Regulating Virtual Worlds: Considering Participant-Driven Approaches

Woodford Darryl
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

There are a number of pressing issues facing contemporary online environments that are causing disputes among participants and platform operators and increasing the likelihood of external regulation. A number of solutions have been proposed, including industry self-governance, top-down regulation and emergent self-governance such as EVE Online’s “Council of Stellar Management”. However, none of these solutions seem entirely satisfying; facing challenges from developers who fear regulators will not understand their platforms, or players who feel they are not sufficiently empowered to influence the platform, while many authors have raised concerns over the implementation of top-down regulation, and why the industry may be well-served to pre-empt such action. This paper considers case studies of EVE Online and the offshore gambling industry, and whether a version of self-governance may be suitable for the future of the industry.


Is Electronic Community an Addictive Substance?

Chee Florence Smith Richard
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

In this study, we examine how online games, like the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) EverQuest, are represented and controlled through media rhetoric. We look at international attempts to regulate their use through policy, and unearth some of the ways in which media reports have constructed public opinion of online games. We then contrast those reports with an ethnographic study of the EverQuest environment. The analysis of game experience and informant testimony shows that regulation and control of games is ultimately not a correct course of action in order to heal social dysfunction, of which excessive participation in electronic communities is only a symptom.