Gaming Industry Bodies Set Esports Principles for Fair Play

Five video game industry associations have joined forces to create a set of principles for “fun and fair” play for the esports industry.

The collaborating bodies are America’s Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), the UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) body, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) of Australia and New Zealand, and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE).

Esports Principles Cheering Crowd

© Riot Games

Universal Esports Principles

Together they have created “Universal Esports Principles” for esports engagement, delivering a set of values they say are “applicable in all aspects of the global esports environments.” These values and principles are:

“Safety and well-being, integrity and fair play, respect and diversity, and positive and enriching game play.”

In response to what the collaboration calls “incredible growth” in the esports industry the principles are a “public statement” of esports values. A press release by ESA says:

“It is vital for all participants to engage actively in esports culture in a positive and enriching way, ensuring esports remains an exciting and inclusive activity and industry at all levels.”

Encompassing all industry participants

A statement by the combined associations refers to an esports community that includes game publishers, gaming intellectual property owners, players, teams, and tournament organizers “who bring this vibrant community to life.” The associations hope to support “an ecosystem of play” that encompasses anyone in esports, right from a local community level through to international competitions.

The creation of these new esports principles and the effort of the associations to collaborate in this manner is characteristic of an industry that’s growing rapidly. The principles themselves describe esports as “one of the fastest growing and most exciting industries in the world” and are endorsed by a number of other global gaming bodies.

Read also: Esports Guide for Parents

Rejecting poor behaviour and welcoming diversity and sportsmanship

As expected the principles, available in full at ESA here, reject threats, threatening language and behaviour, and acts of violence, as well as cheating, hacking, and other dishonest behaviour. They welcome diversity stating:

“Esports is truly global and brings together players from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. We believe the broad and diverse player base of esports contributes to its success. We support an open, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all, no matter one’s gender identity, age, ability, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.”

The last principle, positive and enriching game play, points to the benefits of esports in helping to “build confidence and sportsmanship” and in developing “new and lasting friendships” amongst teammates and competitors as well as the wider community. And, it says how the burgeoning industry brings players and fans together “to problem solve through strategic play, collaboration, and critical thinking.

Esports is evolving into a multi-billion-dollar sports sector in its own right. It follows traditional sports which have their own sets of values and principles. For example, in the UK, Premier League football has its Statement of Principles, the NFL has its Mission and Values and the Olympics has its “Olympism” philosophy of life.

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