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Videogame Decency Act in Congress

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the and-there-it-shall-stay-forever-more dept.

Games 73

GamePolitics reports on yet another attempt by lawmakers to make the world safe from the dangers of electronic entertainment. Entered by Representative Fred Upton, the bill spells out penalties for game companies that try to 'sneak' something past ESRB raters. Says Upton, "I guess I thought the FTC would have had some more teeth than they apparently have... I'm not at all happy... In essence there are no consequences. None... I would like to have thought that (Take-Two and Rockstar) would have been able to be fined for millions of dollars for the trash they put out across this country. I am going to be looking to write legislation giving the FTC the authority to impose civil penalties."

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censorship fixes everything (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433199)

Entered by Representative Fred Upton, the bill spells out penalties for game companies that try to 'sneak' something past ESRB raters.

What does that even mean? Hot Coffee wasn't a 'sneak', it was excised content that required a third-party modification to even view. Yeah it was on the disc, but it wasn't accessible. It's not like you hit a secret code and OMG PORN.

Re:censorship fixes everything (4, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433377)

What's more, who's spelling out what "sneak" means? If players can manipulate the game in a way the developers did not really intend (upskirt views come to mind), does this count? What about fanedits? Does this clown even know the difference?

Re:censorship fixes everything (5, Funny)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433697)

While there may be some difficulties in the law, with harsh penalties predicated on ambiguous undefined concepts in the current phrasing, I feel you're losing sight of the big picture. We have to think of the children, and how we can best protect them in a world with so many dangers, many of which have been caused by violent music and video games (but not movies). So, while there may be some shortcomings in the current law, it is well worth the price. As Benjamin Franklin said, sometimes you have to give up some freedom temporarily in order to gain security. Also, several senators have gone on record promising that they would not abuse this additional power, so I think your fears of abuse are unfounded.

Re:censorship fixes everything (0, Redundant)

aliendisaster (1001260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433857)

Actually, Benjamin Franklin said:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety
But I think you forgot your sarcasm tags or something...atleast, I hope that wasn't sincere.

Re:censorship fixes everything (1)

twd (167101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434035)

Um, actually, I think your sarcasm tag detector was firing somewhat slowly. But at least it did fire.

Re:censorship fixes everything (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433901)

If I had mod points, you would be +5 funny.

Re:censorship fixes everything (1)

Guntram Shatterhand, (1078103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18449933)

Given my years as a tech, I can honestly say that anybody who really doubts how dumb the general populace is about computers can look towards that whole 'the internet is made of tubes.' My solution to this? Ignore the complaints. Kids who have $50 to buy a game either have a job and are adult enough to play a game or parents too stupid to teach their kids regardless. The ratings system is fine. If the parents don't care about it, then tough. Of course, this is all academic since a small minority are whining about this because they need to whine about something. Big freaking deal.

Re:censorship fixes everything (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18440527)

Yeah it was on the disc, but it wasn't accessible. It's not like you hit a secret code and OMG PORN.

Heres what I think Congress should do.

They should make it illegal to sell or produce things which can be modified in any way so as to display pornography.

Re:censorship fixes everything (1)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18441579)

Bye bye, Etch-a-Sketch =(

We've seen this before. (5, Insightful)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433217)

We've seen this before. [wikipedia.org] It sucked - it set the comic book industry back nearly twenty years. *AND* it was self imposed. Let's learn from that mistake, shall we?

Re:We've seen this before. (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433359)

The major difference here is that if, like comics, such a code were imposed on video games, the response would be to create a sort of "underground" for creating and distributing non-compliant material. The internet excels at this sort of thing, finding all manner of ways to subvert, and circumvent those who would try to censor/control the flow of information.

Re:We've seen this before. (1, Troll)

harrkev (623093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433671)

It ain't about stopping people from buying the stuff. It is just about ratings. To me, the law just reads "We are going to give this game $rating. If there is something in this game that makes it require something more than $rating, you have to tell us." Really, that is all that there is to it. Not a big deal.

Ratings do NOT create censorship -- they just inform the consumer. It is sort of like complaining that food labels "censor" high-calorie fatty foods and create an underground market for twinkies.

Now, if certain retailers decide not to carry any "mature" ratings, that is up to the retailer. But there will always be places on the internet that you can order this stuff from. It is not like www.gogamer.com qualifies as an "underground."

Labeling movies as PG, R, X, etc. has not created and underground for movies. It just means that if you want "X", you go to a different store. Personally, I do not want a "teenage sluts" movie playing right next to "Bambi."

Re:We've seen this before. (2, Insightful)

jhantin (252660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433859)

Ratings do NOT create censorship -- they just inform the consumer. It is sort of like complaining that food labels "censor" high-calorie fatty foods and create an underground market for twinkies.

Now, if certain retailers decide not to carry any "mature" ratings, that is up to the retailer. But there will always be places on the internet that you can order this stuff from. It is not like www.gogamer.com qualifies as an "underground."

Only problem here is that the video game business has gone all (RI|MP)AA in its distribution scheme - you need to go platinum and you need to sell through the "big box" stores or you're not even going to recover the cost of the (RI|MP)AA-grade media assets. If the "big box" stores won't sell your game you'll be lucky to sell 10k units. How many X rated movies have been blockbusters on the scale of, say, the recent Lord of the Rings movies?

Re:We've seen this before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18435737)

Are you saying you know of X-rated movies written, filmed, and produced on the scale of Lord of the Rings? Why are you not sharing this with the rest of us?

Financing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436207)

Are you saying you know of X-rated movies written, filmed, and produced on the scale of Lord of the Rings?
No, and this is because banks aren't willing to finance the business plans of publishers of big-budget X-rated movies, in turn because no major theater chain or big-box retailer is willing to carry them.

Re:We've seen this before. (1)

toejam316 (1000986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436691)

This is actually no longer so, with distribution methods like Direct 2 Drive, Steam and countless others, its almost completely possible to bypass retail shops completely.

Re:We've seen this before. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433991)

Such rating schemes are tantamount to censorship in the end. The Comics Code Authority proved this decades ago. Once you create the ratings it doesn't take long for municipalities to create laws that criminalize material with ratings above a certain point. Once that happens the publishers who publish material with those ratings (no matter how popular they were before) lose their business or end up dumbing it down to the lowest common denominator.

Just look at what happens to NC-17 films and how hard directors will work to cut something down to an R if they're threatened with it. There aren't even that many theaters that won't be able to show an NC-17 film and yet still the studios won't touch it.

Re:We've seen this before. (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434179)

Ratings do NOT create censorship -- they just inform the consumer. It is sort of like complaining that food labels "censor" high-calorie fatty foods and create an underground market for twinkies.

It's the first step to censorship, though. First, the government not-so-gently pushes for "voluntary" ratings and labeling (see MPAA ratings and the PMRC [wikipedia.org] -induced content warnings for music). Next step is to enforce penalties for selling/showing content of certain ratings, like when Utah tried to introduce legislation that would hold movie theaters accountable for letting minors into an R-rated movie w/o a parent. That smells of censorship, not mere informational utility.

I won't even get into the de facto censorship when huge, ubiquitous retailers refuse to carry content due to said labellings.

Yadda-yadda-yadda... sure, true "censorship" is when I have a threat of government rebuking for saying something like "Bush sucks" in my local newspaper. However, when huge corporations can skew the marketplace and effectively stomp out distribution of something (like Wal Mart can, for example), it effectively is a form of censorship.

Re:We've seen this before. (1)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433717)

Creating a good "underground" comic can be done by one talented artist and one talented writer. The amount of effort required to make a game is significantly more - especially if you want it to be available to consoles. A particularly stringent Videogame Decency Act would gut this billion dollar industry.

But, hey - maybe that's a good thing. Maybe we'll come out the other side into a video game "Bronze Age"/"Modern Age", where new creative talent can revolutionize the way America looks at games.

Maybe.

Re:We've seen this before. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434025)

Yeah, but who wants to sit through 20 years of gold/silver age shlock to get there?

The best example of how badly the CCA gutted the comics industry is to consider how America had a vibrant and thriving comics industry that was larger than Japan's before the CCA came around. Shortly afterward it was reduced to a sad husk of its former glory while the Japanese Manga industry flourished and produced works that are to this day considered classics of literature.

That's right... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433233)

Let someone else be the parents. We're too busy scarfing down Starbucks and watching reality TV and can't be bothered to know what our kids are doing.

Didn't someone buy GTA:SA for their 11 year old kid? Yeah, great way to be a parent.

EuropeBlows! (1)

EvilPickles (943600) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434781)

Let someone else be the parents. We're too busy scarfing down Starbucks and watching reality TV and can't be bothered to know what our kids are doing. Didn't someone buy GTA:SA for their 11 year old kid? Yeah, great way to be a parent.
Takes one to know one. In which case you probably aren't 'one'. Nice try trying to pass yourself off as an american (and by american I do mean the US of A). It's funny, I don't think any of our Congressmen and women know that any Joe with a bit of programming knowledge can create a video game. It may not be a 3 dimensional multi million dollar MMO, but it's not that difficult. I made one just last night, it was a siple 2d arcade game. I don't think jack thompson knows that anyone can create one as well. What are they going to do, filter the Internet? Like Communist China? There are hundreds of thousands of video games on the Internet, from simple flash games to independant games. I think that any legislation enacted against online activity or Software would be ineffective, possibly even unenforcable, and might contain many loopholes. I do however believe that there should be some looking into the 'contracts' that users have to agree to. I've read some and some can be labeled as very general, unspecific and out right wrong. Can I get a concurance?

Lockout chip business model (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436255)

It's funny, I don't think any of our Congressmen and women know that any Joe with a bit of programming knowledge can create a video game.
On which platform? Can "any Joe with a bit of programming knowledge" make games for platforms other than on Windows, Mac OS X, and Windows Mobile? Perhaps the legislation might be targeted to those consoles whose makers can deny any title (and have historically categorically denied all microstudio titles). Other parts of the U.S. code, such as 17 USC 109, already distinguish between PCs and video game consoles.

Re:EuropeBlows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18438551)

Nice try at karma points. Not only do I live in the USA, but... I AM A PARENT.

You = FAIL.

first post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433241)

i've never gotten one let me know if i got one

Re:first post? (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433337)

ooo, bad news mate :(

Good idea, bad implementation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18433275)

I think it's ok for the ESRB to have some sort of civil power over companies, but not like this.
If the system was designed to make sure a disgruntled employee can't insert pr0n into a children's game without direct retribution, then the system may very well help. But after seeing the overreaction to the GTA SA hot coffee mod, I have an awful feeling that this won't lead anywhere near it's stated goals.

Missed his target, apparently. (4, Insightful)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433297)

Everyone loves to tie the "Hot Coffee" scandal into these types of discussions, including the author of the bill apparently, but it looks like Rockstar would not be punished under this law.

It shall be unlawful... to... distribute... any video game that contains a rating label... for that video game where the person, with the intent of obtaining a less restrictive age-based content rating, failed to disclose content of the video game that was required to be disclosed to the independent ratings organization...
I think you'd have a pretty hard time proving that Rockstar intentionally hid the Hot Coffee content with the intent of obtaining a less restrictive rating. It makes you wonder how much legislators actually know about the things they try to legislate.

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433497)

It makes you wonder how much legislators actually know about the things they try to legislate.
Series of tubes. 'Nuff said.

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435973)

I have yet to be told why the 'series of tubes' metaphor is so terrible. Perhaps you can?

I mean, as an analogy, it's not really so bad. True, there are no real tubes, but as Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] points out:

The term pipe is a commonly used idiom to refer to a data connection, with pipe size being analogous to bandwidth.[13]

Routers use a data structure called a queue to buffer packets.[14] When packets arrive more quickly than can be forwarded, the router will hold the packets in a queue until they can be sent on to the next router or be dropped.[15] On congested links packets typically spend more time waiting in the queue than they do actually moving down wires or optical fiber. It is the delay of packets in the queue that causes the latency problems that make certain types of services impossible to use (see Network Neutrality).[16]
References available on the Wiki page.

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436111)

I agree on that particular point, but it's clear from the context that the "tubes" analogy was less "insightfully spot-on" than "correct by way of flailing wildly and actually randomly hitting something".

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436141)

And yet, the 'spot-on' analogy is the one that is constantly referenced and belittled. How amusing.

At least I've gotten some confirmation that I'm not crazy, that my degree did not go to waste--that the specific, ridiculed analogy is actually reasonable. Thanks for that! :)

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (1)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436323)

Could you please explain QoS to my grandmother without using the tubes or highway metaphors?

TIA

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18453343)

Well, let's see, it's been proven time and time again that anything relating to computers can be analogized to a car... we just need to find which part.

Damn, it's probably a hose or a pipe.

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434421)

Hot Coffee wasn't even pornographic by their standards. It would be unlikely to have had a harsher rating if it did (it was already M).

Re:Missed his target, apparently. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18439871)

Well, in a way they were hiding it. They knew they would probably get a Mature rating if it was in, so they took it out by removing access to it. It can be argued any which way. At least we learned now it's better to take it completely off or it still counts =(

Too vague (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433307)

It shall be unlawful... to... distribute... any video game that contains a rating label... for that video game where the person, with the intent of obtaining a less restrictive age-based content rating, failed to disclose content of the video game that was required to be disclosed to the independent ratings organization...

Content that was required to be disclosed? Would the Hot Coffee mod have been required to be disclosed? You can't view it through gameplay alone. There is no (demonstrated) bug that would allow you to access it without patching the game's files, in contravention of the game's EULA.

This law is useful only for selective enforcement. It has no other purpose. Remember Howard Stern getting fined by the FCC for saying essentially the same thing that Oprah said on her show?

Re:Too vague (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436119)

Ratings systems are far too subjective. Ratings systems for interactive content are far to difficult to manage. Most video games aren't like movies, where there is a linear path to follow and all of the content is clearly displayed if the film is viewed from beginning to end. A game is likely to have hundreds of diverging paths based upon player decisions. It's difficult for the creator to say exactly what the player might do that could be considered "for mature audiences only". Someone mentioned the 'upskirt' issue, where a player may pan the camera between the legs of a female character in the game. Is this particular action intended within the game? Probably not--rather, the programmers wanted to allow a free range of camera movement, and it just so happened that this allowed for a potentially "mature" scene.

Who, then, should be at fault if something like that slips by? Is it the programmer's fault? The reviewer's fault? Is the programmer expected to disclose every potential user-directed action that might be considered harmful to some players?

What about bugs? I've seen bugs where a character's head becomes removed from the body. Is this decapitation? Is it to be rated? Is the programmer at fault if the bug causes the problem? What about 3rd party mods? Hell, what about 1st party mods to older games?

This entire endeavor is rife with problems, and while I'm not saying that the problems can't be solved, one has to wonder if it's all really worth it.

Re:Too vague (1)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436353)

Remember Howard Stern getting fined by the FCC for saying essentially the same thing that Oprah said on her show?

No I don't. But any comparison between the two is like comparing an 8th grade sex ed. class to a porno movie. The same words can be obscene or not, depending upon whether or not they are intended to "titilate". Did Stern play a clip of Oprah's show, or did he "act out" a transcript?

How did this happen? (4, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433329)

Distributing a video game without rating from the ESRB is completely lawful, just that some stores won't stock it. They are a private organization. Defrauding them is a contractual matter between 2 private enterprises. Mr Upton, STFU and GBTW.

Re:How did this happen? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433631)

No offense, but the "how" is a bit of a stupid question: overprotective, ignorant parents being courted by do-anything politicians is the "how"

Lockout chip business model (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18436285)

Distributing a video game without rating from the ESRB is completely lawful, just that some stores won't stock it.
The console makers won't approve a title that is not rated by ESRB.

They are a private organization.
And the console makers hold an oligopoly on video game systems that encourage more than one player per machine.

Re:Lockout chip business model (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437107)

The console makers won't approve a title that is not rated by ESRB.

I thought that was settled with Tengen and Gauntlet. You can't tell someone they're not allowed to make something for your product. Ipod doohickies are all over the place, as long as they don't use trademarked names. Same thing, no?

Re:Lockout chip business model (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437227)

I thought that was settled with Tengen and Gauntlet.
That's still a legal gray area. Nintendo won Atari Games v. Nintendo, forcing Tengen (Atari Games' home division) to stop making games compatible with NES using its lockout defeat method, but Sega lost Sega v. Accolade, allowing Accolade to continue making games compatible with Genesis.

You can't tell someone they're not allowed to make something for your product. Ipod doohickies are all over the place, as long as they don't use trademarked names. Same thing, no?
It's not exactly the same. All video game consoles currently sold in the United States use digital signatures, mangled sectors, and/or other authentication measures to prevent unapproved binaries from executing. Ever try cracking a 2048 bit RSA key?

Re:Lockout chip business model (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#18438085)

Nintendo won the Tengen case because Tengen illegally obtained proprietary information about the NES lockout chip. Several other companies found ways to defeat the lockout chip without using any proprietary information and Nintendo couldn't shut them down (IIRC Nintendo tried to shut down Color Dreams and failed)

Re:Lockout chip business model (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18438309)

Several other companies found ways to defeat the lockout chip without using any proprietary information and Nintendo couldn't shut them down (IIRC Nintendo tried to shut down Color Dreams and failed)
But the protection schemes on modern game consoles are far more sophisticated than that of the original NES, often involving digital signatures. It would probably take more capital to understand and defeat them than to just start a company selling gaming HTPCs.

Re:Lockout chip business model (1)

Lectrik (180902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18440389)

Several other companies found ways to defeat the lockout chip without using any proprietary information and Nintendo couldn't shut them down (IIRC Nintendo tried to shut down Color Dreams and failed)

But the protection schemes on modern game consoles are far more sophisticated than that of the original NES, often involving digital signatures. It would probably take more capital to understand and defeat them than to just start a company selling gaming HTPCs.


But wouldn't circumventing a protection scheme (especially for commercial gain) be breaking the DMCA. Or could a company at least wave that over a developer's head to persuade them to stop? I'm sure the console makers could definitely convince some judge somewhere that once someone can run their own code on a console, then they can run any code on the console, including pirated software.

I agree with this law (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433375)

Seriously, it's about time Congress did something that affected me, and what could be better than making sure we get some decent games? I'm sick of all the shite games on the shelves these days, which based solely on their packaging are indistinguishable from the good games sitting right next to them. They cost just as much, but are complete crap, blatant shovelware designed to sucker people into buying them. The makers of garbage like Turok: Evolution should be held accountable. Good for you Congress for supporting decent games.

Uh, wait, I think I missed something...

Re:I agree with this law (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433785)

Yeah, I agree that "Turok: Intelligent Design" should get equal shelf space. Evolution is just a theory!

keep it up. (4, Insightful)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433605)

go ahead, continue to alienate a large and growing segment of the voting public. more and more every day, gaming is a passtime engaged in by adults of voting age. when a politician calls a perfectly good game "trash", he just looks like an out of touch relic. i mean, we all played GTA. it was good clean ludicrous fun (if a bit monotonous by the fifth iteration or so). by the way, i'm an avid gamer ... no, not an obnoxious pimply-faced 15 year old, as this politician probably assumes all gamers are, but a 30 year old married guy -- and i'm far from unusual. politicians going off like this remind me of strom thurmond types from the 50's railing against the black man's devil music, swearing that the evil jungle beats will corrupt the morality of our children.

WE are the children whose parents swore to us mario would rot our brain and corrupt our souls. we will reject that notion as wholeheartedly as our parents rejected the same assertion back when it was aimed at the Beatles and the Stones.

Re:keep it up. (1)

JNighthawk (769575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434241)

I somewhat agree with what you said, even though I didn't play GTA. Not into open-world "sandbox" games. This same thing happened with *every* form of media before this. Books, music, movies, and now games. It's a natural cycle that happens when everyone believes that the generation coming up is going to be the last, because society keeps going down the tubes.

Re:keep it up. (1)

Guntram Shatterhand, (1078103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18450027)

Well said. It's a sad society when we get so old that we ignore our youths and then try to be twice as restrictive.

We will think differently by then (1)

Myria (562655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18438573)

By the time we all reach that age, we will think differently.

The current generation of Congress critters were teenagers in the 1960's. If it worked as you said, why aren't drugs legal now?

Re:keep it up. (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443025)

Not that I really disagree with much of any of what you said. I think the Hot Coffee nonsense is a tad different, because not only should it have not been on the disc in the first place, those asshats tried to blame it all on the eeeevil hackers putting it there. They knew full well what they were doing and should be slapped around. Now on the flip side Oblivion should never have been bothered with since their 'evil sex stuff' was entirely user created and was not actually put there the same way Hot Coffee was.

Beyond that, as much as I hate to say it, Strom was kinda right. Not sure where you live, but in the more populated areas this gangsta thug rap shit HAS done alot of damage. While the rock star debauchery can also be pointed at, it doesn't really involve the whole murder, take what you want,and other completely ignorant style nonsense that the rap/hip hop culture promotes. (There are some good rap/hip hop artists around that are terribly talented that are capable of complex rhymes using large words, but they don't generally get much promotion)

And they said video games would ruin us! I mean its not like a bunch of our generation sit around in dark rooms with flashing lights eating 'power pills' listening to techno music right? :) Let us not forget the mushrooms make you big, and the bad mushrooms can kill you! All in all its the parents responsibility to..well...be freaking parents. But the flip side to that coin is it would be terribly hard to properly raise a child if hardcore pornography was glorified in every style of media. (I still think its utterly moronic that we are so quick to fly off the handle about a nipple, or someone dropping the F-bomb, but gross ammounts of violence is completely ignored)

What happens now? (3, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433639)

So IF a publisher fudged their way past the ESRB, and got caught once the boxes were on the shelves, what happens?

(almost) Every distributor returns all of the merchandise at the publishers expense. Production facilities have to be retooled for a new release, and new production runs made. All those boxes have to be shipped out to the distributors again. Some of those companies may not be interested in selling the product any more though. Consumers may be less interested in the watered down version. Future releases from that publisher may have difficulty securing distribution.

So... Aren't they already being fined millions of dollars? What's the point of this bill, let capitalism drive the market.

-Rick

what? (2, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433719)

The whole purpose of the VOLUNTARY rating system is because the first amendment prevents laws like this (rightfully so) Game companies voluntarily have their games rated because they fear a legal battle and stores like Walmart wont sell them otherwise. These politicians are just going after the "think of the Children vote" or they are fascists. Maybe both.

Are we in The USA or Nazi Germany? (-1, Troll)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433835)

Germany has laws like this.

The sneaking part I agree with (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433877)

If you commit fraud, you deserve to be punished. Why we need a new law to cover fraudulent behavior is another issue. However, if you hide sexual content in the game, then make it accessible (yes, I know Hot Coffee didn't do this SO DONT KEEP BRINGING IT UP!) easily through a cheat code or something, you should get at least a slap on the wrist. However, if you really want to change the behavior, make the people who conspired to put the content in there surreptitiously bear the legal costs, not the company. All collective punishments against companies do is get good workers fired.

Law sounds good... (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433915)

The intention of the law doesn't sound all that bad, but why does it have to be a law in the first place? Can't a little line in some ESRB contract accomplish the same? And why make all the fuss about it anyway? HotCoffee was totally harmless and as far as I know the only case where it ever happened, but even then only by accident and not on purpose (unused/disabled data and code in video games is pretty common).

If those politicians actually want to protect the children they should better try to make ESRB ratings mandatory, since that might actually change something, instead of worrying about laws which never ever would have been used anyway.

Re:Law sounds good... (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18434447)

So what about games made purely online. Games devs that don't have the money to get rated?

"Trash"? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433923)

Apparently, Mr. Upton has never played any of the modern Grand Theft Auto games. I'm personally insulted that he called my favorite series of games "trash". He should probably realize that calling one of the best selling games in video game history "trash" is equivalent to alienating (or just plain pissing off) a very large percentage of his constituents. I can't imagine a politician calling a mainstream music act "trash". Ann Coulter is trash. Grand Theft Auto is a very good video game for adults.

This is a public service announcement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18435865)

This is a public service announcement:

DogDude fucks dogs!

That is all.

Re:This is a public service announcement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18441215)

hirez plz or stfu

Re:"Trash"? (1)

Guntram Shatterhand, (1078103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18450415)

I'll back you on that. GTA is a perfect blend of silly adult humor and one heck of a game plan, combined with little touches that keep old-time gamers like me coming back for more. Sure, the graphics could be better, but other than that the games are just really fun to play.

Coincidence (5, Funny)

prockcore (543967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18433957)

What a coincidence. I was just drafting legislation that would fine Fred Upton for being a douchebag.

GTA: DC (1)

Quzak (1047922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435221)

I propose a new version where you go on a rampage thru DC. Killing Senators, children, lawyers, ect.

All those in favor say "Hell yea".

The ERSB ratings suck anyway. (1)

Shabadage (1037824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435753)

I say we do away with this terrible organization once and for all. They keep on screwing up over and over again, then point the finger squarely in the opposite direction. They (Meaning the suits at the ERSB) support those who are down on the gaming industry; and in essence helping keep the industry stifled. The ERSB likes to blame developers for what are very clearly PARENTAL CONTROL issues (There is NO reason you should buy your kid GTA. My parents only played solitare; but they knew enough to not let me play Doom or Mortal Kombat as a young 'un. This was before the ERSB existed by the way; and PC games had a FAR better rating system.)

Getting to my "ERSB Ratings Suck" rant; anyone remember the olde' Thermometer rating system that was featured on such classics as Duke 3D? Rating of 1-4 in the categories of; Drug Use, Sex & Nudity, Violence, and one or two others. Provided right next to the Rating (1 being Gratutious Violence or Sex, 4 Being Bikini's and Papercuts) was a breif description of WHY it had this rating. It was a thing of beauty. It had standards. (Unlike the MPAA's ratings which the ERSB ratings are based on; which seem to change year to year. [Full Frontal nudity in a Pg-13? Never though that would happen, then lo and behold, the MPAA changes it's standards{has to have Graphic Sex for R}])

Of course, the first step to doing all this (Making the ERSB mean something; cause it's a good idea, I'm not for censorship but rating something serves a purpose) is to actually get some people who know what the fuck they're doing. If they screw up, then they should take the blame, instead of shovelling it off on the developers.

Re:The ERSB ratings suck anyway. (1)

Shabadage (1037824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18435823)

Yes, I'm dyslexic and ALWAYS manage to switch the R and S around in ESRB. Sorry if it causes any confusion.

Re:The ERSB ratings suck anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18445669)

Just out of curiosity, what PG-13 movie had full frontal nudity? I think I've heard cursing in some, but can't recall any nudity.

ESRB - don't use it? (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18437211)

Isn't the ESRB a rating the game companies choose to use on their own? I don't even think it's required by anything that a game be certified by them. If some law requires the ESRB to do something, couldn't companies just decide not to have their games reviewed?

Re:ESRB - don't use it? (1)

Drantin (569921) | more than 7 years ago | (#18439783)

couldn't companies just decide not to have their games reviewed?

What might be better could be if another group would start up and give accurate and helpful ratings so people can make informed purchases without having to depend on online reviews.


Online reviews are helpful, but it can be a pain when you see something interesting at the game shop and have to go home to look it up online...

If the Supreme Court did its job (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18438719)

The FCC (may as well be called the Federal Censorship Commission) would be wiped out for being 100% unconstitutional.

Re:If the Supreme Court did its job (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18438733)

Oops. It said FTC. That's not even their job is it?
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