Experts and insiders claim that the video game sphere is becoming a “new political arena,” as people began voicing concerns over digital rights, including anonymity, privacy, and free speech in it.
At the forefront of the concern are the participants in the virtual digital rights conference, RightsCon.
According to the community, the sensitive issue regarding digital rights is becoming a pressing issue and directly questions entities that are at play in it. This is in light of the industry’s upward trajectory, which sees a potential revenue of up to $300 billion by 2025.
Activism in Creative Ways
In an attempt to bring out issues to people’s consciousness, people across the globe are taking creative ways to raise their worries.
One, for example, is a HongKong activist who used Animal Crossing as a platform to protest against China’s totalitarian rule. Which, to those who did not know, is possible given the layer of freedom that the game provides to express creativity.
US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, too, went on the same route, but with the intent of keeping in touch with her followers. Inevitably, some pointing to the initiative as a means of a virtual campaign.
Minecraft, a game mostly about building, also becomes a conduit for digital rights, too. Basically using it as a channel to “smuggle” forbidden texts to countries under strict authoritarian rule.
In some cases, even developers are joining in on the campaign by dabbling on uncommon topics. Typically, by using their creative output to tackle sensitive issues, including mental illness and the experience of refugees.
Micaela Mantegna, the founder of GeekyLegal, which is a foundation with a focal point on tech policy, indeed claims that video games are a “new political arena.”
A board member of Women in Games Argentina, Stephanie Zucarelli, advocates also on the notion. Suggesting that certain difficult discourse in life is easier to converse in games.
While not in contrary to the belief, Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney, Kurt Opsah, believes that doing so has its risk. The risk, in particular, being that of the individual’s digital rights went against.
The problem, Opsah highlights, boils down to the interplay between entities in the scheme of things. Specifically, raising the issue of governing bodies having easy access to user information, especially in the legal context.
One example, Opsah cited, is the case of the US military having the authority to delete social media discussions. Specifically, those whose theme speaks unfavorably of the military.
Image used courtesy of Gamers for Freedom