Computer Games vs Law: Virtualization and Transformation of Political and Legal Institutions

  • Anton Vasiliev Altai State University
  • Vladislav Arkhipov Saint Petersburg State University
  • Nikolai Andreev Voronezh State University
  • Yulia Pechatnova
Keywords: computer games, law, virtual reality, virtual law, virtual environment, legal regulation, virtual state


The paper provides an analysis of virtual reality as a subject of regulation while
underlining the similarity of principles in gaming and regulatory activities as the
elements of virtual reality. A deeper insight into the relationships between regulatory
and gaming activities allows to make a statement that gaming provides a tool
for situational analysis to identify the most rational action among the available
alternatives thus offering a way to construct a legal reality. Assuming that people
will make decisions by weighing costs and benefits to maximize the “utility”, and will
interact with others by balancing preferences and constraints, the immersion into the
gaming environment and observation of the process of rational decision-making will
allow to construct predictive and explanatory models for pubic authorities to organize
a relatively efficient law-making process. Moreover, the reciprocal influence of the
gaming and legal environment has been persistently ignored by the law enforcement
practices, only to result in legal gaps. A careful and comprehensive study of gaming
as a legal phenomenon is thus a prerequisite of balanced and adequate lawmaking
as well as enforcement. Therefore, this study purports to examine the points of
contact between the gaming and the legal reality, and assess the existing legal gaps and prospects of creating and eventually applying “virtual” law. The methodology of
the study includes general philosophic and scholar methods (analysis, synthesis,
logical and systemic methods), specific research and legal methods (including
formal legal analysis). The authors propose to make a definition of virtual law and
to identify the levels of virtual environment. In analyzing the virtual environment, the
authors conclude that it needs to be viewed through the lens of legal regulation since
the virtual nature of computer games gives rise to socially important and potentially
controversial interactions between players, platforms and developers that need to
be mediated. The authors finally conclude that superficial and skeptical attitude
of jurisprudence towards the gaming industry is unacceptable while regulatory
problems have to be addressed both in science and law. Internationally, the legal
systems are already developing a set of provisions — virtual law, Internet law —
designed to regulate socially important aspects of computer games


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Author Biography

Yulia Pechatnova

Altai State University


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How to Cite
VasilievA., ArkhipovV., AndreevN., & PechatnovaY. (2023). Computer Games vs Law: Virtualization and Transformation of Political and Legal Institutions. Legal Issues in the Digital Age, 4(1), 77-92. Retrieved from