Connect with us
< All Topics
Print

Compliance

Compliance – in the context of the gaming industry, encompasses a multifaceted approach ensuring that video games meet the regulatory standards and guidelines set by platform manufacturers and legal bodies. This concept extends across various dimensions, including technical specifications, intellectual property rights, advertising standards, and more, all aimed at safeguarding both the creators (game developers) and the end-users within the gaming ecosystem whilst following legal standards in given area. There are several areas in which game developers need to ensure that both their activities and their video games comply with the requirements set before them, prior to users being able to enjoy them.

Intellectual Property and Legal Compliance

One of the crucial areas of compliance within the video game industry entails navigating in the complex waters of intellectual property (IP) law. Not only video game developers must respect copyright and trademark laws of other companies, they must also ensure that their creations do not infringe on creative assets like characters, storylines, music, and even marketing materials of any third party as well. It is important to note however, that different regions of the world have different jurisdictions and rules in place may differ. It is thus almost impossible to assume one-fits-all solutions to the same legal challenges and expect it to work worldwide.

This is highly visible in areas such as privacy laws or consumer protection laws[1] which differ around the world and further are highly affected by case-law and regulatory guidelines issued by relevant authorities.

Advertising and Monetization Compliance

The promotion and monetization strategies of video games are subject to regulatory scrutiny to prevent misleading or deceptive practices. Truth in advertising laws mandates that claims made through marketing efforts be accurate and not mislead consumers. Moreover, in-game advertisements and monetization models, especially those involving virtual currencies, must navigate privacy laws and potentially gambling regulations, depending on the mechanics employed within the game​[2].

Importance of Compliance Programs

Establishing a comprehensive gaming compliance program is critical not just for aligning with regulatory and platform-specific standards but also for mitigating legal risks, including those related to money laundering and terrorism financing in casino-style games. A robust program encompasses detailed record-keeping, adherence to anti-money laundering (AML) protocols, and proactive engagement with regulatory filings to avoid hefty fines and reputational damage​[3]​.

Advertisement

Technical and Platform Compliance

Beyond the strictly legal aspects, game developers must remember about being compliant with platforms they want their games being available on. Prior to being publicly available on the specific platforms held by Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, a video game must meet the specific requirements of those platform holders. This includes adhering to their technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the game runs smoothly on their systems without compromising performance or user experience. The process involves a detailed examination to confirm that each game adheres to platform-specific technical standards and guidelines, guaranteeing seamless operation on their consoles and enhancing the player’s experience. including specific checklists and guidelines for software development and compatibility.

Undoubtedly compliance in the video game industry is an ongoing process that requires continuous attention and adaptation to evolving technological standards, legal frameworks, and market expectations. Developers and publishers must remain vigilant and well-informed to navigate this landscape successfully.


[1] See M Durovic, ‘International Consumer Law: What Is It All About?’ (2020) 43 J Consum Policy 125–143 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-019-09438-9 (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10603-019-09438-9)

[2] Id.

[3] See Building a gaming compliance program https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/en/insights/articles/building-a-gaming-compliance-program

Advertisement

Author

  • Kacper Baryła

    Kacper Baryła is a dedicated legal professional with a robust background in the game dev industry. He has channeled his passion for game dev into a legal career that focuses on supporting game developers with intellectual property, contracts, and compliance issues. His expertise extends to personal data and consumer protection and e-commerce matters, where he has provided comprehensive support and trainings to various companies. Kacper’s professional journey includes serving as an in-house lawyer at leading mobile game developer in Poland as well as at top Polish law firms where he honed his skills in GDPR compliance, contract negotiation, and legal advisory for tech-focused businesses. Being a lawyer by vocation, he always remained gamer at heart. Beyond his professional endeavors, Kacper is deeply engaged in the gaming community, having been a participant in professional e-sports competitions in Call of Duty and League of Legends in his teenage years.

Table of Contents