This paper expands Rami Ali’s dissolution of the gamer’s dilemma (Ethics Inf Technol 17:267–274, 2015). Morgan Luck’s gamer’s dilemma (Ethics Inf Technol 11(1):31–36, 2009) rests on our having diverging intuition when considering virtual murder and virtual child molestation in video games. Virtual murder is seemingly permissible, when virtual child molestation is not and there is no obvious morally relevant difference between the two. Ali argues that virtual murder and virtual child molestation are equally permissible/impermissible when considered under different modes of engagement. To this end, Ali distinguishes between story-telling gameplay and simulation games, discussing both in depth. I build on the dissolution by looking into competitive gameplay in order to consider what the morally relevant difference between virtual murder and virtual child molestation might be when competing in a video game. I argue that when competitors consent to participate in a competition, the rules of the competition supersede everyday moral intuitions. As such, virtual competitions ought to represent such consent from virtual characters. Virtual children cannot be represented as giving consent to be molested because (1) children cannot be represented as giving sexual consent, and (2) consent to be possibly molested cannot be given. This creates a morally relevant difference between murder and molestation. By fully addressing competitive gameplay, I answer Luck’s worry that Ali’s dissolution is incomplete (Ethics Inf Technol 20:157–162, 2018).
Ethics and Information Technology