From as early as the Sunday afternoon before GDC, screenshots of the Thursday afternoon talk ‘Monetizing teens in a safe and legal manner (presented by Oink)’ was already furiously being retweeted and commented on. Knowledge of the title alone was sufficient enough to provoke howls of outrage, disgust and derision.
- Scheduled against such heavy hitters as the fantastic by all accounts “#1reasontobe” panel on the advocacy track, as well as a well-tweeted talk by Frank Lantz and a post-mortem of the cult-hit Tearaway for Playstation Vita, the ‘monetizing teens’ panel for all the outrage was quite poorly attended. As an academic and researcher of digital culture, particularly teen culture which is a frequent driver of innovation and emerging convention, I had an interest in how the session was oriented towards this much-maligned demographic.
Out of grim curiosity, and knowing that almost no one else would, I decided to attend the panel.
- The chair introduced the panellists, who each had several years experience in the industry working on titles aimed at children, teens or a general audience, and were largely in the free-to-play games business. The discussion, far from being the cutthroat Michael Douglass in Wall Street affair the title suggested, was instead oriented towards legal issues around consent, identifying information, compliance, etc., and barely touched on anything explicitly ethical or subjective in nature.