Gamespot is running a story about the ethics and morality of the social games market, which in recent years has exploded to involve hundreds of millions of players. Between micro-transactions, getting players to recruit friends, and the thin line between compelling games and addictive games, there are plenty of opportunities for developers to stray into shady practices. Quoting: "The most successful social games to date have used very simple gameplay mechanics, encouraging neither strategy nor dexterity but regular interaction with the game ... Although undeniably successful, the existing social game framework has been the subject of much debate among game developers from every corner of the game industry, from the mainstream to the indie community. Some, like Super Meat Boy creator Edmund McMillen, are particularly strident in their assessment. 'Social games tend to have a really seedy and abusive means of manipulation that they use to rope people in and keep them in,' McMillen said. 'People are so tricked into that that they'll actually spend real money on something that does absolutely nothing, nothing at all.'
An anonymous reader writes "Thom 'SSGTRAN' Tran, seen in the Call of Duty: Black Ops live action trailer and in the game as the NVA multiplayer character, gets interviewed and talks about Medal of Honor's Taliban drama. '... to me, it's a non-issue. This is Hollywood. This is entertainment. There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy. It's that simple. Regardless of whether you call them — "Taliban" or "Op For" — you're looking at the same thing. They're the bad guys.'" Gamasutra published a related story about military simulation games from the perspective of black ops veteran and awesome-name-contest winner Wolfgang Hammersmith. "In his view, all gunfights are a series of ordered and logical decisions; when he explains it to me, I can sense him performing mental math, brain exercise, the kind that appeals to gamers and game designers. Precise skill, calculated reaction. Combat operations and pistolcraft are the man's life's work."