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Presentation – Women in Video Games

Hi everyone,

Faustine, Maria and I didn’t have the chance to make our presentation in class because of the big snow day so we’ve decided to record ourselves doing it!

We interviewed different people downtown about our presentation subject in order to illustrate everything we are going to speak about.

The best is for you to first watch the video of the interviews and then open the Powerpoint which contains little videos of Maria, Faustine and I explaining each slide.

We have created a public Google Drive to allow you to access the two files. Here is the link:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AWIMV9TYTQOpsl3CGW3DC2cLrPGBk32k?usp=sharing

I hope you’ll find the time to watch it.

Happy holidays 🙂

Nour, Maria, Faustine

 

 

Epic Games To Pay $520 Milllion: A Win For The Rights of Gamers

As this class comes to an end and I reflect on the course, I realize that I was most intrigued by the perspective of the rights of the gamer. I expected this class to focus on the rights of the developers and if the gamer rights would be discussed it would mostly be in the context of consumer protection and advertising. However, our continued discussions on the rights of the gamer particularly when it comes to mods and user-generated content within the game had never been considered by me. As someone who does not partake in creating mods, I had never considered the rights of these individuals. However, I do understand the purpose of mods and have often used mods to make games like Stardew Valley more enjoyable or easier to use. The fact that it made my experience, and many others more enjoyable lends credence to the fact that a modders work adds some form of value to the game. Clearly then, it is hard to say that this individual did not contribute to the game, yet traditionally avenues like copyright protection have shown problematic in getting these modder’s legal rights and protection. Additionally, I know I personally feel some form of attachment to things I have created in games. For example, my girlfriend and I spent a lot of time over the pandemic creating an island in Animal Crossing. We’ve caught virtual fish, dug up artifacts, and constantly upgraded and changed our virtual house and added to the museum. If I were to lose this progress, I know I would be quite annoyed and would hope for some remedy or way to get it back. While the level of harm in this would obviously not be the same as if my actual house burnt down or I lost an heirloom my grandmother gave me, there is still a clear loss to me of something I created. Further, gaming can have extreme financial consequences on people’s lives, as evidenced by a popular fortnight streamer, Jarvis, being permanently banned and losing his livelihood, a life-changing situation for him. These losses are not insignificant and deserve to be remedied just as much as any other harm and or loss.

In taking this course it becomes apparent that gaming technology and interactions within these games can be very influential outside of gaming. Take the example of VR and AR discussed in class, using VR technology can greatly improve a lecture for students, and we are also seeing sports teams and doctors practice their skills using this technology. From a personal perspective, I can see using VR in the future to help with testing anxiety for law students. Recently, there has been research in the area and strong findings that using VR to simulate a testing environment can lead to reduced levels of stress on test day.

It was also interesting to see the mix of discussion posts that my peers wrote. I was most captivated by Rares’ discussion on the Valorant and League of Legends Esports contracts, free agency, and avoiding contract jail. It is fascinating to watch these leagues grow and constantly change as they are further developed. As someone whose first degree is in marketing and who worked in the industry for a bit, I have always worried about subliminal advertising, dark patterns, and loot boxes in video games. Sara’s article on Walmart and Roblox articulates my fear perfectly as it shows yet another example of how marketing can be used in manipulative ways that have financial and psychological consequences on gamers, in this case, children. This is further evidenced by the recent news on December 19th that Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, has agreed to pay a total of $520 million to settle US government allegations that it misled millions of players, including children and teens, into making unintended purchases. This was found to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by gathering the personal information of kids under the age of 13 without first receiving their parents’ verifiable consent. While this case is in the context of the data protection of minors, hopefully, it can act as a stepping stone in informing all future litigation around the rights of gamers who are subject to harmful game development through manipulative dark patterns.

Lastly, I was particularly struck by how video games can create complex legal issues that touch on many traditional areas of law. In considering sentient chatbots or complex AR and VR systems I am worried that the law will be too slow to respond to these issues as they come up so quickly and in ways that make it very challenging to plan for and protected Canadians. While somewhat different, the recent crypto crash and FTX blow-up are a stark reminder that technology may be moving so quickly that our current system of law is much too slow to respond. I struggle to see how these challenges can be addressed through our current system of law in Canada and I feel as though a radical change is needed or we will always be playing catch up. However, I struggle to see what this change would look like given the fact that it is virtually impossible to predict how new forms of games and technology would manifest. Take for example the Reignmakers NFT game that Jakub and I presented on. Clearly, Canadians are being harmed yet this game could have never been imagined before blockchain technology came to be. Additionally, the Canadian Government is unlikely to respond given the transnational and jurisdictional issues present with gaming and the internet. My only thought is that there needs to be some type of international regulatory body working with developers as they create these games so that these challenges can be addressed in a proactive way as the games are being created. It is not enough to allow a company like EA Sports to use loot boxes in their games for a decade and then look to address it after the harm has already been done. I know I myself spent too much money of video game loot boxes as a teenager and even our professor has mentioned that he spent more than he was comfortable with on a racing game that had in-game purchases. It would therefore seem that many Canadians across vast sociodemographic groups face harm from video games. Thus, while I am excited by the future of video games, I am also scared that we as gamers will continue to be taken advantage of in increasingly complex and subliminal ways and that our creation rights will not be taken seriously by judges who fundamentally misunderstand video game harm.

Sources

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/cyber.2019.0651

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50300842

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/fornite-ftc-fines-1.669077

Thoughts on the representation of Law in video games

Throughout the semester, we have learned about video game law, in other words, how the law regulates and hinge on video games. The name of the course could then have been “Video Games and Law”.

But what happens if we reverse those two words? Does the meaning remain intact? Does “Law and Video Games” mean something different from “Video Games and Law”? Certainly. This change of position also leads to a change of perspective. The heart of the issue is not about how law takes care of video games anymore, but rather on how law is depicted in video games? Put another way, is there a representation of law in video games and if yes, how does it portray it? A lot of studies examine the connection that exists between Law and Literature, Law and TV shows, Law and Movies, Law and Opera. So why not Law and Video Games or Law in Video Games?

 

Let’s start by dividing the video games market in two; video games depicting law as the center of the gameplay -such as Ace Attorney– and the ones dealing with law in a more indirect way. Let’s clarify what I intend by law in this category. In the media sphere, law is usually associated with criminal law and trials. However, it can cover way more than that; what about committing a breach or a crime while playing? Doesn’t GTA deal indirectly with law when the player steals a car, kills a pedestrian while driving it and try to escape the police?

 

From a more abstract point of view, can’t we say that law is also present in the idea of Justice? Indeed, this moral and philosophical principle drives a lot of gameplay and justifies most of the actions the gamer is asked to complete throughout the game. Let’s take for instance Super Mario Bros. What idea surrounds the purpose of the gameplay? The rescue of Princess Peach who has been unjustly kidnapped by Bowser Jr.

The gamer is, most of the time, playing to reinstate what the gameplay depicted to be the rightful and legitimate situation, in other words, bring injustice to an end.

 

From this point of view, it is actually hard to describe a game without law in it…

 

TMRW Sports and The Golf League: The New Age of Sports & Gaming

As someone who loves to Golf, I was eagerly waiting to see how the PGA Tour and its players would respond to the new LIV Golf League. While LIV Golf is not without its controversy given its funding from the Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund, there is no denying that LIV golf has deep pockets and will be competing with the PGA tour for at least the next few years. Additionally, LIV golf looks to attract a younger audience by doing things such as broadcasting on Youtube and offering unique events for fans. As such, it was not shocking to see in August that a group of PGA tour players led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy created TMRW sports which announced its first event. The Golf League (TGL),  a new tech-infused golf league in partnership with the PGA TOUR will begin play in 2024. TGL will have team matches that fuse classic live-action golf with advanced tech from a custom-built venue in primetime on Monday nights. This venue looks similar to a TopGolf center working with a launch monitor, simulator, and driving range. An additional virtual course and an advanced technology short game facility will also be used.

On December 5th, TMRW Sports announced former TopGolf Executive Andrew Macauley as the CEO. Given his background, it makes me wonder if there will be a scenario in the future where I can hit golf balls at home on a simulator and then be competing alongside my favourite pros in real time? Or could I get golf lessons at home through AI technology that works with my golf simulator as I play? Could I do golf group lessons from home similar to the way a peloton system works? This new venture certainly has the possibility to open up things like this. With investors from every major U.S. sports league like Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Shohei Ohtani, Steph Curry, and Sidney Crosby, I predict it won’t be long before we see many exciting sports ventures that intersect with gaming and technology, bringing about a litany of new legal dilemmas.

Sources:

Class 11 – Snow Day & The Class That Might Have Been

Our final class was literally snowed out. There was something poetic about going out on such a fun note given that you were such a fun and enjoyable class from my perspective. In any event below are the slides that might have been…

Jon

Montreal Video Game Company Gets the Rights to Charlie Chaplin

Charlie-chaplin-gifs GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Hey Y,all,

Came across this article today and thought it was interesting. A Montreal video game company just got the exclusive rights to Charlie Chaplin and intends to make a game based around the individual. For those of you who are unaware who Charlie Chaplin is, he was a major silent film movie star throughout the 1900s, starting back in the 1920s.

His family made it very clear that no sexism, violence, or racism can be included in the video game.

The co-founder of IndieAsylum, the company which obtained the rights to Charlie Chaplin, pointed to the success games such as Animal Crossing have had, which he believes is an indicator that a non-violent game based around Charlie Chaplin could have success.

I am not sure if I buy it, or can really conceptualize what a Charlie Chaplin game will look like. Moreover, the fact that Chaplin was known for his work in silent films raises the question what, if any, dialogue will be present in the game. However, this game may be coming as early as next year!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-studio-gets-exclusive-rights-to-charlie-chaplin-for-upcoming-video-game-1.6673051

Cailean Paskall

Video – Nintendo: Rights Protection or Fan Alienation?

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re doing well as we move closer to the end of the semester! Following in the footsteps of a few of you, my presentation is now (finally) ready to show off! It’s about Nintendo, all the ways they’ve tried to protect their IP rights, and how it has affected their fanbase.

I know how busy this time of year is for all of us; however, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you check my video out, as I’m quite proud of it and it took way too much time 🙂

Click here to check it out: Nintendo: Rights Protection or Fan Alienation

Thanks,
Eric

Presentation: Income tax issue of video game industry

Hi, everyone.  I would like to post my short presentation of Income tax issue of video game industry in the link below.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1t1RAL8q0U_oloaA8ACZCFpmC-5b-o3s1/view?usp=drive_web

 

If you are a fan to Might & Magic, you may have interest to read the reference article below.

Reference material: Anna Vvedenskaya, “Common features of video games and social networks: importance for international taxation”, Interactive Entertainment Law Review, 2020, Vol. 3, No. 2, p105- p120.  https://www.elgaronline.com/view/journals/ielr/3-2/ielr.2020.02.03.xml

New York Islanders and The Faze Clan Collaborate for Esports Night on Dec. 6th

On December 6th the New York Islanders are holding an Esports night in collaboration with the Faze Clan. The Faze Clan is a group of individuals who run a lifestyle and media platform that is focused on gaming and video game culture for teenagers and young adults.

Islanders Esports Night will begin at 5 PM with European Gaming World Champion Eki taking on North American NHL Gaming World Champion Regs in an EA Sports NHL 23 matchup. Once this is complete the Islanders will play a regular season game against the St. Louis Blues. There are also some unique events such as a meet and greet with Faze Clan athletes and crossover merchandise that combines both the Islanders and Faze Clan logos and branding.

As someone who grew up playing all the EA Sports NHL games, I could have never imagined that sports gaming and esports could go mainstream enough and reach a wide enough audience whereby it is viable for an NHL organization to hold a virtual hockey game before an actual regular season NHL game. While this is certainly an interesting marketing strategy, it will be interesting to see if this event is successful and if other NHL teams follow suit.

It would certainly seem likely that we will see more crossover events like this in the future as Jordan Zelniker, Esports Lead at the New York Islanders said, “As part of our 50th anniversary season, we will continue to utilize gaming to expand Islanders causal and dedicated fandom, linking our past, present, and future.” Additionally, on November 22nd the NHL announced an expanded calendar and new brand identity for the Esports Championships. Thus, the future looks bright for fans like myself who enjoy both gaming and hockey.

If you would like to hear more on this exciting collaboration, The Hockey News has a podcast out explaining the esports night and discussing the future of Esports and the NHL:  https://thehockeynews.com/podcast/nhchel-podcast-episode-10-islanders-esports-night

Or if you would like to check out the Islanders’ esports team you can do so here: https://twitter.com/islesgt

Sources

https://www.nhl.com/islanders/news/new-york-islanders-and-faze-clan-announce-esports-night/c-337693066

https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-announces-expanded-calendar-new-brand-identity-for-esports-championship/c-337914064

Presentation on Sports Betting Games & NFT Sports Cards

Hi everyone,

Jakub and I did our presentation on the legality of daily fantasy sports (DFS) games that utilize sports card NFTs as part of the contest.

please use the google drive link to access a recording of our presentation:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1F4QavItI4TuDCuHBTaRQQCzWxbOq0z77/view?usp=share_link