Regulation in the games sector isn’t as robust as the gambling sector. However, the recent case of Valve accepting a game related to rape is now gaining the attention of the mainstream media and the public. A new debate about the responsibility of gaming companies and content creators and providers and placing gambling with their games is emerging in the national conscious.
The issue stems from Valve’s initial acceptance of Desk Plant Games’ new game- Rape Day. The developers described the game as comedy plot, but it didn’t work very well with the media and got a humongous press coverage as well. Hannah Bardell, British MP from Livingston, Scotland also talked about the issue during the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) question recently in the parliament. She noted that the government needs to review the development and hosting of these games.
She then wrote about the game on Twitter, “The content of this game is utterly sickening – it’s time for the UK government to undertake a full review into development and hosting of such abhorrent content. Rape & sexual violence should never feature in ‘games’”
It would be futile to disagree with Bardell’s statements as a serious issue like rape, and sexual violence should not be trivialized in games. For companies like Valve, it would be worthwhile to hire employees with a more hands-on approach at their storefront, especially since they hold a big chunk of the market. A large company making such a mistake makes others cast a dubious look on the entire industry. The Games industry also needs independent bodies which could enforce the removal of offensive titles from storefronts and restrict their sales within a country. There was also the issue of the Ubisoft refund policy which saw the French game maker receive a record fine.
The industry needs reviewers and possible government oversight to function without such terrible mistakes- regulation is evident.