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January 16, 2021
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We need to talk about Ethics.

by Andre Faure on 01/30/20 10:31:00 am

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.



I honestly hope you don’t identify yourself with what I’m going to discuss in the next paragraphs, but if you do, something is potentially wrong, and we are all subject to learning and getting better as persons and professionals.

The game industry is supposed to be a safe environment, without prejudice and malpractice from its companies and teams. Unfortunately, after 23 years working exclusively within this ecosystem, I’m sometimes taken by surprise by terrifying examples of toxic behavior, unfair and aggressive business relationships and being absolutely honest, attitudes that are mostly seen on high schools around the globe – we are all adults by know, we should know better.

Ethics is a strong buzz word, but what it means to be ethical? According to the BBC, at its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy.

We are getting a deeper significance here – it’s about moral. What is right, or at least, supposed to be right. From toxic behavior inside game studios, a subject that has been under scrutiny for a while, with a lot of work still to be done, moral also includes respecting contracts, having (at least) polite relationships and definitively not talking about individuals or organizations behind their back – especially if the message is negative, and event more serious if you are doing that to get advantage over your competition.


If you hire a service, treat your vendor with the same respect you’d treat your internal team. Respect agreements, and hold up to them only if things get out of control. Calling up a contract should only be done once 1) you tried your best to fix things in a friendly manner and 2) you respected the rite described in the paperwork. What I’m saying is – do not suspend a payment if you haven’t respected all the formal notifications and if that possibility is not described as a possible penalty. Everyone should do their parts, but hey, don’t make it personal – if you do so, any solution will be pretty hard to achieve.

Another terrible example is denigrating a competitor, or even a company you had a partnership with – there is no excuse for that. If you are asked for a referral of that company, be honest. “They delivered what was supposed to be delivered, but unfortunately we did not get the results we were expecting” is a great answer. Sometimes, the expectation of a relationship goes beyond what is on paper, and I have seen very bad examples of people trashing others just because they did not receive what they were expecting in their minds although all best efforts were made.

The bottom-line here is: we have, more than many other industries, the opportunity to work towards a fair, honest and safe community, and often we watch incidents that have no alignment with the actual output of our mission as an industry – create a better world through fun, interactive art. Ethics are a moral standard, and as everything in life, don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like to experience yourself.


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