Research Project Paper 1 for RES/341

Essay by kauriUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2008

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

Downloaded 52 times

Research Project Paper 1

Research Project Paper

Research Project Paper 2

In today's world, we have become a 'plugged-in' society, never far from instant

communications whether it comes from our cell phones, blackberries or laptops. With

the advent of wireless technology, people can obtain access to the World Wide Web or

make phone calls from wherever they happen to be. While purchases are made via the

internet, it is also fast becoming an environment where people meet to socialize and

relax. This paper will focus on the problem of ethics within online gaming and social

networks. While the research paper I studied chose Habbo Hotel as their focus, I am

choosing one that I am very familiar with and that online game is Runescape.

While we all have heard of the dangers of sites such as Myspace and chat rooms,

those who do not engage in online social networking probably cannot understand how

someone's ethics can be called into question in a gaming environment but like with any

gaming environment, with a little bit of ingenuity, the opportunity for cheating exists.

Someone may decide they want a strong character but may not want to put the necessary

time into building their character up so they download a 'bot' program that performs

assigned tasks in the game without the person being involved. This can benefit the

cheater in two ways. The first is that the character gets stronger, therefore, can do more

within the game, itself and second, if the bot is performing a certain task, the user

can reap the rewards by selling the items obtained while performing said tasks. The user

then becomes wealthy by in game standards yet has not worked for the profits.

There are cheaters known as scammers. These people try to make unfair trades

designed to rip off another player. They do this by offering one product and then

switching it out for a cheaper item at the last minute so the unsuspecting player

Research Project Paper 3

loses money on the exchange while the scammer either keeps the product or sells it for its

real value.

Finally, there are real world cheaters who actually gain economically by selling

in game items for real money. These can include everything from upgraded accounts to

expensive in game items that a player may have to invest a great deal of time working to

obtain, otherwise. These real world cheaters even have sweatshops where their workers

play nonstop to gather in game items to sell on Ebay or other websites.

Many online gaming companies now have fail-safes in place, which are designed

to hinder in game cheating. There are programs that can locate bots and once discovered,

the accounts are frozen. Trade functions have been modified so that high value items

cannot be swapped out for items of lesser value which does cut down considerably on

trade scams and finally, there are in-game tracking programs that flag suspicious trades

which controllers can then evaluate to see if real world trading has happened. Accounts

that are caught doing this are also frozen. There are also fail-safes in place for the gamer

to use if there is an attempt to scam while online via a 'report player' option that

allows a person to report a specific player and what they did. The logs of that particular

segment are then studied to see if an infraction has occurred. Punishment can be as

light as a player being muted for a few days to a harsher punishment of banishment from

the game. While these fail-safes do not protect players entirely, they do help to provide a

safer social and gaming environments for all players.

The researchers concluded that online social networking is prevalent in todays

society and it should be taken more seriously than it has been in the past. They state

Research Project Paper 4

that even though there is an illusion of isolation and protection, an online environment

can offer a habitat for predators in gaming and social environments. Using the internet

wisely by exerting caution when dealing with others will promote a safe and happy

user experience.


Marie Griffiths, Ben Light. (2008). Social networking and digital gaming media convergence: Classification and its consequences for appropriation. Information Systems Frontiers, 10(4), 447-459. Retrieved July 23, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1508193381).