Disclaimer: This article has been written without prior discussion of its contents with the NCGP. This was intentional, as it is intended to reflect my personal motivation and desires for joining. Any statements that I make may not reflect the position of the NCGG. Any ‘facts; that I present have also not been screened, and as such might be less factual than I believe.
I recently applied to join the NCGP, and due to my previous history in the Gaming Industry they accepted (I am honestly not sure why I qualified, but thanks to whomever approved me). I chose to join this organization independently (not as an affiliate of the company that I work for) because I felt that I could positively contribute the current discussion that had brought the NCGP to my attention… namely LootBoxes (and the public/government concern about them). The fact that there is now an ongoing public discussion about this of both personal and occupational interest to me. The fact that a diverse group of people in the industry are trying to get involved in this discussion, in order to affect its outcome is even more interesting.
My appraisal of the government involvement, and of the NCGP was that there were concerned parties on both sides, each with a vested interest in the outcome. They both seemed to be entering this in good faith, in an attempt to improve the situation. They may have some different goals, but they also had some things in common. Both want to keep the gaming industry strong, and to keep the public satisfied with the results. However, I did come to one very clear conclusion, none of the parties involved were well educated on the facts, and that misunderstandings were going to make this process much more difficult than it needed to be.
I will not claim to be an expert in the matter at hand. I will say that I know enough to be aware of how little I know. I also know enough to cringe when I see people talking about this in ways that demonstrate that they are unaware of the inaccuracies that they either saying, or that they are basing their statements on. This is where I see the value of a industry organization. I may know a little about this subject, and I suspect so do others in the industry. I believe that if we work together, and share our knowledge, we can provide a much more robust understanding for everyone involved. It is with this common understanding that all parties will be able to discuss and solve issues (like lootboxes).
So what I do I expect from the NCGP? Well, here are things that I would like to see (and hope to help with):
1. Reference Article Database. I believe, the first thing we should do is collect and share key information. What legal rulings are there on digital goods (provide summaries, and links to official source). What relevant official statements have been made (i.e. the recent Netherlands Hearings, Videos from the Hawaiian Representative, etc).What examples do we have from the gaming industry (Overwatch, , Star Wars BattleField II, videos, etc)?
2. Contact/Discussion with Public Officials (This may be happening, but there should be a clear, public outreach).
3. Contact/Discussion with Gaming Company Officials (This may be happening, but there should be a clear, public outreach).
I believe that all these are attainable, achievable goals in the short term, with longer term goals being added later. I also think that they are goals that would need to be met for the public to feel that this organization is both legitimate, and useful. I am also hoping that this will encourage others get involved as well.
Be seeing you?