ethical choices, as does Forbes’ most important game of 2022

Those projects who want to take a step further can undertake direct action — for example, donating a percentage of profits to charity organizations or offering their application as a platform for activism. Finally, if the game is blockchain-based, it should not utilize an environmentally costly Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism.

5. Diversity and respect

Ethical gaming should recognize the needs of players and developers from different backgrounds and promote mutual respect. It is vital to support culturally sensitive infrastructure development. Such infrastructure may become a toolkit for future on-chain ethical decentralized applications targeting various ethnic, cultural, and religious communities.

Haqq blockchain: giving a boost to ethical gaming

Blockchain is compared by many to the Internet in terms of importance and transformative impact on many industries, gaming included. It uses cryptography to provide transparency, control, and reliability of every transaction.

Haqq Blockchain (Haqq  – Arabic for ‘truth’) is a decentralized network developed by ICNetwork Ltd. It was built to become the basis for applications within and beyond finance, including games, social platforms, educational projects, and more. 

As a Proof-of-Stake blockchain network, Haqq doesn’t take its toll on the environment. The PoS consensus mechanism allows Haqq holders to participate in the network consensus alongside validators and earn rewards for securing the network.

The project is focused on bringing a profound change: 10% of each issuance of ISLM, the native token of the system, is automatically set aside for charitable purposes, Shariah-compliant, ethical ventures, and innovative projects for the international Islamic community.

Summing the above, Haqq is an ideal network to host future solutions for ethics-focused developers and gamers that look to create and enjoy sustainable experiences. With fast throughput, instant finality, and transparency, it provides an ideal toolkit for ethical content in the digital age.

Conclusion

As gaming rapidly permeates other leisure activities, there is little doubt that it is destined to be the most popular one. 

In the early days of the Internet, the industry was justifiably considered not too ethical, but today there is a demand for change. With positive changes in both the way gamers behave online and the standards of game design, as well as the emergence of ethical ecosystems like Haqq, it is safe to conclude that ethical gaming can become one of the most impactful industries of the future.

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British born administrator and developer helping serve and promote open source content to the MMORPG development community since 2001.