At GDC 2018, a summit was held by the Fair Play Alliance that lasted an entire day. Its goal? For representatives of the 30 game companies involved to talk about toxic behaviors in gaming and how to curb and address it in various titles. It was an opportunity to plan and share ideas as they research toward making environments better for everyone. But, maybe we should see something else come from such conferences. Maybe it is time for games with online elements to get a universal code of conduct.
I mean, there are certain rules that apply to any gaming situation where there are online interactions. It would only make sense to have a universe code of conduct with the following rules applied. We have laws we follow in our daily lives. Why know have some for our online ones as well. Here are a few that could work.
Don’t be a dick.
This may sound a bit simple, but bear with me. There is no need for harassment in games. Sure, we rib one another for fun sometimes, but you do not need to stalk and grief strangers just to make yourself feel better. Using toxic slurs is not funny. It is just racist and makes yourself look both ignorant and insensitive. The Fair Play Alliance is planning to address toxic behavior in games, and being there to catch people who are aggressively and needlessly targeting others would be a must.
Here is one we can get behind in certain situations. If you are playing an online game and cheat when in a multiplayer match, you are being a jerk. Using exploits, trainers, aim assist, or other programs may make you feel like a god, but it ruins the game for everyone else. Most companies already have individual rules in their games deriding this kind of behavior. But the Fair Play Alliance should go a step further and have a code of ethics that officially says this is not cool and has punishments in play that are equal and identical across all games.
Don’t scam people.
This is one related to the whole “don’t cheat” rule. These two items are similar, but not identical. Because where cheating benefits yourself by using exploits, trainers, and similar methods to get ahead, scamming involves directly ruining someone else’s experience for your own ends. This is a problem in games like EVE Online and Sea of Thieves, where people can manipulate one another to get more rewards. Archeage and Final Fantasy XIV both had scams regarding land and housing. This is more of a MMO problem than anything, but companies taking a hard line regarding scamming with a coalition and making rules banning it in all games would be great.
Don’t rage quit.
Rage quitting is a problem in competitive games like Overwatch, CS:GO, League of Legends, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V and For Honor. While all of the examples above already have some sort of punishment in play to dissuade people from just abandoning a team or quitting a match because they are a sore loser, it would probably make a lot of people more comfortable if all companies adopted a code of conduct that included rage quitting. Since this is one of the lesser gaming sins, maybe even make it a gradual punishment system with explanations why rage quitting is wrong and bad for everyone. It could be used as an opportunity to help us all become better players.
Zero tolerance for illegal activities.
It is sad that we live in a world where illegal activities, like DDoS attacks, swatting and stealing personal account information, can be commonplace in games like FIFA 2017, Final Fantasy XIV, and Call of Duty. One of the best things that can come from this Fair Play Alliance is for the 30 companies involved to take a hard stance against these kinds of behaviors. If, after an investigation, someone is found to be responsible for an illegal activity, the company who owns that game should immediately ban their account from that game. If people know that every game is going to have the same consequences for illegal behavior and enforce punishment for violating that rules, it could make players safer.