Shaping Ethical and Sustainable Monetization in Gaming for a Fairer Digital Economy

The SARMI (Sustainable and Responsible Monetization in the Video Game Industry) project addresses critical challenges in the rapidly growing $200bn global games industry. With over 4 billion gamers worldwide, the sector not only forms a significant part of the economy but also profoundly impacts cultural and social landscapes. The Danish games sector, generating over 1.3bn DKK annually, epitomizes this growth, particularly among young demographics.

At the heart of SARMI lies a crucial concern: the ethics and sustainability of monetization strategies in video games. Current practices, ranging from selling virtual items to the use of digital currencies, have sparked public, media, and regulatory debates over their potential predatory nature. This is especially critical for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Creative Industries, pressured to adopt such models for economic survival.

Unlike the music and film sectors, the video game industry suffers from a lack of comprehensive data and transparency, leading to outdated academic research and policy-making challenges. SARMI’s fourfold objectives aim to remedy this:

  1. Evidence Building: Utilizing petabyte-scale industry data, SARMI will create a first-of-its-kind overview of digital economies in games.
  2. Defining Responsible Monetization: Establishing a consensus on what constitutes responsible monetization in games, leading to practical recommendations for the industry and policy-making.
  3. Predictive Modeling: Developing models to help companies identify sustainable and responsible monetization strategies.
  4. Industry Implementation: Integrating findings into industry analytics tools, directly influencing new game development.

Thanks to collaborations with industry partners, SARMI offers an unprecedented opportunity to influence a vast array of games and developers. SARMI extends beyond games, potentially shaping monetization practices in the broader “creator economy.” Its outcomes will provide the first reliable assessment of the gaming industry’s monetization strategies and practical pathways toward ethical revenue generation, benefiting researchers, industry professionals, and policymakers.

Project contact: Anders Drachen

Research topics: #Monetization #Game Development #Microtransactions #Creative Industries #Video Games #Economics #Online Economics #Sustainability #Big Data #Responsibility