Game Design

“GAMERUSH” ASSESSMENT QUESTION2014You and four other friends, Joan, David, Albert, and Alice went to separate institutions to pursueeducations after high school. Joan attended Harvard where she studied management. Davidattended Stanford where he studied marketing. Albert attended Virginia where he studied humanresources management. You went to Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business where youstudied accounting and eventually passed your CPA examination. Alice attended Yale where shestudied computer science. She specialized in game design.After graduation, Alice went to work for GameDay, Inc. where she worked on game design.That company had a large number of psychology graduates who had Ph.Ds and who worked inthat company’s Psychological Research Department, which did research work on thepsychological aspects and dimensions of game theory. TheDepartment’s research demonstratedthat there were certain aspects of games and game design, which could be built into games thatwould result in a game that produced a form of psychological addiction. During the course ofher employment, and as part of her job responsibilities, Alice became very familiar with thepsychological research being done by the Psychological Research Department.After working at GameDay for two years, Alice left the company and contacted you and theother three high school friends. She proposed that she, you, and the other three friends form anLLC to develop and design games. The name that she proposed for the LLC was GameRush,Inc.She proposed developing computer games. You and the other two friends agreed to herproposal. You all retained counsel and set up an LLC.A financial plan was proposed by Alice whereby, the production of the game would beoutsourced to a company in India. Alice knew of the plant and its production through her workat GameDay. She knew the plant was in Bhopal,India, and that the labor rates were lower thanmost other parts of India. She also knew that the turn-around time from placing an order toreceipt of the final product was a remarkably shorter time than provided by other manufacturingsites in Vietnam and Malaysia and even most other sites in India. Alice did not propose going toIndia to inspect the plant, but to simply contract with that company’s representative here inAlabama for the work to be done.David, as Chief Marketing Officer, proposed a marketing plan whereby he would contactpotential advertising clients who would purchase advertising on the game. At points, wherecommercial names could be used, the advertisers would purchase time on the game for theirnames to be used. The primary advertising strategy was to tell potential advertisers that playersof the game would use the game over and over multiple times during which the advertiser’snames would be prominently displayed to the players of the game.Alice had access to psychological research while working at GameDay which showed thatrepetition of advertisers’ names increased the probability that viewers of the advertisementswould buy the products and that the use of names in the context of “fact” scenarios, like games,increased even more then probability of users buying the advertisers’ products. This was told topotential advertisers as an inducement for them to put their advertising in the game.The plan was to build and market a game using Alice’s knowledge of the psychological researchon building into games addictive qualities which she has learned while employed at GameDay.Everyone agreed to the business plan except you. You expressed your concerns.The psychological research regarding the dimensions of game theory and the advertising issueswere not the subject of any trade secret protections enforced by GameDay. Much of the researchcould be found at various universities.You have a spouse at home who has just lost his/her job and you have two children. Both aregoing to a private school in your community where the tuition for each student is $15,000 peryear.CASE QUESTIONSConsider your concerns as described in this case and prepare a memorandum that addresses theconcerns described below. Your memo should be completed in narrative form (you may useheadings if you choose to do so for organizationapurposes, but do not list your responses inbullet form). Maximum page length: 10 pages (double spaced).Identify all of the potential ethical issues you see (if any). Describe and analyze the implicationsof each issue, including who or what may be affected by your or the company’s response. Inidentifying issues and addressing their implications, your discussion should be as comprehensiveas possible—you should consider any economic, social, or ecological implications, as well as thepotential impact of any cultural differences you can identify.Additionally, your analysis should thoroughly identify and discuss at least two potential coursesof action that you or the company could take with respect to each issue you have discussed.Clearly demonstrate your reasoning process—identify and explain any ethical principles orarguments you are relying on; do not simply state unsupported conclusions.If you choose to apply any approaches to ethical reasoning, clearly state what they are and howyou are applying them to this case. Of the possible solutions you identified, which would yourecommend as a resolution? Again, fully explain and justify your recommendations. Finally,explain how you would implement each solution you have recommended.

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