EA last night launched its comprehensive ‘Positive Play Charter’ in order to make clear what it expects from its community when they play its games or use forums or other communication channels.
The new charter is based around four pillars:
- Treat others as they would like to be treated – Don’t engage or promote harmful behavior including attacks on race, sexual orientation, religion, heritage, country of origin, etc. or unwelcome sexual advances and messages.
- Keep Things Fair – No cheating or giving yourself an unfair advantage.
- Share Clean Content – Create and share stuff that’s appropriate.
- Follow Local Laws – Keep it legal in our games and services, just as you would wherever you are IRL.
The clarification of the rules, and a campaign to push them, is a great idea. As while most publishers have such guidelines, they’re often not clearly signposted. And these rules are not a central part of the agreement all players enter into when signing up for an EA account to use the company’s services.
Failure to abide by these rules will result in a short-term ban or suspension, which will be accompanied by an email explaining the decision: “A short-term ban or suspension is our way of preventing further disruptive behavior and asking you to reexamine how you behave. We’re not mad at you; you just need a break.”
Repeat offenders will have their accounts terminated. Although there’s no detail on how EA intends to cope with free-to-play PC offenders, who can just sign up for new accounts – something that Activision enforced two-step authentication on in Warzone recently.
While the announcement, which obviously includes attacks on race, is highly topical at present, the work behind it actually dates back a year, according to a statement from EA.
“Last year we held a Building Healthy Communities Summit where we invited 200 of our Game Changers from over 20 countries and represented the diversity of our player audience – it included parents, teachers, and players representing several of our specific game communities, to better understand how we could work together to build healthy communities in our games.”
It will be interesting to see how EA manages its new ruleset across a global business with player bases who hold radically different moral standpoints. We’re fully supportive of the idea, and would even suggest that the biggest publishers should co-ordinate on such efforts, to provide a clear rule set across the industry and bans that extend beyond a single publisher.