App State Professor Publishes Research on Gamers’ Moral Considerations in Video Games

Dr. Emory Stephen Daniel Jr., from Appalachian State University's Department of Communication, publishes research on morality in gaming. 

Many contemporary video games incorporate decision-making mechanics that can alter a game’s narrative experience for players. Often, these decisions challenge players to engage with questions of ethics, morality and empathy. Much of the previous research on moral decision-making in games assumes that players utilize real-world moral frameworks to make these decisions, without accounting for the way that game spaces function as unique sites for this type of decision-making. Video games can uniquely incentivize or punish players for their in-game decisions, shaping the way players engage with issues of morality. This study examines factors that influence how players approach moral decision-making in video games. Using semi-structured interviews with 24 individuals, we explored how both players’ real-world moral foundations and in-game constraints guide their moral decisions. Findings include how customizable avatars, subsequent playthroughs, in-game rewards and the manner in which a moral conflict is presented to players all influence their choices. 

Morality inside the matrix: A qualitative exploration of gamers’ moral considerations in video games 

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Dr. Emory Stephen Daniel Jr.
Published: Oct 24, 2022 2:46pm