Over the course of the last few weeks there has been a slight increase in discussion amongst some of my fellow Twitter pals in regards to Professional Gamers and their general demeanor towards Fans. Much of the discussion questions some methods Pro Players are using to procure money from fans. These methods along with their ethical ramifications are the focus of today’s article.
ETHICS by definition:
- motivation based on the ideas of right and wrong
- the principles of conduct governing an individual or group
Ethical Behavior in Sports
Over the last five years we have seen a tremendous crackdown (suspensions, fines, Heisman Trophies being taken away) over the integrity and underlying ethical issues in a variety of professional sports. Most of the underlying problems, at least here in the US, are related to drug enhancing cases most prevalently witnessed in Major League Baseball. The sport itself has suffered tremendous damage to the validity of records, the trust the sport once had from its fans, and the lore of some of the biggest organizations of the game. Enhancement drugs have and will continue to be a tough hurdle to overcome, but the moral implications of its rampant use are scary.
Some Professional athletes believe it is “okay” to use enhancement drugs because, “everyone else is doing it,” or “if I don’t use it I’m at a disadvantage.” To make matters worse, this mindset is perpetuated by the continuing pressure to win, so that organizations can make more money…so that athletes can make more money.
At the collegiate level we are witnessing a slightly different picture, one that is being painted by the lure of becoming professional athletes and the idea of financial security. The educational value of a college scholarship is being directly conflicted with the potential gain of becoming a Professional Athlete. Agents interacting with student athletes, money being passed from companies to players (sometimes coaches), and anonymous gifts arriving to the parents of those athletes. And while these cases, at a first glance, appear to be significantly different than the competitive gaming scene there is one common factor – money.
motivation based on the ideas of right and wrong
Ethics of Competitive Gaming
By nature, gaming is structured in a completely different manner and culturally, is tough to define as a sport. As such, I want readers to keep in mind the definition of “Ethics” and how it relates to some of the issues we see in the Professional Gaming scene. Most of these issues are indicative of the anonymity of the internet and the culture built from the previous decade of online gaming. Gamers grew up hearing and seeing:
- Malicious Behavior
- Cheating / Modding / Hacking
This is widely considered normal behavior within almost any online community, gaming or otherwise. People can get away with saying and doing whatever they want because there is generally no disciplinary action; no consequence for actions. As such, the ethical behavior of gaming is in shambles, so I once again put forth the definition of Ethics.
motivation based on the ideas of right and wrong
In my own little naive world, I like to believe that human beings have a “good” moral compass. And while we may be confused at times, we understand the concept of right and wrong, “good” and “evil.” So is the prospect of gaining more money clouding judgement for some Professional Gamers? The question I posed earlier this week is what sparked this article:
Are Pro Gamers Abusing Their Fans?
From the responses I received, I definitely believe there are a number of Pro Gamers out there abusing their gaming “celebrity” to manipulate others — almost all cases in the pursuit of financial gain. Charging individuals a fee for a spot on an Xbox Live Friend’s list? Or how about asking “Fans” to renew Xbox Live subscriptions? Why in the world is this happening? Let’s be honest, there are no “Code of Ethics” for being a Professional Gamer and there is not much financial stability in the pursuit of the dream, however I believe from a moral standpoint Pro Gamers know the difference between right and wrong.
Offering a premium (that’s means NOT shitty) service and charging for that service is perfectly fine by my standards. TheLANNetwork is a prime example of a service that was built with the intention to offer a premium service to the fans of those respective teams. Offering incomplete, sloppy, or overpriced services and charging for them is not acceptable. Begging for donations on a Justin.TV stream, as @MuRRizzle put it, is not the way to go about interacting with the fans of your team.
Seriously, can we come to some common grounds and stop, at the very least, some of this nonsense?
FANS: If a Pro Player tells you to:
- PAY THEM in order to be on his/her Friend’s list
- Purchase THEM an Xbox Live Subscription
Do NOT do it! They are telling you to do this because people are actually giving in to those requests. By paying them in this manner, some Pro Players believe this is acceptable behavior. Any Pro Player that is asking Fans of their team to do either of those two things mentioned doesn’t deserve to have fans support him or her — period. If you are offering lessons or some type of service that is considered beneficial for others, by all means keep doing what your doing. I would hate to start an undercover “hit list” to start spotting some of the bad eggs in the basket — don’t test me!
“ @arCtyC I think the Money has got to some of the top players heads, You can sort of see less enthuasim for the Fans than their used to be ” By Subfocus_amber on 28-2-2011 20:17:33 in reply to K.L. Smith
“ @arCtyC Offering lessons for money makes sense though, even maybe team scrims, but charging to play pubs with them is abusing fans too IMO ” By marvinsanchez on 3-3-2011 06:16:03 in reply to K.L. Smith