Virtual to Virtuous Money: A Virtue Ethics Perspective on Video Game Business Logic


In this article, we expand on the models available for defining various different business logics relevant to video game development, especially those concerning free-to-play games. We use the models to analyse those business logics from an Aristotelian virtue ethics perspective. We argue that if an individual wishes to follow the Aristotelian virtue ethics code in order to develop the virtues inherent in his or her own character (as in the personal character of the developer, not a character in the game), how he or she chooses to try and generate revenue from the fruits of his or her labour is not irrelevant. Moreover, we argue that some of these methods are in fact vices, which are damaging to the character of the developer, and should therefore be avoided.

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The authors wish to thank Juho Hamari, Pauliina Raento, and the other participants of the Games and Money Seminar, April 18–19, 2016, University of Tampere, Finland, for their valuable comments on an early work-in-progress version of this article.

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Correspondence to J. Tuomas Harviainen.

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Heimo, O.I., Harviainen, J.T., Kimppa, K.K. et al. Virtual to Virtuous Money: A Virtue Ethics Perspective on Video Game Business Logic. J Bus Ethics 153, 95–103 (2018).

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  • Game design
  • Business logics
  • Monetisation
  • Virtue ethics