The video game industry, a multi-billion-dollar entertainment juggernaut, has brought joy and innovation to millions worldwide. However, beneath its glittering surface, several issues mar its reputation and impact both the creators and consumers of video games.

Take this article with a pinch of salt. It is aimed to explore and make aware of some of the cases which the games industry is previously (but changing) known for.

The below statements are not a true statement for every company, but just examples to be aware of, especially if you are teaching games development, or encouraging a person to enter games, or are wanting to enter the games industry yourself. 

Many Merseyside/Liverpool games development studios encourage diversity and accept people for their talent as a priority.

  1. Crunch Culture: One of the most pervasive problems in the gaming industry is the “crunch culture.” This refers to the expectation that employees work excessively long hours, especially as a project nears completion. This practice not only leads to burnout and health issues among developers but also often results in a compromised quality of life. Despite growing awareness, crunch culture remains endemic in many gaming companies.
  2. Lack of Diversity and Inclusion: The video game industry has long been criticised for its lack of diversity. This manifests in three primary ways: the underrepresentation of women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ individuals in the workforce, and the stereotypical portrayal of these groups in games themselves. This lack of diversity can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and alienate large segments of the potential audience.
  3. Microtransactions and Loot Boxes: Many modern games feature microtransactions, where players can purchase in-game items with real money. This practice has been criticised for encouraging a pay-to-win model, undermining the skill and effort traditionally required to progress in games. Loot boxes, in particular, have been likened to gambling, as they often involve paying for a chance to win random in-game items.
  4. Game Addiction and Health Concerns: Video game addiction is a growing concern, with some individuals, particularly young players, showing signs of addictive behaviour in response to certain game mechanics. This addiction can lead to physical and mental health issues, including sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and social isolation.
  5. Exploitation of Indie Developers: While independent (indie) developers have brought fresh and innovative ideas to the industry, they often face exploitation. This includes unfair contract terms from larger companies, intellectual property theft, and the challenge of standing out in an oversaturated market without the marketing resources of larger studios.
  6. Environmental Impact: The environmental impact of the gaming industry is an emerging concern. The production and disposal of hardware, energy consumption by data centres powering online games, and the carbon footprint of physical game production and distribution all contribute to environmental degradation.
  7. Cyberbullying and Online Harassment: Online gaming environments can be breeding grounds for toxic behaviour, including cyberbullying and harassment. This toxicity can deter new players from participating and negatively impact the mental health of those subjected to such behaviour.

In conclusion, while the gaming industry has made significant strides in technology and storytelling, these issues highlight the need for a more ethical and sustainable approach. Addressing these challenges is not only crucial for the well-being of those who make and play games but also for the long-term health of the industry itself.