May 22, 2022

8-Year-Old Gamer, Signs to Pro eSports Team 33

Is the signing of an 8 year old openly mocking the video game certificate.

Team 33 signed 8-year-old Joseph Deen to their Fortnite squad for a $33,000 signing bonus. The young gamer was also given a $5,000 gaming setup.

“It’s a dream come true!” says Joseph Deen, when asked to comment on his new signing. “While many other teams didn’t take me seriously due to my young age, Team 33 scouted me through Fornite games and let me train and learn with them daily. I couldn’t be happier today to become an official member of the team,” he added. 

Joseph Deen, now known as 33 Gosu, is one of the youngest players to ever sign to a pro eSports team and has been training with Team 33 for the last two years, since the age of 6, in order to make his dreams come true.   

How ethical is this?

This started me thinking. Whilst I am pleased for the young man’s happiness at having his dreams fulfilled at such an early age. How ethical is it for a company to sign someone so young to a professional eSports team? Particularly when the game in question is a certificate 12 and the said individual is eight years young.

Of course, it is and should remain the parents prerogative to decide what video games they allow their child to play. However as a cooperate entity should business not have a moral obligation to ensure that they play their part in ensuring that children are protected? If not, why have certificates on games? Why restrict resellers from selling games to under age children? Is the signing of an 8 year old openly mocking the video game certificate?

As a parent, I fully endorse the parents right to bring up their children as they see fit. However, it worries me that legally and ethically businesses are allowed to endorse this behaviour. The certificate rating on a game is there for a reason. Or is it?

PEGI Pointless?

In the UK all physical games are regulated by the GRA, which uses the PEGI rating system to ensure they’re suitable for the specified age group. While PEGI 3 and 7 ratings are not legally binding, PEGI 12, 16 and 18 are. It’s illegal to sell a game to someone younger than the specified age. Anyone who does so can be prosecuted. The GRA also has active input into the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), an organisation incorporating worldwide regulators to oversee online content such as apps and games. This enables online stores, such as Google Play and Microsoft, to display recognised PEGI ratings.

But what is the point of all this bureaucratic waffle because at the end of the day if it is not enforced it is just that waffle? Maybe certificates should be done away with and all games should be up to the parents to decide. I am quite sure we all know someone who allows 6 year old Jonny to play Call of Duty.

So what are the options?

Keep certificates as a guideline in which case ditch the authorities that police them.

Ditch the certificates altogether as there is no point to them.

Keep the certificates as a guideline for parents and ensure that business follow said ratings to protect the young ones from being exploited.

I am not suggesting that Team 33 are doing this. However, it does make me question the general morality of such a move. Is it corporate negligence, well that is one for the suits to argue over? I am only a Mamma and a gamer throwing in her two pennies worth into what is an ethical hotpot of morally questionable practices.

Source: PR News Video Standards


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