Industry veterans Rick Davidson & Tim Ruswick get together to chat about ethics and addiction in video games.

We, like many of you, LOVE playing video games. We’re also super aware of the importance of balance!

In this devology livecast, Rick Davidson & Tim Ruswick* talk about wanting to play vs needing to play, season models and much more.

(*Rick has more than 14 years experience in the game dev industry, working on IP's that include Mario, Transformers, Captain America and Mortal Kombat. He's done it all, from Game Designer, Producer, Creative Director and Executive Producer to's very own Instructor extraordinaire. Tim Ruswick is a successful YouTuber and indie dev, who's created more than 30 games in the last 5 years (wow!), and joined as our marketing monster).

Listen to the whole chat here:

Our 'AHA' moments

  • Some countries say addicting, others say addictive.
  • Some games can be too addictive and cause personal problems
  • You should never be addicted to anything, don’t let something take control of you
  • Should you be playing your Switch while grocery shopping?
  • Don’t allow yourself to spend $$$ on microtransactions
  • Life may be a ‘simulation’…

Want To Play and Have To Play (14:25 - 15:45)

We can’t deny it, video games are addictive! Some games more than others, certain games are specifically designed to make you go back every 24 hours to get the most out of the game, so that you don’t feel you have missed out on the bonuses you can earn.

The danger here is that you don’t want to fall into the trap of feeling you have to play, you should only play a game if you want to!

The feeling of having to play can be very disruptive, impacting relationships with friends and family as well as your professional life. If a game requires you to grind or login daily, you need to carefully plan so you can do this without upsetting the balance of your life.

Playing video games because you want to play them is a less stressful experience. You may see a meme of your favourite video game and think to yourself you would like to play that game tonight. You are under no obligation to have to play every day and complete everything because of daily challenges.

Seasons Model (24:12 - 25:36)

Investing in season passes can also be something where you find yourself losing a lot of your free time and feeling anxious that you need to login to collect your daily bonus and complete your daily/weekly challenges. Games like Apex Legends, Fortnite and Warzone usually start their battle pass with a $10 price, more often than not if you are able to finish the battle pass within the 3 month period you will have earned enough in-game currency to purchase the next battle pass.

While this may sound good, it can often usually require 2/3 hours of your time each day if you want to maximise the battle pass. If you only play one game that can be manageable, but imagine playing Apex Legends, Fortnite, Warzone and other games that include battle passes concurrently. What goes from 2/3 hours can easily become 9/10 hours a day!

Sitting up until 4am each day completing all of these challenges is not healthy and will leave you feeling robbed, dirty and stressed!

We’re not saying don’t play these kinds of games, but perhaps be selective in the ones you feel deserve your time and commitment.

As a Game Developer Consider Players (25:36 - 27:40)

Being a game developer you are also responsible for considering your player's life and their time. Design your games in a way that respects their time and also allows them to enjoy the game without it affecting their personal life, making them feel bad because they were not able to unlock everything in a required timeframe or that they feel they have to spend real money to unlock something in fear of missing out. Allow your players to enjoy your game and their life outside of video games.

Many game studios today will monetize the hell out of their games, as a player don’t fall into the trap of feeling that you have spend all of your disposable income on in-game items that ultimately offer no real advantage.

Video Games Can Be Good For Your Career (30:57 - 32:28)

Playing a lot of video games will certainly improve your knowledge and understanding of them. From how they work, to what’s enjoyable and what’s not. As a game developer, use this knowledge to help you create a game for your players that you know they’ll enjoy and respect their time

If you’re thinking of creating a game, we hope this helps you understand the ethics and addictiveness that video games bring.

Remember, we host live develogy livecasts every Tuesday at 10pm BST over on our Discord server. You can catch all the recordings, including this episode, in the Devology Livecast course - it's free to join.

Until next time, happy dev'ing!

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