When Games are Sold Like Guns: An Interview with the ECA's Hal Halpin

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IMHO, this is just some people trying to use everything else as a scapegoat for thier own poor parenting. It's the parents responsibility to watch thier children, not the governments.

The_root_of_all_evil:

I'm UK, and ardently against ID cards for a number of reasons. The two main ones being that confidential files get lost on trains here, and that we already have the most spied on community in the world.

And, like I said, I have my credit card as ID, and that's it. (Though I haven't been 18 for quite some time)
...
Like I say, me. I really don't want to be carrying a piece of paper that says exactly who I am. Especially one that could get easily pickpocketed and that would cost me 40.

If someone is really eager to know your name, age and address, there are probably easier ways to find out than stealing your wallet. Not to mention I don't see the purpose of stealing a license or ID card unless they look exactly like you, that's why its photo ID, so someone can't just (hypothetically) walk into a gun store and buy a rocket launcher using your ID.

I also assume you don't carry over 40 in your wallet at any time for the same reason? What about your credit card? If someone has that can't they use that to make online purchases (until you realise its been stolen). ID is important, if you want to get anywhere that is 18+ only then you require photo ID... At least you do here, maybe its different in the UK.

Maybe I'd understand your fears more if you explained what it is you think they'll do with an ID card.

Seriously? Listen to Michael Atkinson, Jack Thompson, Keith Vaz, Alan Titchmarsh or a number of other "commentators". They've all said similar things. If you want, I can dig you up clips, but I'll need some time. I'm meant to be cleaning.

I think there's a difference between what they're saying and what they're thinking. They're assuring the fearful public that increased legal enforcement on age ratings will put an end to minors playing mature rated games.
I'm pretty sure that they're intelligent enough (regardless of what you think about their beliefs) to see that this isn't the case with alcohol and cigarettes, and won't be with videogames.

Basically, even in these 'enlightened' times, we still have jerks like Tim Langdel, the Xbox Live suer, the woman who heard "Islam is the Light"...who have their cases strengthened by judgements like this.
Faux News and the Daily Mail would run entire week's worth of Game Hate Campaigns off of this.

I really don't see the connection. If anything this law could help games. Finally everytime someone says the game made me do it, we can reply by pointing at the rating saying he wasn't supposed to play it, and the law that is intended to enforce that. It would legally be the parent (or alternate adult source) who is accountable for allowing the child access to a game.
Just like the media doesn't blame alcohol when a kid gets drunk at a party, someone had to give the kid the booze.

Illegal for us to buy a lot of things. But your Boots/Tescos smartcard carries a lot of information. Shopping habits, purchase limits, etc. And Data Mining is BIG business now.

I'm not sure what those are, I'm assuming, rewards cards or credit cards of some kind? I use cash, and bank debit card. If they really want to know what I'm buying, let them. The most they can use it for is to see what people my age, my gender, my race/nationality are buying, and market towards that. Now that I know that my purchases could be monitored, I might choose to pay cash for any sex toys or sexy lingerie I buy, though to be quite honest, I doubt anyone who knows me has access to that info, and I don't know why anyone else would care.
Maybe if I bought a bunch of guns and ammunition as well as chemicals known for use in homemade bombs, then I'd get a knock on my doorstep. In which case, fair enough, its unlikely that such purchases are going to be coincidental so if the police want to ask me what I plan to do with it then I feel safer knowing that they do so.

Dupont already got in trouble for checking their employee details for cancer sufferers in their family and deliberately hiring people without a genetic pre-disposition, so they could boost their health record.

That's certainly wrong. But there's a big difference.

A potential employer has access to employee details. A shop does not, however, have access to customer details, you want to buy a game that's R 18+? You hand over your license, they compare the picture, look at the date of birth and hand it back. At no point are they permitted to record the data on that card unless you allow them.
So unless all register staff are going to be trained to swiftly memorise customer details, or photographic memory is in the job requirements, you're pretty darn safe.

I'm not saying everyone is out to get you, me or gameplayers in general. I'm just saying that this form of legislation is dangerous in that it allows more ways for the World to turn towards the Atkinson/Langedel laws and further away from Lincoln/Kennedy.
(And it really annoys me that I couldn't find a decent UK politician to put against Lincoln...perhaps Ashdown?)

I wouldn't call it dangerous, I wouldn't even call it risky. The term "slipper slope" gets tossed around a lot, when a more accurate analogy would be going down a slight incline in a cart with decent breaks. Yes eventually you will reach a speed where your breaks will be useless, but if your cautious, you can stop at a point where that's not a problem.
Ok so its not a great analogy, but I hope it gets my point across. Basically the attitude a lot of people seem to have is equivalent to saying animal abuse laws are a horrible idea, because it leads to the banning of the meat industry. We can defend an animal's rights not to endure unecessary and excessive suffering, whilst still breeding and killing cattle for food.

The key is finding the balance. We eat meat and need to eradicate pests, so we can't claim killing an animal is wrong, we can however ensure that they only endure (no excessive) pain if its necessary, in self defence, for food or for pest control.

Or to get back on topic.
People enjoy games and they have not been proven to be harmful (provided they are enjoyed by individuals of appropriate age and maturity), so we can't ban them or prevent their sale without reason.
We can however ensure, to the best of our ability that individuals of an inadequate maturity level (measured as best we can, by age) do not have access to specific games.

Yes if they go beyond this and try to pass a law that says you must apply for a license to own violent videogames so the government can suss out who's going to go on a school shooting, then its time to worry. Right now, based on my understanding of this law, all they can do is tell little kids to bugger off when they try and buy KillSlaughter Sex Romp 2: Twin Tower Terror.

DTWolfwood:
"The ways in which it will impact things, it will impact lives of professionals, like the 45,000 people that are here, it can easily impact retail and how you interact with retailers, so instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns."

best line to explain the situation! Hope the Justices really see what is going on here and vote this case down!

If it wins, the case would instantly become precedence for anything else the Government want to regulate. Killing the First Amendment effectively >.<

See, it's that line that terrifies me. If all you need to get a gun is a (potentially fake) ID or an older friend, then there's more wrong in America than a slightly more strictly enforced age rating on games.

From what I understand though, to get a gun, you need to have ID, background checks, no prior convictions, and a specialist license. To get games, you'd need to walk up to a counter, produce some ID (if you don't look over 18. If you do, you can ignore it. In England, shop staff are told to look for people that look under 25), exchange money, and walk out. This is exactly what happens with DVDs.

Should we be arguing that music should be age-restricted to make things more fair on movies?

lomylithruldor:

Russ Pitts:
so instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns.

If that's true, the problem lies more on how you shop for guns than how you would shop for a game if the law pass. You only need an ID to buy a gun? That's crazy! Are they thinking that driving a car is more dangerous than having a gun?

Whether or not the process for buying a gun is flawed is not at issue here, but I can tell you how it works if you don't know.

When you wish to purchase a gun in most states of the US, you must first fill out a sheaf of federal forms, present your identification and then wait while the seller copies all of your information and then personally calls a telephone hotline to initiate a federal background check. The government then checks your ID for any record of felony convictions and various other "red flags" that would make you a bad candidate for owning a gun. Should this check not turn up anything bad about you, you will then be asked to sign more forms, pay for your purchase, and then be personally escorted off the gun seller's premises and only then be given your gun.

The entire process takes anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, during which time you and the seller are legally bound to conduct no other business apart from the buying/selling of that one item.

So, if the question is "does the federal government need to regulate game sales" then the answer has to begin at "do we want game purchases to be mired in THAT level of red tape?" For me, the answer is "absolutely not."

Signed the petition long ago, so I'm doing my part somewhat!

But for the people that are saying why is this happening, it's because if this is passed, then politicians can make more laws against video games.

1) First it's to protect the children by making it illegal to sell to minors.

2) Then they will make a law that states that games showing blood is illegal.

3) Then it'll be followed by the sight of a gun anywhere.

4) Violence of any sort, will be made illegal.

5-#) Then the politicians will go after everything else. Nudity, words, etc.

If one were to look back throughout media history, heck, all the way back to the first book, the people in power have always tried to do something to limit free speech.

1500s-1800s there were literal book burnings. In today's age, video games are the books of the past. If this passes, there would be renewed 'book burnings' called for by politicians.

fletch_talon:
Now I read most of this, and my understanding of it is that they want it to be possible to punish people for providing minors with access to mature rated video games...

And we're supposed to be against this?

I must have interpreted something wrong because last I checked, keeping kids from playing games intended for more mature audiences is a good thing.

Which is why almost every gaming establishment already doesn't sell to minors. The ESRB and many retail outlets already stop kids from getting violent games. In fact, they stop kids from getting violent content better than any other form of entertainment.

This law is completely redundant and pointless. And if parents don't want their kids playing the games, then maybe they should actually be a parent and not buy them the games.

Its not the government's job to watch after the kids and regulate what content they get, its the parent's job, and only the parent's job.

Also, I believe Andy once mentioned that Canadians can sign this petition as well, so get on it!

EDIT:

I also recommend everyone to watch Moviebob's video on game violence.

razer17:
I am not seeing the problem...

Here in the UK it's illegal to sell a DVD to someone who doesn't meet the age classification. They should do it with games too. A parent can buy their 15 year old, say, Kill Bill or GTA4, but the kid can't go in and buy it himself. I'm honestly not seeing the problem. As long as the highest rated games don't have to be censored.

Also, the article seems filled with hyperbole. He says a lot of stuff, but he doesn't really say anything. He doesn't support any of his statements. He'd make a great politician.

Well then allow me to try my hand at this.

We don't need this law because the industry already regulates itself. If you go into a store and try to buy a game, if you look underage even the slightest they will ask for proof of age. Virtually every store does this.

Plus, it seems the games industry is better than all other forms of media at keeping violent content out of the hands of minors.

If this law gets passed, that means games are no longer protected by the First Amendment. Which means all sorts of restrictions by all sorts of people could be put in place. The U.S. could eventually turn out like Australia. And while it my not actually go that far, the possibility is always there.

Irridium:

Which is why almost every gaming establishment already doesn't sell to minors. The ESRB and many retail outlets already stop kids from getting violent games. In fact, they stop kids from getting violent content better than any other form of entertainment.

This law is completely redundant and pointless. And if parents don't want their kids playing the games, then maybe they should actually be a parent and not buy them the games.

So what harm does it do if its so redundant and pointless? I'm sure most stores do enforce the ratings, now those stores, and more importantly the ones that don't have even more incentive to do so.

Its not the government's job to watch after the kids and regulate what content they get, its the parent's job, and only the parent's job.

It is the government's job. Just like its their job to enforce the age restriction on buying alcohol and cigarettes, to set and enforce the age of consent for sex, to set conditions and age requirements for driving on public roads.
Yes it is the parent's job to parent their child, and it is their responsibility to control what their children have access to. The government is now making it easier for them to do this because now there's less chance of their children buying games they don't have permission for.

Parents are a big part of preventing children from playing adult games, but they aren't capable of preventing it entirely. Unless of course you're suggesting children be under absolute control by their parents (not letting them go to shops unsupervised, not allowing them to spend their own money, routinely searching their room for M15+ games, etc.). If that's the case I'd say you're solution is worse.

Last one for the day

fletch_talon:

If someone is really eager to know your name, age and address, there are probably easier ways to find out than stealing your wallet.

That's not what it's for. It's the card more than the information that's valuable.

Not to mention I don't see the purpose of stealing a license or ID card unless they look exactly like you, that's why its photo ID, so someone can't just (hypothetically) walk into a gun store and buy a rocket launcher using your ID.

No, but they can reverse-engineer it and change it; that's why it's valuable to steal.

I also assume you don't carry over 40 in your wallet at any time for the same reason?

Damn straight.

What about your credit card?

Hidden away underneath some used tissues. Not saying exactly where.

If someone has that can't they use that to make online purchases (until you realise its been stolen).

Nope, they'd need my address, phone number etc.

ID is important, if you want to get anywhere that is 18+ only then you require photo ID... At least you do here, maybe its different in the UK.

I can live my life quite happily with no ID. That's why I like it.

Maybe I'd understand your fears more if you explained what it is you think they'll do with an ID card.

Ok, it's best summarised as Data Mining in that companies will (like your credit checks) keep information on you, so as to save storage medium. This information isn't able to be viewed by you unless you invoke the DPA, but it's already been released that Boots store your medical details, so if Dupont/Boots did a deal, they could hire/fire based on non-confidential medical records.

That's the problem. The next time you go in and buy a pack of aspirin, your card registers you as "headache sufferer". Anytime that card gets scanned, it gives the scanner that information but never lets you know.

If that's not bad enough, what about things that are only theories? Buy butter and you get marked with Heart Attack risk? (Boosting your Insurance costs) or even when false information gets out.

Like I say, just across the road is a ten million pound project that's had to be scrapped because it couldn't work with radio signals.

I'm pretty sure that they're intelligent enough (regardless of what you think about their beliefs) to see that this isn't the case with alcohol and cigarettes, and won't be with videogames.

Regardless of their intelligence, the frothing over these things is atrocious. Take a look at this clip and tell me that you don't see where I'm coming from.

Finally everytime someone says the game made me do it, we can reply by pointing at the rating saying he wasn't supposed to play it, and the law that is intended to enforce that. It would legally be the parent (or alternate adult source) who is accountable for allowing the child access to a game.
Just like the media doesn't blame alcohol when a kid gets drunk at a party, someone had to give the kid the booze.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1158649/Drunken-teenage-mob-goes-rampage-girls-15th-birthday-party-publicised-internet.html

Note that the only place that serves booze mentioned, wasn't serving it to them. Uh-huh.

Illegal for us to buy a lot of things. But your Boots/Tescos smartcard carries a lot of information. Shopping habits, purchase limits, etc. And Data Mining is BIG business now.

I'm not sure what those are, I'm assuming, rewards cards or credit cards of some kind?

Yep, smart cards. The ones with the chip. So you don't mind that by buying MewTwo on your credit card or GAMESTOP card, that they've marked you as "Possible Army Material". Or condoms as "Sexually Active". Or a number of other things that they can, and do, do.

A potential employer has access to employee details. A shop does not, however, have access to customer details, you want to buy a game that's R 18+? You hand over your license, they compare the picture, look at the date of birth and hand it back. At no point are they permitted to record the data on that card unless you allow them.

Ok, for a start, our IDs have biometrics, smart chips and are read by a machine. I work a till and I can tell you the name, security code, PIN code, start/end dates and a good proportion of the number in about a 5 second glance. A glance I'm supposed to perform to check details.

So unless all register staff are going to be trained to swiftly memorise customer details, or photographic memory is in the job requirements, you're pretty darn safe.

Card readers do it awfully well.

People enjoy games and they have not been proven to be harmful (provided they are enjoyed by individuals of appropriate age and maturity), so we can't ban them or prevent their sale without reason.
We can however ensure, to the best of our ability that individuals of an inadequate maturity level (measured as best we can, by age) do not have access to specific games.

See, there's the BIG point.

WE can.

WE just don't.

WE are leaving it to THEM.

THEY have proven themselves incapable of protecting OUR rights in the past.

Yes if they go beyond this and try to pass a law that says you must apply for a license to own violent videogames so the government can suss out who's going to go on a school shooting, then its time to worry. Right now, based on my understanding of this law, all they can do is tell little kids to bugger off when they try and buy KillSlaughter Sex Romp 2: Twin Tower Terror.

They always could. They were just getting hassled by the parents who wanted to get KSSR2:TTT for the little bastard that's crying for it.

What we're doing here is putting pressure on the retailer, blocking the rightful consumer but still not dealing with the root cause, which is the adult's refusal to LOOK AT THE RATING.

Stupidity can't be held legally responsible.

Unfortunately, like DRM, the legitimate customer suffers so people can SEEN TO BE CARING, while the illegal customer just changes his habits to stealing.

fletch_talon:

Irridium:

Which is why almost every gaming establishment already doesn't sell to minors. The ESRB and many retail outlets already stop kids from getting violent games. In fact, they stop kids from getting violent content better than any other form of entertainment.

This law is completely redundant and pointless. And if parents don't want their kids playing the games, then maybe they should actually be a parent and not buy them the games.

So what harm does it do if its so redundant and pointless? I'm sure most stores do enforce the ratings, now those stores, and more importantly the ones that don't have even more incentive to do so.

But it doesn't need any more incentive. If a worker sells a violent game to a kid, he gets fired. No ifs, ands, or buts. This law is a pointless waste of time and money.

Its not the government's job to watch after the kids and regulate what content they get, its the parent's job, and only the parent's job.

It is the government's job. Just like its their job to enforce the age restriction on buying alcohol and cigarettes, to set and enforce the age of consent for sex, to set conditions and age requirements for driving on public roads.
Yes it is the parent's job to parent their child, and it is their responsibility to control what their children have access to. The government is now making it easier for them to do this because now there's less chance of their children buying games they don't have permission for.

Parents are a big part of preventing children from playing adult games, but they aren't capable of preventing it entirely. Unless of course you're suggesting children be under absolute control by their parents (not letting them go to shops unsupervised, not allowing them to spend their own money, routinely searching their room for M15+ games, etc.). If that's the case I'd say you're solution is worse.

The only way kids can really play a violent game is to either A)go over to a friends house to play it, or B) have their parent buy it for them.

A can't be helped, but it doesn't happen very much. B on the other hand happens quite a bit. I'm not saying parents should be completely strict with their children, I'm saying parents should look into what their kids are doing more. Its already insanely easy for parents to figure out if a game is appropriate for their child. All they have to do is look at the rating, which takes less effort than is needed to breath. And a quick glance on the back of the game case shows whats in the game. Plus the cashiers have to tell the parents what is in the game. After that, its completely up to the parent, and is the parent's full responsibility.

If they don't like their kid playing the game, maybe they shouldn't have bought it for them after having plenty of warnings.

Plus, the only way a kid can own a mature game is if the parent says its OK. If a parent doesn't want their kids to play mature games, then all they have to do is not let their kids buy mature games or buy the games for the kid.

Lets be clear about all this, there is a huge amount sound and fury and both sides and it all signifies nothing. The reason the law has been proposed is a cheap sop to the conservative right, with full knowledge that, if passed, it will be largely ineffective. Has the US laws about the age for purchasing alcohol led to the imposition of a police sate or have they stamped out the underage drinking?

The games industry is screaming first amendment rights because they are worried that a law age restricting games will reduce sales of games that focus on sex and violence to 15 year old boys who actually buy them.

Both sides are engaged in cynical posturing for their own benefit. One to buy votes the other to protect profits, neither care about any moral argument.

fletch_talon:
Just like its [..the governments...] job to enforce the age restriction on buying alcohol and cigarettes, to set and enforce the age of consent for sex, to set conditions and age requirements for driving on public roads.

No. That's Fascism.

The Government's job is to set restrictions, not enforce. That's the Police's job. Once you get a Government enforcing, that is past the slippery slope into freefall.

I'm still a little confused... so why are they bringing this up now? Are they just doing it so that nothing bad happens 'down the line'?

"instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns"

Because I don't see any evidence of games being sold like guns coming, all I've seen so far is games being sold like DVDs, with no one really monitoring the process. I'd like to see some evidence to these statements, it seemed he was pulling them outta thin air without telling me how that would actually end up happening, if they were to not do something about it.

What is this hoping to accomplish, other than making the government more aware that they should do something about the game industry governing itself.

Anyone want to enlighten me?

Wolf Devastator:
I'm still a little confused... so why are they bringing this up now? Are they just doing it so that nothing bad happens 'down the line'?

"instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns"

Because I don't see any evidence of games being sold like guns coming, all I've seen so far is games being sold like DVDs, with no one really monitoring the process. I'd like to see some evidence to these statements, it seemed he was pulling them outta thin air without telling me how that would actually end up happening, if they were to not do something about it.

What is this hoping to accomplish, other than making the government more aware that they should do something about the game industry governing itself.

Anyone want to enlighten me?

If this law passes, little by little games would get more and more restricted. Little by little games will have giant restrictions placed on them. In fact, the U.S. may turn into Australia in terms of games. Even if that doesn't happen, if this law is passed, its a very big possibility.

The fact is that its all a major possibility if this law gets passed. It may not be this way now, but things will change if people like Leland Yee get their way. Imagine if Jack Tompson had his way. Thats what we will have to deal with.

Irridium:
If this law passes, little by little games would get more and more restricted. Little by little games will have giant restrictions placed on them. In fact, the U.S. may turn into Australia in terms of games. Even if that doesn't happen, if this law is passed, its a very big possibility.

The fact is that its all a major possibility if this law gets passed. It may not be this way now, but things will change if people like Leland Yee get their way. Imagine if Jack Tompson had his way. Thats what we will have to deal with.

Oh so wait, are we signing a petition 'against' the law that's trying to get passed? That makes more sense, no wonder I'm confused...

Great, so now I have get a gaming licence.

Wolf Devastator:

Irridium:
If this law passes, little by little games would get more and more restricted. Little by little games will have giant restrictions placed on them. In fact, the U.S. may turn into Australia in terms of games. Even if that doesn't happen, if this law is passed, its a very big possibility.

The fact is that its all a major possibility if this law gets passed. It may not be this way now, but things will change if people like Leland Yee get their way. Imagine if Jack Tompson had his way. Thats what we will have to deal with.

Oh so wait, are we signing a petition 'against' the law that's trying to get passed? That makes more sense, no wonder I'm confused...

Yeah, we're signing against this law. So sign!

Chipperz:

DTWolfwood:
"The ways in which it will impact things, it will impact lives of professionals, like the 45,000 people that are here, it can easily impact retail and how you interact with retailers, so instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns."

best line to explain the situation! Hope the Justices really see what is going on here and vote this case down!

If it wins, the case would instantly become precedence for anything else the Government want to regulate. Killing the First Amendment effectively >.<

See, it's that line that terrifies me. If all you need to get a gun is a (potentially fake) ID or an older friend, then there's more wrong in America than a slightly more strictly enforced age rating on games.

From what I understand though, to get a gun, you need to have ID, background checks, no prior convictions, and a specialist license. To get games, you'd need to walk up to a counter, produce some ID (if you don't look over 18. If you do, you can ignore it. In England, shop staff are told to look for people that look under 25), exchange money, and walk out. This is exactly what happens with DVDs.

Should we be arguing that music should be age-restricted to make things more fair on movies?

<.<

you have completely missed the point haven't u? He is making a point that LIKE guns, GAMES will be regulated by the Government instead of privately regulated as it is now. It will be a federal crime to sell to kids a mature game (whatever the government decides to use as a rating, assuming they don't steal directly from the ESRB) Not the point that its going to be as ez as it is to pick up a gun, which isn't... <.<

Music is self regulated and has ratings as far as i know. (havent bought music in decades). So is movies. As of right now, the videogames industries self regulatory (voluntary) ratings are the best of any media in terms of compliance. SO what the Videogame industry is doing ACTUALLY WORKS. having Videogames (Media) to be regulated like Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is wrong and the statement is merely to levy the situation in hyperbole.

Plus the ATF will have to become ATFV if this wins XD

HK_01:
Aren't guns really easy to get in the US?

Bravo good sir! Bravo, you just took a serious topic and made me laugh my ass off.

I'm disappointed that free speech advocacy is so easily dismissed as paranoia. What's next? Rights of the accused?

There are already western countries which ban games. Ban them. At what point does my paranoia begin to reflect reality? Am I going insane?

Irridium:

razer17:
I am not seeing the problem...

Here in the UK it's illegal to sell a DVD to someone who doesn't meet the age classification. They should do it with games too. A parent can buy their 15 year old, say, Kill Bill or GTA4, but the kid can't go in and buy it himself. I'm honestly not seeing the problem. As long as the highest rated games don't have to be censored.

Also, the article seems filled with hyperbole. He says a lot of stuff, but he doesn't really say anything. He doesn't support any of his statements. He'd make a great politician.

Well then allow me to try my hand at this.

We don't need this law because the industry already regulates itself. If you go into a store and try to buy a game, if you look underage even the slightest they will ask for proof of age. Virtually every store does this.

I totally agree with you there. I can go to a pub and get served but every time I try to buy a game I get asked for ID

Russ Pitts:

The reason why is because if this law passes, if we fail, the repercussions would be profound and significant in ways that don't impact other forms of entertainment. .... The ways in which it will impact things, it will impact lives of professionals, like the 45,000 people that are here, it can easily impact retail and how you interact with retailers, so instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns.

Isn't buying guns very easy in the US? Sorry, I went there.

albino boo:

Both sides are engaged in cynical posturing for their own benefit. One to buy votes the other to protect profits, neither care about any moral argument.

So true.

Signed. I suggest everyone do the same.

DTWolfwood:

Chipperz:

DTWolfwood:
"The ways in which it will impact things, it will impact lives of professionals, like the 45,000 people that are here, it can easily impact retail and how you interact with retailers, so instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns."

best line to explain the situation! Hope the Justices really see what is going on here and vote this case down!

If it wins, the case would instantly become precedence for anything else the Government want to regulate. Killing the First Amendment effectively >.<

See, it's that line that terrifies me. If all you need to get a gun is a (potentially fake) ID or an older friend, then there's more wrong in America than a slightly more strictly enforced age rating on games.

From what I understand though, to get a gun, you need to have ID, background checks, no prior convictions, and a specialist license. To get games, you'd need to walk up to a counter, produce some ID (if you don't look over 18. If you do, you can ignore it. In England, shop staff are told to look for people that look under 25), exchange money, and walk out. This is exactly what happens with DVDs.

Should we be arguing that music should be age-restricted to make things more fair on movies?

<.<

you have completely missed the point haven't u? He is making a point that LIKE guns, GAMES will be regulated by the Government instead of privately regulated as it is now. It will be a federal crime to sell to kids a mature game (whatever the government decides to use as a rating, assuming they don't steal directly from the ESRB) Not the point that its going to be as ez as it is to pick up a gun, which isn't... <.<

Music is self regulated and has ratings as far as i know. (havent bought music in decades). So is movies. As of right now, the videogames industries self regulatory (voluntary) ratings are the best of any media in terms of compliance. SO what the Videogame industry is doing ACTUALLY WORKS. having Videogames (Media) to be regulated like Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is wrong and the statement is merely to levy the situation in hyperbole.

Plus the ATF will have to become ATFV if this wins XD

No he doesn't. That's not what he's saying at all.

"so instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns."

That is his statement. The difference between governmental control and independant control of video games is exactly nothing in practice, with the slight difference that stores might start being a bit more aware of checking for IDs if a fine is in place, and even then, that'll only happen for a while. Shopping for games will still be exactly like shopping for DVDs, which is about as far removed from shopping for guns as buying ice cream is from alcohol.

This may, however, affect how American games are marketed and possibly made, depending on how overboard American developers go on this. As evidenced on this very thread, the idea of governmental control is awash with bizarre beliefs that it will herald the end times, and will suddenly stop all games that are even remotely violent from being made, so we might see a few less World War 2 and Modern/Near Future shooters for a bit as developers overreact and start believing that the government has banned all on screen killing of human beings.

Honestly, the most likely outcome of this is that tighter and betterregulated controls on American game stockists mean less American kids in multiplayer games, and even then, that'll just be for a while.

Brotherofwill:
Isn't buying guns very easy in the US? Sorry, I went there.

Yes, you're the fourth or fifth to go there. Buying guns in the U.S. is easy relative to buying guns in European countries, but difficult relative to buying entertainment media in the U.S.

albino boo:

Both sides are engaged in cynical posturing for their own benefit. One to buy votes the other to protect profits, neither care about any moral argument.

So? While true, this is more relevant to politics in general than the specifics of this debate. That is always the case and regardless of motive, we still must live with the Court's decision.

A lot of people seem to be missing the point. Why is it that everyone takes everything LITERALLY nowadays? everyone forget what analogies and metaphors are anymore?

The analogy is that like guns the act of selling an M rated game to a minor will become classified as a federal crime. Selling an R rated DVD to a minor (and get caught doing so) merely gets you fired, you DON'T GO TO JAIL FOR IT.

His point is why are ONLY videogames not protected First Amendment, when Film, Music, and Books are! Is a videogame not to be considered an intellectual property and the creators can't be allowed to his freedom of expression?

If your not from the United States or live in the United States here is the short version of what we are up in arms about:

1) Selling M rated games to Kids = universally accepted as BAD (ALSO NOT THE POINT)

2) (THE POINT) If the case wins, Videogames will not be protected by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, press, and freedom of religion) Since it isn't covered, it CAN be restricted for content, censored, banned, and games will have creative limitations placed on to them by the GOVERNMENT

*note* as of right now any of the Censoring, Content Editing, are all voluntary from the Games publishers/develops told to them by the ESRB. Which they willingly listen to as the governing body. They can just as likely release a game without going thru to the ESRB should they choose. Doing so more or less dooms your company, but they can.

3) Implications is that this will give Law makers a precedence in the future to limit more of our freedoms. (That right there is a very scary thought)

We already fucked up when we let the Patriot Act slip through the cracks. To let this through means we can forget about our civil liberties in the long run.

Chipperz:

No he doesn't. That's not what he's saying at all.

"so instead of shopping for games like you shop for DVDs, you'd have to shop for them like you'd shop for guns."

That is his statement. The difference between governmental control and independant control of video games is exactly nothing in practice, with the slight difference that stores might start being a bit more aware of checking for IDs if a fine is in place, and even then, that'll only happen for a while. Shopping for games will still be exactly like shopping for DVDs, which is about as far removed from shopping for guns as buying ice cream is from alcohol.

This may, however, affect how American games are marketed and possibly made, depending on how overboard American developers go on this. As evidenced on this very thread, the idea of governmental control is awash with bizarre beliefs that it will herald the end times, and will suddenly stop all games that are even remotely violent from being made, so we might see a few less World War 2 and Modern/Near Future shooters for a bit as developers overreact and start believing that the government has banned all on screen killing of human beings.

Honestly, the most likely outcome of this is that tighter and betterregulated controls on American game stockists mean less American kids in multiplayer games, and even then, that'll just be for a while.

The analogy is that like guns the act of selling an M rated game to a minor will become classified as a federal crime. Selling an R rated DVD to a minor (and get caught doing so) merely gets you fired, you DON'T GO TO JAIL FOR IT.

ok perhaps not that harsh. Its an implication.

Again not the point. I like my Freedom to be free thanks. Government can stay out of it or consider all forms of media either protected or unprotected by the first amendment. Unfair treatment to what use to be considered freedom of expression :P

The_root_of_all_evil:

Gladion:

Wow, at 11! I knew credit cards are far more common in the US, but I didn't know THAT. This surely proves to be a problem alright. :/

lomylithruldor:

Credit card at 11? Glad I'm not living in the US.

I'm UK. I'm unsure of the debit card for US, but the US credit card is 18.

If that's true, the problem lies more on how you shop for guns than how you would shop for a game if the law pass. You only need an ID to buy a gun? That's crazy! Are they thinking that driving a car is more dangerous than having a gun?

That's what we do agree on. And games aren't THAT dangerous.

[US] Hell, my parents got me a debit card for my 13th birthday. And all I had to do is muck with what I put as my age in steam to buy as many M rated games as I want. Same for Amazon.

The "credit card" way doesn't really work, assuming you have very un-restrictive parents.

This law would be great!
Governments will deny, mothers will not buy, precedents will blame, everything the same, violence won't drop, government won't stop, rage will amplify, I want them to die, they take it all away, why can't I just play?

Rooster Cogburn:

albino boo:

Both sides are engaged in cynical posturing for their own benefit. One to buy votes the other to protect profits, neither care about any moral argument.

So? While true, this is more relevant to politics in general than the specifics of this debate. That is always the case and regardless of motive, we still must live with the Court's decision.

Yeah but so what the law is unenforceable at a reasonable cost, grow a beard or get a fake i.d. This whole thing is storm in teacup.

To all of the people who do not understand the controversy, it is two-fold:

-----------

Issue #1

In the US, we have the 1st Amendment which VERY strongly protects free speech. There are very few things that are unprotected by free speech.

Depictions of violence are NOT one of those unprotected forms of speech UNLESS

1) they are used as a credible threat of real violence against a person or group, OR

2) they are intended to incite imminent violence where it is likely to be successful. This part means you have to (A) be trying to incite violence, (B) the violence must be real violence against a person or group of people and not pixels on a screen, (C) the potential violence must be about to happen and not at some unknown point in the future, and (D) the attempt to incite that violence must be likely to actually do it.

Think about it as "trying to start a fight that might actually happen right now because of what you're saying to the people involved."

None of those apply to videogames. The developers and producers are not trying to get people to act violently IRL. Even if they were (which is ridiculous), any violence that wound up happening would not be about to happen at the time the person is playing the game nor is it likely that the videogame would be successful in tipping the scales, resulting in violence.

-------------

Issue #2

Currently, there are ratings for movies. Those ratings, like the current videogame rating system, is NOT done by the government. It is done by citizens and participation is voluntary. Of course, realistically, you have to participate because otherwise the stores will not carry your product. The endsmay be the same (the creation of a rating system) but the means are not. The government has NO BUSINESS telling people what they can or cannot say or can and cannot watch/listen to, enforceable with criminal sanctions.

The exception to this is porn. There is no exception for violence. The argument is that watching fake violence is as harmful to minors as porn, so we should create another exception. They have tried and failed to make this argument in every other form of media including print (comic books) and films.

There is another exception for BROADCAST television and radio. This is the result of a very old and outdated reasoning which created the FCC. Basically, back in the days of black-and-white TV and radios the size of refrigerators, there were only a small number of channels. Because there were so few channels to go around, they decided that it was necessary to put limits solely on that particular form of media to restrict "objectionable" material so everyone can make use of this scarce resource.

Now that we have thousands of TV channels and even radio stations thanks to satellites, the FCC serves no real purpose. Unfortunately, once you give power to the government, you will NEVER get it back. Even though the FCC has outlived its intended purpose, its not going anywhere. That doesn't mean we can or should extend its power to videogames. There are numerous systems and games for each of them. They are hardly a "scare" resource that must be acceptable to everyone.

Non-broadcast TV and radio often follow ratings guidelines because not everyone wants to advertise on porn stations, but the government is not forcing anything on them. Again, even though the end result is the same (the creation of a rating system) the government has NO BUSINESS telling people what they can and can't say/watch/hear. Allowing the government do start doing this would destroy the core purpose and function of the 1st Amendment.

-----------

tl;dr version:

1) There is no exception to the 1st Amendment to allow the government to restrict this form of speech. We cannot allow the government to make laws in violation of the Constitution.

2) The current ratings systems for other forms of media are not done by the government and participation is voluntary. There is also no reason to treat videogames any differently than other forms of media which do not have government controlled censorship. The only exception applies to BROADCAST TV and radio and is based on long-outdated reasoning. There is no reason to extend government power where it doesn't need to be.

You guys get it wrong.

Censoring evil is bad, as it leads to totalitarianism.
Then, totalitarianism censors evil, to give it a special place where it will grow out of sight.
Censoring evil inflates it.

Removing evil is good.

Distinction: evil done, and evil virtual, as games.

Removing the evil that is done means to remove crime and reasons for crime.
Removing evil as virtual, games and movies and art, is done by making it not be a -reason- for crime.

How do you make a violent game in not being a reason for crime?

Only -sadistic- violence must be governmentally kept from children.
Gutting people with a chainsaw is not sadistic unless it is graphically twisted, like real hard vibrations of the body and long seconds of tremolous chainsaw agony, the actual, precise, accurate, reflexively felt physiological reaction.
Otherwise children will look at death, see it and move on. They won't like it. They will make natural abstraction of it and will understand it is painful while gunning away for awesomeness, colors and glory.

Criminals will say they kill people because of some reason. They are murderers capable of unjustified murder, that's the real reason, not games.
Blaming reasons and games and legitimate catharsis instead of fucked-upness and pointing out with your finger at reasons of partially justified murders is lame. Laaame lame lame lame lame. Laaaame LAAAAME LAaME lame lame lame lame lame.

Let's stop and rationalize cathartic evil just because some people have really big problems and wind up on games and music and movies before murdering someone. These psychologists know nothing. This is childish stupidity gone serious.

The main issue is that the government will be regulating speech, something that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says they cannot do. The is the #1 reason why we are fighting this law.

As for kids playing violent games, that is the parents responsibility to allow or not allow. If you think retailers need to not sell violent games to minors, you already have your wish.

The FTC's 2008 Retail Secret Shopper survey found that 80% of children we being blocked from buying M rated games with Gamestop leading the pack at 94%. This shows that game retailers are taking it seriously and doing so voluntarily. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/secretshop.shtm

All game consoles have Parental controls so that parents can limit the types of games that their children play by rating. So if the parent doesn't want their kid playing M rated games, they can set the controls to only allow T rated and under games.

Then there are the ESRB ratings which give the parents the ability to see what content the game contains and decide if their children should be allowed to play it.

Finally all game consoles have what we like to call the power button. If a parent finds their kid play a game they are not supposed to be playing they can turn off the console.

All these tools are available for parents to use when choosing games for their kids. If you get on a session of Gears of War or Modern Warfare 2 and hear 10 year olds playing, that is because the parents chose to let their kid play those games. They made that decision through any number of ways.

They either bought the game for the kid, didn't set the parental controls, didn't review the game the kid bought or do not monitor their child's game playing.

How will this law compensate for that? If the kids are getting their parents to buy the game and the parents don't care what the game is, what will this law accomplish aside from being a road block for game developers an retailers?

Next, I give you yet another reason this law is bad. There are no solid measurements of what constitutes a violent game. None. That decision is given to a handful of politicians to decide. So any game could be considered violent enough depending on who is reviewing the game. One city could find a game violent while another city would not. A city might think a game is violent while the Attorney General would not. All this confusion would make it difficult for a game retailer to decide which games they can sell to minors and which they can't. Eventually they could decide that it is better to not carry certain games because they risk of fines and lawsuits would be too great. By doing that, they will be preventing some developers from marketing their games. If Game developers cannot find retail space, they will decide to make "safe" games.

If you want to see this in action, look at games rated AO. Almost all retailers have chosen not to sell AO rated games. All 3 major consoles have decided not to license AO rated games. How many AO rated games have been made since those decisions? 24. That is all. Of all the 18,944 games rated by the ESRB only 24 are rated AO. All this because retailers and console manufacturers have decided they want nothing to do with them.

If you think that this will not happen if this law is passed, you are sadly mistaken.

For another example, you should research the Comics Code Authority and what it did to the comics industry.

That is why we are against this law.

Ephriam Knight:
They either bought the game for the kid, didn't set the parental controls, didn't review the game the kid bought or do not monitor their child's game playing.

How will this law compensate for that?

The hidden purpose of abusive law is to provide a bridge towards future aberration. They will implement measures to be able to compensate for that.

That's why I am against these things. At first they are a momentarily welcomed compromise, then they are hell.

You're trying to keep our feelings off the street!
You're nearly a real treat
All tight lips and cold feet
And do you feel abused?
You gotta stem the evil tide
And keep it all on the inside!
Mary you're nearly a treat
Mary you're nearly a treat
But you're really a cry!

--Roger Waters

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