Contracts in the Gaming Industry

Contracts are agreements between 2 or more parties which are based around and enforced by the law, if you were to break this contract you would most likely be breaking the law and end up in court. Contracts are almost always written down as proof of it ever existing.

They’re many different kinds of contracts:

Employment Contract:  The contract you would sign when getting a job some where. This contract would have you agree to all the regulations set in place by the employer so if you break them you could be fired.

NDA (None Disclosure Agreement): This is a contract you would sign when working on a project that isn’t public, it would either limit or completely stop you from being to speak about it openly. You also sign these when testing early build games.

Development Contract: This is a contract between a developer and a publisher, it will cover who gets what out of the profits, production on sequels, what would happen if either party is dissatisfied.

Distribution Contracts: These would be between the Publisher and Distributor, it would cover the release date, special editions, collectibles and exclusive content.

Advertising Contracts: This would be between the developer and the publisher, they would use the contract to agree on things such as the style. how much they will spend on the advertising, what kind of content the advertising will have and who will be doing it.

An example of a contract being broken and being taken to court would be the Fallout MMO case between Interplay and Bethesda , where they were fighting over who had rights to its IP. They were also claiming that releasing the Fallout Trilogy pack would have caused confusion since it included Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics instead of Fallout 1, 2 and 3. In the end Bethesda payed $2 million for Interplay to end their claims against it.

I believe contracts are a very good thing as they assure that all the parties will do as they promised and if they don’t they will be able to do something about it.

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Legal Issues in the Gaming Industry

When making a game you have to make sure that you are not breaking the law by copying a product that already exists whether you intended to or not, but you also want to make sure that no one out there can copy or steal your product idea.

You do this through claiming the following:                                                           Copyrights                                                                                                                                 Trademarks                                                                                                                               Patents                                                                                                                                           Design rights

Copyrights are when you claim the rights to  a certain product.             Trademarks are when you claim the rights to a franchise or title that represents the product.                                                                                                   Patents help protect the way your product works so no one can copy it can claim that it is different through slight things like a different name or color.                                                                                                               Design Rights let you claim legally that you were the one to come up with the design of the product.

A case of copy right infringement in the gaming industry that happened a few years ago was EA who sued Zynga for making a game that was “a complete clone of Sims Social,” which was named The Ville, they also claimed that they strategically hired 3 of their executives for the sole purpose of making the “clone,”

zynga01

As you can see they’re almost identical so you can see why EA filed this suet.

A recent new trademark that has been brought up was King (The Developer and Publisher of Candy Crush) who claimed the trademark of the word “Candy,”  which he claims is too try and stop outright copycat games that are trying to ride on the success of Candy Crush, however it is also obvious that some innocent games will end up getting in trouble because of this, and they may not have the resources to be able to defend themselves.

An example of a Patent infringement would be the counter sue that Microsoft pulled off on Datel. Datel where trying to sue Microsoft for “deliberately harming competition,” so Microsoft tried suing them for copying the designs of the Xbox controller. In the end they settled their lawsuits and both parties were satisfied with the outcome although the outcome has not been made public.

(Need a design infringement)

I personally believe that these things come with good reason, as you don’t want someone to take something you own. How ever as with all good things they can be exploited for profit and all these probably are, well they aren’t exploited but are taken out of hand, like King claiming the word Candy shouldn’t have been accepted as it is a very common word in the world and in the gaming industry as well.

Ethical Issues in The Gaming Industry

Ethics are a thing that every industry have to keep in mind when producing a product. Ethics are basically topics which are controversial and based mostly on an opinion or belief on what is right or what is wrong.

This means that when you are producing a game you  will have to keep in mind things that would offend or insult people. However they are some people who produce games for the sake of being controversial and they hope for a massive reaction from people and the media.

The main Ethical topics of the gaming industry are:                                            Violence                                                                                                                                          Sexual Content                                                                                                                          Racism                                                                                                                                                The Sexualisation of Women                                                                                            Game Addiction                                                                                                                          Freedom of Speech (Can you really do what you want?)

Violence in video games is often told to make the people who play the games more violent, this debate will probably never be proven either way but it will still continue for the life time of games. Because of this game developers have to keep in mind how violent they want  there games to be and just how much gore they want in it.

Call of Duty and GTA are the games which the pin is usually placed on for blaming real life crimes on video games as they’re the most popular games on the market, and since they’re shooters it’s easy to blame any violent acts on them. But it is true that most popular games out there are violent and this may have a link with what our society is interested in.

An Example of the violence in video games effecting the industry would be the case of a shooting in Russia which led to the government looking at their laws on the distribution and the censorship of their games, they came close to banning video games with any violent content. This was because the shooter was seen to have loved the game ManHunt.                                                                                       (Full article here http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/mcvuk/stream/~3/wrPkudz7IxA/0106212)

Total Biscuit who is a popular YouTube content creator has made a video about this making quite a few points about the topic of violence  in video games and violence in reality. He shows statistics such as the crime rate related to the release of the most controversial games.

Total Biscuit is a gaming critique so he will definitely be biased to this side of the argument  however that does not make everything he say false, he did a lot of research before making the video and got facts before adding his own opinion to the topic, his opinion is the same as mine, in the way that Violence in video games is not going to turn someone violent, however someone who already is violent may be influenced by it.