Sunday, July 01, 2018

On Cheating: To Win Or Not To Win... That Is The Question.

According to science, "Some winners really are losers,"  Carol Pinchefsky concludes for GEEK & SUNDRY, discussing scientific findings on why persons who identify themselves as winners will cheat, especially in competitive situations.

In other words, if they are a winner in their own mind, they feel entitled to win, and will cheat to preserve their winning status. Philosophically, those guys are probably Consequentialists. (The good ends justify the means.)

On the other hand, goal-focused guys tend to play fair. They are more interested in doing their personal best, rather than feeling that they deserve to score better than someone else.

There's an interesting --albeit archived, so you cannot join in-- thread on Reddit about why people bother to cheat at video games.

For someone needing inspiration for character building or motivation of an endearing cheat, this author found it to be a fascinating resource.

I've written of a hero who cheats. At chess. Just as some persons of influence and power use a game of golf to get the measure of a potential ally or employee, one of my heroes used a board game for interrogation and character assessment.

One of the reddit gamers mentioned the delight of annoying other people (by cheating to win). Another Machiavellian player in battle-games asked himself,  "How many enemies do I have to kill so I don't get caught by the cheating filter?"

For him, the thrill of the game appears to be in finding out how few enemies he could kill before he was ejected from the game by the algorithms for not fighting.

However, aside from the ethical and self-esteem and character aspects of cheating, there can be legal repercussions.  Using "cheats" can be copyright infringement or even a crime.

United Kingdom legal blogger Alistair Symes for Taylor Wessing explains how cheating is becoming "a revenue issue" for games developers and publishers.

As Alistair Symes explains, the game developers own the copyright to their games. Anyone who copies the game or modifies it (by adding "cheat codes") or publishes their adaptation to the public... is infringing the developers' copyrights. "Cheat" makers who sell or rent out infringing copies of software code are also committing a criminal offense in the UK.

In the USA, a teenager's mother tried to assert  an "infancy" defense for him after he had allegedly posted videos on YouTube (allegedly since removed) in which he allegedly promoted and distributed cheat codes to an online game. The copyright owner is not backing down from pursing legal remedies against the alleged copyright infringer and repeated violator of their TOS.

Jason Gordon and Virginia Pavlik, blogging for the USA Law firm Reed Smith LLP detail the case, and suggest that game creators ought to require age disclosure and parental permission slips before young persons may create online player accounts. 

If a teenager is disposed to cheat, and to breach contracts, and flout Terms Of Service, will he not also be disposed to lie about his age?

Happy Fourth!

Rowena Cherry

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