Critical digital rights battles over privacy, free speech and anonymity are increasingly being fought in video games, a growing market that is becoming a “new political arena”, experts and insiders said on Thursday.
With the industry set to more than double annual revenues to $300 billion by 2025, questions about how video game operators, designers and governments handle sensitive issues take on added urgency, said participants at RightsCon, a virtual digital rights conference.
In recent months, a Hong Kong activist staged a protest against Beijing’s rule inside a popular social simulator game called Animal Crossing, and a member of the US Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, campaigned in the game as well.
The game Minecraft, meanwhile, has been used to circumvent censorship, with groups using it to create digital libraries and smuggle banned texts into repressive countries.
“Video games have become this new political arena,” said Micaela Mantegna, founder of GeekyLegal, an Argentinian group that focuses on tech policy.