I’ve always considered myself a ethically driven person. Perhaps that’s just my personal vanity, but I certainly hope this is true. I often question the implications of pretty much every action I do. For instance, implementing advertisments on this blog. I was very conflicted about it, and am still considering removing them. Most bloggers and website owners don’t even think twice about this, as they often rely upon advertisments as their sole source of revenue. I hope to be self-sufficient in the next few years so that I’m not forced to be sustained by my parents, but I’m unsure if this is realistic. Because of this, I decided to keep the ads on my website in what I hope is a fairly non-intrusive manner. This is just one of many examples where I have questioned the ethical implications of things that may seem trivial.
One of the biggest ethical dilemnas I’ve faced was in the world of Minecraft server development. When I began my journey, everything seemed fairly ethical and legitimate. Of course, I’m not saying that this is not a legitimate or ethical business, but as I began to fully launch into it, I realized there was definitely some serious ethical questions. Particularly, the primary audience of Minecraft servers is children. I realized that most of the purchases that came through were kids using their parent’s credit cards. This was usually with parental consent, and we tried our best to keep it this way. However, as I saw people spending thousands of dollars over a few months, I began to really wonder where that money could be better spent. Now, there is an intrinsic value to making people happy, and I’m sure that’s worth something, but is it really worth $1000? $2000? What about $5000? This same issue is occuring with so-called ‘freemium’ games, some gaining over $1,500,000 per day. I sincerely believe that this is due to an exploitation of human nature, and I’m very conflicted about the concept. However, it seems like the majority of the mobile app market is going this direction. I wonder if the people getting showered in money think about the ethical implications of this. I find it hard to believe that many other developers share the same ethical viewpoint I do.
That being said, I’ve met some amazing ethical and awesome people in the development community, but it seems the most successful people are those who discard ethics in the mindset of profit. I think there’s a very precise balance. Perhaps that balance needs to be shifted to a more ethical standpoint.