IGDA: Flappy Bird pull a great example of industry responsibility

IGDA: Flappy Bird pull a great example of industry responsibility
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

March 18th 2014 at 12:57AM

GDC 2014: Executive director Kate Edwards praises game creator Dong Nguyen for taking matters into his own hands

The removal of Flappy Bird from app stores is a “great example” of developers taking responsibility for themselves and their products, according to the IGDA.

Speaking to Develop in San Francisco this week, executive director Kate Edwards said that the industry needs to keep monitor itself, because “the alternative is scary”.

Her comments were part of a discussion about the recent investigations by the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission into responsible monetisation of free-to-play titles aimed at children. Edwards then used Dong Nguyen’s shock removal of Flappy Bird as proof that the industry can regulate itself.

“There’s a balance to the ethics of game design versus the ability to create and be creative,” she told Develop. “That’s a balance that every game developer needs to face. If we take Flappy Bird as an example, he made an ethical choice, a decision based on his personal ethics, to say he thought it was too addictive and that he needed to take the game down.

“To me, that’s a great example of the individual responsibility of a game developer, making decisions rather than waiting for a government to say this is too addictive, we’re shutting this down.

“My preference in all cases of creative art – whether it’s TV, film, whatever it might be – is that if we can do a better job of monitoring our own actions and anticipating the potential social effect of our actions, rather than having it regulated externally, that’s always preferable to me. That’s the basis of why game ratings boards exist. The ESRB wasn’t introduced by government; we decided as an industry to set that up.

“We need to help ourselves understand what kind of content we want to put out so we don’t have it regulated. Because I think the alternative is potentially scary.”

Her comments echo those of British development legend Peter Molyneux, who last month told Develop that free-to-play games needed to stop “grooming children” to avoid inviting strict government legislation.

Dong Nguyen recently hinted that he may re-release Flappy Bird with a warning about its addictive gameplay.

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