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Could CA Violent Game Law Lead To an Industry Exodus?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the or-a-well-armed-uprising dept.

Businesses 142

donniebaseball23 writes "Oral arguments for the California games law are set to begin on November 2. It's a hugely important court case for the industry, and if the Supreme Court sides with the legislators it could lead to an exodus of talent from the games business, says one attorney. 'Certainly less games would be produced and there would be a corresponding job loss,' said Patrick Sweeney, who leads the Video Game practice at Reed Smith LLP. 'But I expect the impact will likely be significantly deeper. I believe the independent development community would be severely impacted. Innovation, both from a creative and technological aspect, would also be stifled. The companies, brands and individuals that we should be embracing as the visionaries of this creative and collaborative industry will migrate their talents to a more expressive medium.' Meanwhile, Dr. Cheryl K. Olson, author of Grand Theft Childhood, notes that even if California gets its way, it could backfire."

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No (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068760)

it would not cause an exodus. If putting age restriction and fines for violating them hurt industry, there would be no porn made in CA.

Re:No (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068792)

Inversely, would the porn industry be bigger or better if there were no age restrictions?

Re:No (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068814)

Probably not. If anything I would suspect removing it's 'bad' mystique would cause sales to fall.

Re:No (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068834)

Really? I don't think sex is one of those things that people like just because its Taboo. I think a lot of teenage boys 12 and up would be venturing into Adult Source and buying stuff if it were legal to sell it to them.

Re:No (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068992)

Indeed, the 12-18 block has the most intense levels of urges, the least developed skills for satisfying them, and often substantial disposable income. In the years before unfathomable volumes of porn were completely free, there would have been a huge market to sell to them.

Re:No (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069362)

the 12-18 block has ... substantial disposable income.

Um, no.

Re:No (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069490)

Why would you say that? Nearly everything they make they can spend on whatever they want because others typically provide their food, clothing, and shelter?

Re:No (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069502)

Assuming they can get a job in the first place. When I was that age there were paper routes available and other jobs. These days it's getting quite challenging for kids to get work, as a lot of those jobs are being taken over by adults or eliminated due to concerns about child welfare.

Re:No (1)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069550)

Only 20% of 16-18 year olds are employed, and the numbers drop off very quickly under that. A teenagers allowance is derived entirely from an adults disposable income, and generally not "substantial".

Re:No (1)

AtomicOrange (1667101) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070144)

I slaved in a grocery store at that age for meager wages, working with morons for managers, and probably violating many OSHA codes for age-related work. I paid for gas, insurance, and taking a girl out on dates. I'd call that pretty disposable because none of those are required for a teenager - just strongly desired.

Re:No (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071386)

Wait a second... are you saying we can get free porn now?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069050)

I disagree with you. "Vanilla" sex may not be ta

Re:No (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069152)

Ugh. /. raped my comment.

I disagree with you. "Vanilla" sex may not be taboo anymore, but the sexual urges of pubescent children are still stigmatized beyond recognition.

If we encouraged children to explore and understand their sexuality (SAFELY, with condoms, with consenting people of similar age) instead of ostracizing them for expressing their sexuality, or telling them to suppress their urges, I would surmise that those children would be mostly disinterested in those kinds of materials.

To put it shortly, I think that if the sexual capacity of a human body is fully formed, it's absurd to tell that human it can't to what it's made to do.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069460)

It has been shown many times in the past (e.g. comprehensively by Unwin in "Sex and Culture" that repressing individual sexuality is precisely what lets a culture prosper (in fact, that cultural/technological evolution is directly proportional to sexual frustration). You can not have your cake and eat it, too.

Re:No (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069620)

in fact, that cultural/technological evolution is directly proportional to sexual frustration

That explains why those middle eastern cultures are so much more evolved than most other cultures.

A Persian invented algebra (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070346)

That explains why those middle eastern cultures are so much more evolved than most other cultures.

At least their numbers were. A Persian [wikipedia.org] popularized Arabic numerals (123 vs. CXXIII) and invented algebra.

Re:No (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070680)

The hell you talking about? They get to have four wives!

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069988)

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read "Sex and Culture", nor am I familiar with any other studies on the subject matter. The only comparable matter I can recall at the moment is the "Fall of Rome", which was explained to me as the decline of the empire due to an hedonistic culture.

That said, I believe the relevance of the word "comprehensive" is limited to the vocabulary of the domain of the problem in question (a vocabulary which is often times invented by a researcher because a field is so specific), and the presumed axioms of that domain as defined by the researcher (who may have made presumptions hastily, or without exposure to even a small fragment of knowledge that would change the researcher's working context of the domain altogether).

Under the assumption that you are working with the domain vocabularies of the researchers behind the aforementioned studies which I have not read, I would imagine that what you mean is that an individual's ability or need to focus on things other than sex allows that individual to contribute to collective cultural/technological revolution.

I see nothing wrong with an individual repressing one's own sexual urges - I have a problem with a culture that oppresses the urges of an entire population, even if only during pubescence.

To elaborate on my previous comment, the reason I think it is absurd to tell a sexually mature human not to act sexually is that I believe it is psychologically (and, potentially, physically) destructive to the human, especially if it is a child.

Try this: Don't think about sex.

Are you thinking about sex?

It's hard not to think about something you are told not to think about. If you can manage it, congrats. But I would bet that most people have incredible difficulty with it. And I would bet that it's one of the strongest contributing factors to our cultural obsession with sex. The collective unconscious is trying to find any outlet it can for the repressed sexuality it has carried since youth.

On top of this, most legal adults, as far as my personal experience has demonstrated, are not capable of sublimating their sexual frustrations - how can they expect children to be able to do so? Sexual oppression is a contributor to aggression in teenagers - we often write it off as "just hormones".

It is my opinion that if we stop instilling in people the idea that it's naughty or bad or something of which to be ashamed, we can get over the cultural obsession with it, express it in the appropriate places and times, and focus primarily on contributing to culture and technology because we're not anxious about sex all the time.

Re:No (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069054)

Probably, but then drop off at about 24-25. Over all, probably a decline.

While 12-18 year olds would probably have enough income for a magazine, the price goes up quite high. will, it used to. Now it's free.

And you know what? people seem to be a lot more casual about sex these days, and I think that's going to trend towards no one cares about what other people want to do..

Re:No (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070112)

Yeah because underage kids have no direct access to infinite amounts of porn, violence, and naughty language... Imagine if they had something like this... we could call it the internet! This just dumb, lets face it.. EVERYONE HERE grew up with sex and violence. I remember seeing every damn Arnold Governator film, every stalone film, ever Freddy Krugar, Troma films, etc... And I remember wanting to squeeze titties. Its called growing up. We transition from child to adult.... and in that transition, we must be exposed to things at our own pace. To everyone that is different, but it happens universally for all. That is how we became adults. I used to run around int he backyard with a very realisitic looking m16 toy gun, killing imaginary people... pretending to be GI Joe... I grew up into a pretty good person I feel. My father before me, grew up with toy guns as well, playing cowboys and indians... My father is a great man. So... what is this law? Its another way for government to get its hands on the videogame industry's money. Thats all. Government is looking for every penny possible right now. I work in videogames now btw....

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069000)

When the Hayes censorship code was adopted in by the motion picture industry in 1930 it arguably led to an in increase in movie artistic creativity. Paradoxically art often thrives in repressive environments. I'm bored with hearing special interests warn of the the end of civilization as we know it (or at least the game industry). Where there is money to be made people will find a way.

Re:No (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069530)

You got more creative within the acceptable boundaries, but you didn't see a lot of movies being made which pushed the social consciousness either. Restraints do indeed spur creativity, but censorship doesn't do that. What it does is stifle expression and eliminate the possibility of certain stories being told.

That's the reason why people complain about the damage it does to civilization.

Re:No (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069900)

As much as I dislike this whole idea of censorship your comment made me think for a second. Maybe as far as creativity goes we have stagnated. Don't get me wrong graphical detail has increased, artistic representation of the story has gotten pretty good but it's the genres that need to change or get shaken up anyway. Right now pretty much every game needs a gun or has one anyway. Point, shoot,point,etc. Not that it's not entertaining but the only thing that's changed is the blood and gore. Now that will never change we will always have FPS but artists seem to "buck back" in some pretty cool ways when cornered and maybe this will give way to a new game maybe new meme or a new genre but the FPS will never go away. What ever the court room outcome there is way too much money to be made to close up shop and management wouldn't know a good thing if it snuck up and kicked them in the nuts, they will just put their heads down and go forward till something sticks.

Re:No (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069004)

Game developers - Come to Tennessee! We know about guns and are a good spot to have an east coast distribution center. Housing here is cheaper, so you can pay a bit less and people will still be happy. It's hard as hell to find a job in the industry that isn't on the west coast or in an expensive area to live.

Re:No (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069536)

If they ran from CA it's more likely that they'd consolidate up here in WA. Seeing as we already have a video games industry. Nintendo of America, Bungie and a few others are already headquartered up here, consolidating near the others would make more sense.

Re:No (1, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069442)

I've noticed most of the politcal ads this season say the opponent's policies will "cost jobs," no matter what policy it is. "Costing jobs" is simply today's language for "do not want," exactly like "terrorism" last decade. Whatever the current bad thing is, that's what will happen if I don't get what I want.

Note: I am not defending the California bill. I have no idea what might be in it. I followed the two links from this article and they are completely devoid of any actual factual content. Next time give us some actual information to debate.

Re:No (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069562)

A measure like that would cost jobs. That sort of a ban would reduce the copies sold if by only the people who are no longer able to buy it for themselves. I doubt that it's a significant enough number to make much of a difference though.

Re:No (1)

archont (1215492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069976)

No underage commercial porn is made and publically released in CA. Brazil for example had it's share of commercial and interestingly enough (at the time of the 80s) legal porn flicks with underage actors before the age restrictions kicked in. While this didn't make child porn producers from CA go to Brazil, this meant the child porn in Brazil earned more than it's counterpart in CA. Well at least the official firms, we're not counting basement tapes, just like we're not interested in clandestine developers (however cheesy that sounds)

So yes, putting age restrictions on porn means porn without age restrictions is produced elsewhere.

No, I didn't miss the anonymous tick.

No. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34068784)

In short, no. The similar requirement that theaters card teenagers for R-rated movies has not led to an exodus of movie producers from California.

Re:No. (2, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069154)

Your comparison doesn't make much sense. Try something with a car instead.

Re:No. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069576)

That's a requirement which does not exist. Theaters card voluntarily, much like every major game retailer cards voluntarily.

Re:No. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069592)

The similar requirement that theaters card teenagers for R-rated movies...

...doesn't exist. Please do not perpetuate myths.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070606)

...doesn't exist. Please do not perpetuate myths.

In North Carolina they do as it is a state law.

I remember distinctly as they pointed to the sign on the wall explaining the law and turned us away.

Despite this, we came back the next day and bough tickets for a PG-13 movie and happened to walk in the wrong door.

But yes, it is a requirement in some states.

Re:No. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070166)

No, but it has forced the MPAA to self censor every film for it to satisfy the ratings board. Which is censorship... and even R rated films are censored. So much that no one makes an NC-17 film... and X films are just flat out porn. So there is a certain area of content missing in between R and XXX.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34071170)

XXX is not an MPAA rating.
They dropped the X rating a while back, because of the porn industry co-opting it.
X is now called NC-17.

Tip: (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068822)

If it's a hugely important case for the industry, you can spend a sentence describing the law.

Re:Tip: (2, Informative)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068952)

"You must be over 18 to buy an M rated game."

Re:Tip: (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069036)

"You must be over 18 to buy a violent game

FTFY. This law doesn't recognize ESRB ratings. The standards for this law are much lower.

Get your mods straight (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069374)

Parent is Informative, not Insightful.

Re:Get your mods straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069600)

The parent may indeed be correct, but he gets no informative mod from me.

There is no link to anything. There is neither a reference to the article, nor to the fine summary. You're right though the parent was not insightful either.

Re:Tip: (0, Redundant)

VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069162)

How is this different from not being able to buy tickets to an R rated movie? I never understood why game and movie sales aren't regulated in retail like movies are in the theaters. I'm all for anything that forces parents to pay more attention to what their kids are doing for entertainment.

Re:Tip: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069198)

A minor can buy R rated tickets to a movie without breaking any laws at all. The theater can sell it to them without breaking any laws at all. It's self regulation, just like the ESRB.

Re:Tip: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069242)

A minor can buy R rated tickets to a movie without breaking any laws at all.

Except for the law that nearly every city in California has on its books which forbids minors from attending R-rated movies without a parent present.

Re:Tip: (4, Insightful)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069306)

There is no law, federal or state, that prohibits theaters from showing R (or higher) rated movies to minors. It is all voluntary, from the ratings issued by the MPAA to the individual theaters enforcing those ratings. The fact that lots of people do think it is actually illegal for minors to see these movies just shows that there is really no reason for the gaming law - the film version was struck down in 1965 (according to wikipedia) but the "voluntary" system still seems pretty effective (though I do seem to recall managing to get into numerous R-rated movies before I was 18).

Re:Tip: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070646)

There is no law, federal or state, that prohibits theaters from showing R (or higher) rated movies to minors.

North Carolina and Tennessee have such a laws, but that is sort of expected from southern states.

Re:Tip: (2, Insightful)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069630)

How about the fact that it is not illegal to let a minor into an R-rated movie? Many people think it is, but in fact it is not. If a movie theatre lets someone under 17 into an R-rated movie, nobody is fined or imprisoned. Someone might get fired, but getting fired is a far cry from being subject to prosecution. Instead, the theatre chains all have agreed to voluntarily impose policies enforcing the ratings. Note that exactly the same is true of all the major game retailer - and modern game consoles come with parental controls, which when enabled won't allow games of certain ratings to be played.

This law would create an entirely new kind of legal trouble just for violent video games that doesn't exist for any other medium. In my book, that's reason enough to oppose it.

Re:Tip: (1, Troll)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069214)

We already do the same thing for porn, you have to be 18 to buy it. If someone wants to argue seriously that violence isn't as harmful as depictions of sex, and therefor doesn't require an age limit, i'm all ears.

Until then, this law is actually a step in a less hypocritical direction, albeit an even more ridiculous one since limiting access to information based on content is both more offensive and more dangerous than anything a teenager could see in a video game.

Re:Tip: (1)

vell0cet (1055494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070174)

I'll bite.

There are many MANY works that are considered appropriate for minors although they contain graphic depictions of violence. Lord of the Flies, Ovid Metamorphosis, The Iliad, the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood... hell... the BIBLE!

However, (with the exception of the Bible) there are few (if any) depictions of sex that are in adolescent literature. American history itself is filled with a lot of violence. But you'd be hard pressed to see any documented record of detailed sex.

For all those people that say we're already doing the same for porn, I've got a good example for you. When was the last time you saw any porn that had real artistic merit? That really told a great story. I think it's telling that Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest directors to ever live had his last movie Eyes Wide Shut significantly censored so as not to be labeled porn just so that it could be released in theaters is indicative of the type of censorship that would arise.

You would cease to have games that have graphic violence in them just as mainstream movies don't depict sex even when it's part of the story because people wouldn't make them. Imagine Dead Space without graphic violence... not quite as effective a game, is it?

Just in California (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34068830)

Won't the companies just stop selling the games in California?

Uhhhh, why? (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068862)

Unless I badly misunderstand, the law bans sales of games to people under 18. So the only impact here is on stores that sell the games, not on developers. Developers are free to make whatever they like, it is the stores that have to restrict who can buy it. They can still sell anything, they just can't sell it to anyone. Same as tobacco or alcohol.

The only way it would cause an exodus is if game sales plummeted and that would only happen if large amounts of sales of M rated games were being made to people under 18.

I don't buy that for a second. For one, most retailers already ID for games (Target IDs me and I'm 30 and shop there all the time). Also, kids don't tend to have a ton of money to spend. There's a reason there have been more adult targeted games: Adults have more to spend. When I was 14 I had to beg games out of my parents a couple times a year. Now I buy them as I please. Finally parents will just buy the shit anyhow, and that's still legal. Rare is it you hear about the kid who bought their own violent game, the parents bought it for them.

So unless I really misunderstand this, and if so please show me a link to the reality, I can't see it mattering much to the VG industry, it'll just ber a stupid burden on the retailers.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068938)

That's a good point. The sales restrictions would apply to games whether they are produced in California or somewhere else. So it wouldn't matter where the developer happened to be located. I don't understand, then, why this law would cause an exodus of game developers from California. I'm not saying I agree with the law, but the headline here is puzzling.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069096)

It's because the submitter hates video game sales restrictions and doesn't mind twisting the truth to push his agenda.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069786)

Because places like Wal-Mart will stop stocking these games (ahem, hot coffee, anyone?), maybe? Oh, I'm sorry - I stepped on your anti-agenda agenda, didn't I?

Re:Uhhhh, why? (2, Informative)

vell0cet (1055494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070230)

Many states have tried to pass laws that restrict the sale of games to minors. So if the California law is upheld, all the other states will follow suit and craft laws based on the California one.

In reference to why people would leave the industry... It's not because they wouldn't want to make games, it's because the ability to express creativity would become limited. Any depiction of violence could potentially cause your game to be restricted by the law and not get carried by any of the large retailers (not being in Walmart destroys any sales potential of your game). Thus publishers will always "play it safe" to protect their investment.

In regards to stifling creativity. Here's a comparison - When was the last time you saw any porn that had real artistic merit? That really told a great story or carried political, cultural themes? Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest directors to ever live, had his last movie Eyes Wide Shut significantly censored so as not to be labeled porn so that it could be released in theaters in the US. If this law were passed, you'd only have one type of violent game... brutally graphic and heinous. Just as we pretty much only have one type of movie/magazine/etc that contains sex... porn.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069084)

actually, kids have a lot more control over the purse strings then people used to think. This is why so many toys for ads are geared at children.

I know a lot of 10-15 year olds that have 50 or more dollar lying around.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069776)

All these teens and pre-teens you give many dollah to... you might want to keep quiet about that.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069194)

As someone from Germany (we have some of the strictest regulators here concerning violence in games) I can tell you, it WILL affect you as an adult. These for the children laws inevitably affect adults too.

You won't be able to buy 18+ games without jumping through a lot of hoops. Offline stores don't stock them and online stores have to comply with absurd age-checking requirements that cause the likes of eBay to ban anything 18+ outright.

On top of that developers pre-censor their games in fears of getting an 18+ rating. Hell even 18+ games in Germany are censored compared to international versions because our fucked up youth protection laws affect material solely targeted at adults.

As for the exodus, many companies (video game review sites, movie and game mail orders, etc.) had to move to neighbouring countries like Austria because they could not afford the asinine age-checking requirements.

Things will change for you, too.

mod parent up (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069248)

This is the best post yet in this thread. People need to remember that children grow into adults. If you want to do what's best for your children, make sure they inherit a world that an adult will want to live in.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070488)

Been there, done that.

Kids usually just had an adult buy the games or simply got a pirated version.
In the best case the regulations were rendered useless (only wasting time & money) and in the worst the game companies didn't get paid.

Of course in Germany the games were screened by representatives from the catholic and lutheran churches, psychologists and other education "experts". In other words, senile old farts and other people so far removed from reality (and games in particular) it's not even funny.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

ninjacheeseburger (1330559) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069246)

This law is already inplace in the UK and I'm pretty sure it hasn't harmed the industry, I don't know about CA but here its still legal to be under 18 and play the games, you just have to get your parents (or anyone over 18) to buy it for you.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

gamecrusader (1684024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069454)

if this then they may think now we should ban first persons because they promote violence this would lead to a down fall and a violation of our rights this is BULLSHIT

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069478)

If it is harder to purchase violent video games fewer people will buy them, not necessarily in giant droves however, decreasing revenue over all. Now how much of an affect this is will be hard to judge but could potentially, don't read certainly, lead to large decreases in game sales. Also the argument doesn't seem to be that developers will leave California but in general will disappear. On that note we are too obsessed with jobs recently, if a job is not useful or is in fact harmful we are keeping people from performing useful beneficial work in other industries and defense of them is basically a make work argument.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069668)

Less games sold means less game bought means less games made means less game developer jobs.

This isn't about game developers leaving California, it is about game developers being kicked out of the industry to increase profit margins.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069890)

First off, the law doesn't ban sales of M rated games to minors, it bans sales of "a video game that has been labeled as a violent video game to a minor".

That's what the law does. So in effect, ANY game with a violent component could be affected by this law. T rated games, like the KOTOR series, could be restricted. Since the law places the punishment onto the retailers, retailers may stop carrying violent games all together rather than try to figure out which games would lead to punishment if sold.

As to why people should care about this, 11 states are currently supporting this endeavor by California. Should California succeed, expect similar laws to be quickly passed in the following states:
          Minnesota
          Illinois
          Michigan
          Connecticut
          Maryland
          Virgina
          Florida
          Mississippi
          Louisiana
          Texas
          Hawaii

Wording of the law can be found here: http://law.justia.com/california/codes/2009/civ/1746-1746.5.html

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070208)

It does impact developers (I am one)

Because If you force the stores to sell to only 18 or older, you're forcing the developers to make games that can be old to 18 years or younger.

For example: If you want your game to hit a wider audience, you would be forced to make it acceptable for that wider audience as per whatever the government deems is acceptable. Which is frankly unconstitutional.

There are many parents who have no problem with their child playing violent video games. How will their children buy these games? Mom and Dad will have to buy them personally? Mom and Dad are working 2 damn jobs.

This is the government trying to find a way to make money off the game industry.

The government has no concern for the children. If they did... Universal Single Payer Health Care would be a law! If they cared about your children, they would impose strict tariffs on imported goods. so that Americans are not competing with slave wages overseas.

This is just another "for the children" law, that is unconstitutional, and a way to increase government revenue.

One-stop shopping (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070406)

Mom and Dad will have to buy them personally? Mom and Dad are working 2 damn jobs.

And does that slow them down? Hardly. Mom and Dad already have to buy groceries regularly. Big-box supercenter chains, such as Walmart*, Target, and Meijer, sell both video games and groceries.

If they cared about your children, they would impose strict tariffs on imported goods. so that Americans are not competing with slave wages overseas.

But then the United States would lose its export market as other countries retaliate with their own tariffs. Think of the children whose parents would lose their manufacturing jobs due to the export decline.

Re:Uhhhh, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070468)

If I have money, I can walk down to the Coinstar machine at Target, buy an amazon.com card, and order the game. So now what? No sending games to anyone in California?

Re:Uhhhh, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34071060)

It's bad because it has the potential to put M rated games into the same gutter that X rated movies go into.

If that happens then you can kiss some of the good games goodbye.

Besides, it's more "think of the children" crap legislation. Why support that?

Re:Uhhhh, why? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071376)

I don't buy that for a second. For one, most retailers already ID for games (Target IDs me and I'm 30 and shop there all the time). Also, kids don't tend to have a ton of money to spend.

That's extremely false. Kids are super-important to game developers. They control an amazing amount of their parents' money, collectively.

On the other hand, you're right that more mature gamers have led to more mature games. And by that I mean fishing, hunting, and golf.

Who cares (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34068904)

Physical game sales are on their way out the door anyway. Or they are with PC games that is... next-generation consoles will probably see the same displacement.

Illogical, Illogical (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068916)

I don't see how banning sales of some games to minors will cause an exodus of game developer talent. No matter where the games are made they will still be subject to the same ban.

Re:Illogical, Illogical (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069032)

Obviously the exodus of talent would be to the porn industry.

Re:Illogical, Illogical (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069094)

I don't see how banning sales of some games to minors will cause an exodus of game developer talent.

That's probably because it won't.

And the article isn't illogical. It's hyperbolic demagoguery.

What? Government-knows-best is bad for us all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34068924)

An overweening government, so sure of it's correctness isn't a GOOD thing?

And here I thought the government telling you what's good for you is, umm, err, "progress".

Damn. And I was SOO looking forward to having the same government that gives us the TSA being in charge of my health care.

Re:What? Government-knows-best is bad for us all? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069618)

Nice trolling. The government won't be any more in charge of healthcare than it was previously. The only difference is that nearly everybody will have health insurance.

Welcome to Nevada! (2, Insightful)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068926)

California's neighboring state, Nevada, would welcome these businesses because it would diversify its economy which is predominately based on alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and sex.

Plus, Nevada has no corporate income tax nor personal income tax.

Re:Welcome to Nevada! (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34068982)

It wouldn't be an "exodus from California" it would be an exodus "from the industry" altogether according to the lawyer.

Moving to Nevada wouldn't change anything. And if no longer being able to sell M rated games to minors "stifles developer creativity" then I can only imagine what living in Nevada would do to them.

Re:Welcome to Nevada! (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069122)

but it is Ugly, has poor services, and no class.

Of course, if you like brown it's the place to be.

Re:Welcome to Nevada! (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069322)

Kind of like a brown version of Alaska, but not pretty, and they don't pay you to live there.

Bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34068930)

The only people opposing game certification are the types who like to sell padded bras to pre-pubescent girls and sweets to children crawling around in their nappies. They're the same types who claim guns and tits content is mature as they smash heads together driving the market down to its lowest common denominator. The dumber, nastier, and more violent the better. In the end it always results in an exodus of talent and customers just like any other ghetto. Think Somalia.

Unless these control freaks and greedy wankers learn to back off the gas they're not only going to destroy the market their selling into they'll end up tearing down their own industry as well. Think movies. Think music. So what they're really saying is that they're producing shit nobody really wants and they're prepared to do anything to beat, bully, and asset strip games into the ground until there's nothing left. At no point does this involve what's right for the customer or society. It's all about them.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069946)

The only people opposing game certification are the types who like to sell padded bras to pre-pubescent girls and sweets to children crawling around in their nappies.

By not presenting any proof for this claim, you shrieked your confession that it's a lie. And you can never take that confession back or prove it wrong in any way.

I fail to see why CA has any businesses at all. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069014)

It's a very beautiful place to visit, but I would hate to try to run a business from CA. HORRIBLE economy and regulatory environment. The state is bankrupt, and Americans can watch CA if they want some insight into where the country is headed if we keep allowing our government to load us up with debt. When Bernard Goldberg "borrows" money to create bogus profits he goes to prison, but when our Treasury Department does it by selling T-bills to the Federal Reserve it's totally legal. Go figure.

Re:I fail to see why CA has any businesses at all. (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070830)

your stupid rant aside, I will answer your question. California has a PERFECT climate. Year round, it is an absolute delight just to wake up and walk outside. That really is the reason why all these rich people and rich companies are there, because they can afford to be delighted every morning just by opening their door.

you can move your headquarters to say Texas, and many companies do... They don't really have to pay taxes, the wages you have to pay out are lower, the cost of living is nothing, but the truth of the matter is the weather sucks, pretty much everywhere except California.

can't read the article (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069166)

The law is stupid, but claiming it would cause an exodus of developers is equally stupid. It doesn't change in any way what they do, or what they are able to sell nationwide, it only affects what they can sell to minors in California - and in that respect affects developers equally regardless of where they live/work. The law should be struck down, as it was originally before our (nominally Republican - I thought those guys were supposed to be against such idiocy) loveable governator decided to appeal the decision, but it doesn't help matters any to spout such nonsensical hyperbole.

Nonsense (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069172)

if the Supreme Court sides with the legislators it could lead to an exodus of talent from the games business

Production is based in California because talent, production facilities and resources of every kind are to be found in California.

Re:Nonsense (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069674)

It could happen. I doubt very much that it would as a result of this, but there is a pretty substantial games industry up here in Washington, and the courts here are amicable to software companies. Between that and the cheap electricity MS stays here, even though they feel like paying most of their taxes in Nevada.

No... Look at movies. (1)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069188)

Look at the movie industry. Rated R movies make getting in for minors much harder. What do the directors do? Make PG-13 movies, and push the limit all they can. There is not a shortage of people wanting to make movies.

Why do the states keep doing this? (1, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069252)

States all over the union have passed laws restricting "violent video games" (with various definitions for that term) and every time the courts have overturned them as unconstitutional.

Why do the states keep wasting taxpayer money on laws that they know wont survive in court? (are they just trying law after law until someone finally finds language that wont get overturned?)

Re:Why do the states keep doing this? (1)

Tawnos (1030370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069332)

Yes. For historical examples, check out the New Deal and its Supreme Court history.

Re:Why do the states keep doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070528)

because passing such laws (or at least voting for them) help lawmakers get the vote of certain groups of constituents.

WHAT FUCKING LAW?! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069288)

what a garbage site with garbage summaries

Because only violence is fun? (1)

aGuyNamedJoe (317081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069326)

The reasoning appears to be that if we can't program violence, there's nothing worth doing, so everyone will quit...

What a strange world it is, where creative imagination can't come up with anything unless it involves mayhem and death.

Re:Because only violence is fun? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070120)

Strawman argument. No one besides those who support the law has said that.

Screw the developers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069390)

Screw the developers! Am I going to lose my violent games?

They'll just change the games (3, Interesting)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069564)

All military shooters will take place in a parallel universe where the world's governments realize that while war is a means to an end, the cost of life is too great to be a viable option. All firearms were discarded, used only for sport now, and instead all guns are paintball guns. The UN sends judges to determine when soldiers have taken enough hits to be considered unfit to continue. In the end, the soldiers meet in the middle of the battlefield, shake hands, and pull out wet sponges to clean paint off the opposing teams's uniform and kit. In this world, in war, no matter which side is victorious, everyone is a winner.

California Games ha! Best game ever! (2, Interesting)

drunken-yeti (1874620) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069624)

On a serious note America doesn't have any violence issue compared to the rest of the world. Most of the places with the worst violence don't have much of a TV/video game playing population. Serbia, Africa, the Middle East yep all video games fault.

Another double-standard (1)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069750)

This is the same stuff legislators were trying to pull with the motion picture industry. In the end a self-regulating body was put in place, accepted by the consumers and producers, and all is well. Do younger kids end up seeing violent or sexual movies? Sure, it can happen and there is recourse if a parent thinks a theater isn't adhering to the system. TV has it's rating system that is enabled by the V-chip and controlled by the household authority (presumably the parents). All gaming systems (computers too? I assume so) have this in place, so why isn't the ESRB given the same right?

If this was something as simple as unrated pornographic games that 8-year-olds were getting a hold of, I would be inclined to agree with the legislation. This isn't the case. This is parents being unwilling to take the 30 seconds to check the rating on a game or, baring that, spending some time with their kid seeing what they are consuming. Meanwhile, legislators in the bankrupt state of California have more pressing matters to deal with than trying to subvert the Constitution.

That said, the conservative court will drop this one like a bad habit. It already has precedence on it's side with movies and TV, a ratings system that works, and that little thing called the first amendment. IANAL but I doubt there will be more than 1 or 2 dissenters - possibly one of the whacko judges, ie Clarence Thomas.

Expect an increase in piracy. (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070614)

I don't expect the number of kids playing the forbidden games to go down, just a change in their method of obtaining them. Of course, if the kids are playing them NOW, they probably don't have parents that care a great deal, and those parents are unlikely to object greatly to acting as a filter for the purchase.

And for those situations for which piracy is an option (every non-online PC game), expect it to be exploited more often than it might have been in the past. More and more games are also sold online, for direct digital distribution. How does the law
apply in that case? Even if some method of adult verification is required, the possession of a credit card to purchase it is usually sufficient. Extremely resourceful children with uncooperative parents will be able to cash purchase a pre-paid debit card, populate it with whatever owner data they wish, and purchase the games with that..

Ultimately, this all boils down to the parents monitoring the activities of their children and rearing their children in the way they best see fit. If restricting violent video games is part of their parental ajenda, their involvement will have much more effect than any law will.

-Restil

Self inflated politicians (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070880)

The companies, brands and individuals that we should be embracing as the visionaries of this creative and collaborative industry will migrate their talents to a more expressive medium

      Or better yet, they will just move to a different state/country.

California is not the center of the universe (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071120)

They just think they are. There will always be a market for violent games. And besides, kids will still get them. This is nothing more than BS "feel good legislation".
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