Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Videogames

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Great news, though not unexpected. Supreme Court ftw.

HAHA! WOO!! I am a happy camper right now! I may just throw a little party in celebration!

even living in australia, this is a huge win for games and it will have effects worldwide. at least now everytime someone accuses me (an independent developer, planning on uni next year for game development) of harming children, i can say that the supreme court in America disagrees with them.

Nice to know that the supreme court isn't occupied by fools, but I don't live in the U.S.

mikey7339:
I am so glad for this and that the system worked they way it is supposed to for a change. Is this the end of all this nonsense that has been thrown at video games for the past twenty years?

It won't be the end. but hopefully it will be a bit of a shield. At least for a while.

OT: Great! Glad to see that at least some of the stupid stuff going on in this country gets shot down.

hue

image
This isn't just important for America, this is important for video games acceptance all over the world.

666Chaos:

Jordi:
So, does this mean that a 10-year-old can now go out and buy Duke Nukem or any other R rated game?

It will be the same as it always was. That 10 year old can go out and try and buy the game and it is entirely up to the retailer if they want to sell it to them or not. In all likelyhood if the child went to gamestop he would be denied but if he went anywhere else he would be able to buy the game.

And while, as another poster pointed out, "awesome decision is awesome", and legally, this decision makes much more sense than the alternative, the fact that California felt they needed such a law does highlight a problem with the game industry (not with the games themselves) today: the fact that many game publishers (looking at you especially, EA!) will often even blatantly and heavily market M-rated games to kids as young as 10, showing blatant disrespect for the ESRB, and those kids are legally able to buy such games, and if they go to certain retailers, nobody will be there to stop them from doing so. Yes, yes, I know and have heard a thousand times that ignorance and neglect on the part of parents are problems, but it doesn't reflect well on gaming as an industry or a responsible art form that its ratings board gets essentially no respect from producers, retailers or consumers, at least in the US. I mean, think about how developers reacted to the case when it was first presented. They had a conniption fit, essentially fearing for their business, because kids all of a sudden wouldn't be able to legally buy M-rated games. They weren't just fearing for their art, which is a completely understandable fear in this circumstance, but for their business, which if they were running a responsible business, shouldn't have been a concern in this case. What I mean is, they weren't just not caring if kids bought their M-rated products, they were relying on it. They needed it to happen. That does tend to show a blatant disregard at least, leading up to full-on abuse, of the ratings system. And that's something that, amidst this victory for the art form, the industry behind it can take a lesson from and work to change. I don't think this issue is going to go away because of this case, and I don't think it should. I feel that the industry, from developers to retailers nationwide, needs to give the ESRB the respect it deserves if we really want to present ourselves as truly in the right on this issue, as we should be. If we want to enjoy Mature-rated games without "moral guardian" groups breathing down our necks, we have to show that we can be mature about them, and that means doing more as an industry to ensure that such games end up in the hands of proper consumers of those games. No, none of this is the fault of the games themselves or gaming as a hobby or art form, but gaming as an industry does have some of the blame to share for this, and this decision does not completely justify the marketing and sales practices of many games outlets today.

WOOOOOO! \m/>.<\m/ This is exactly the kind of news I needed to start my day.

Lawz:
Ok, I'm from the UK where we have the BBFC rating system and most violent games can only be brought by people over 18, and I'm now really confused as to how it works in the US.

So it's not illegal for retailers to sell R rated games to anyone, but they have the choice to refuse the sale, right? So instead of your elected government being in control (by proxy, whatever) of what content children can access, some random at Gamestop is? Sounds pretty odd to me.

Our system seems to work fine. I was playing 18+ games when I was younger, as my parents would buy them for me. Essentially this means that parents have much more control over what there kids play/watch etc, which is surely the way it should be? Kids are not born rational and responsible, they have to learn it, and most of that comes from parents.

Sorry to use the go-to example, but look at the airport level in MW2. Personally I felt a little sick playing it, and was very impressed that a game could have that much of an impact on me, but I don't know if I would want to expose a kid to that. They have their entire adult lives to explore the darker parts of humanity, childhoods supposed to be about fun!

It seems to me that the majority of people think that babies pop out the womb fully formed rational human beings, they are not! They are blank slates affected by everything there senses take in, look at the Mozart Effect for example. Of course being exposed to violence at a young age has an effect on people, I don't claim to know how much, or really in what way, but that's because of the massive amount of conflicting research that I can't really be bothered to sift through, that's for someone else to decide, thankfully we have the BBFC.

I don't really know where this rant came from, but I hope I managed to make my point at least vaguely clear.

Basically most distributors agree not to sell games without an ESRB rating and not to sell M rated games to minors. There is a voluntary system of regulation by the industry and associated distributors and those distributors have a higher compliance rate then other industries with similar systems. Scalia's decision says basically that this system is sufficient for parents who wish to restrict their child's access to violent video games (Scalia notes that not all parents necessarily have such wishes)and additional regulation is not necessarily.

Que happy-dance!

Lawz:

So it's not illegal for retailers to sell R rated games to anyone, but they have the choice to refuse the sale, right? So instead of your elected government being in control (by proxy, whatever) of what content children can access, some random at Gamestop is? Sounds pretty odd to me.

Our system seems to work fine. I was playing 18+ games when I was younger, as my parents would buy them for me. Essentially this means that parents have much more control over what there kids play/watch etc, which is surely the way it should be? Kids are not born rational and responsible, they have to learn it, and most of that comes from parents.

I'm not entirely sure but I think it had to do with M rated games not being the equivalent to an 18+ movie but to pornography. No family friendly store would be willing to stock that kind of product.

Frehls:

synobal:

Frehls:
Unfortunately, looking at some comments on the matter on other news sites, most people are still in favor of restricting video games in such a way.
Given the ignorance of many people on just how the ESRB and retailers work, even on this very site, I sincerely doubt this is the end.

Generally the supreme court is the end for just about everything. Also what websites are you looking at I cruised over to CNN.com and everyone there seem to be in favor of this decision.

Just now I went to Fox's website to look at the comments (I know this is not a representation of everyone's opinion). The article itself was, of course, spun against games. Most of the comments were ignorant drivel, saying that a minor can just go buy violent games now, but they can't buy violent movies (see my original post for why this is false).

I'm extraordinarily pissed off at the ignorance. I'm far from being a liberal, but also far from being a conservative. I sincerely hope this is the end of this.

Yeah bottom line: it cannot be a felony to sell violent video games to anyone.

Sure this means children can be sold violent video games but ONLY IF:
-parents are monumentally irresponsible giving them money, free time and no oversite for them to acquire and also play the violent games.
-the stores in easy reach of children even allow sales to minors

This is pivotal in how it protects adult gamers from being targeted by laws that purpose to protect children *cough*Australian-internet*cough*

This does mean that anything similar to this will be immediately shot down, correct?

It's times like this that remind me not all Americans are backwater bible bashers who want to ban all forms of entertainment more graphic than a trashy by-the-numbers sitcom. It makes me feel glad.

Treblaine:
This isn't just important for America, this is important for video games acceptance all over the world.

I really wish you guys would stop being so bloody arrogant that you actually think this was going to have an effect on anybody but the US.

Oh sweet Jesus yes!!!! Can I get a woot woot?!

Jordi:
So, does this mean that a 10-year-old can now go out and buy Duke Nukem or any other R rated game?

Not if a store itself wants to get sued no. This was to try and prevent it at a more invasive (drug dealing if you ask me) level, if you were caught re-selling it to a minor for example you would get fined.

The ratings are now still in the same bandwagon as movies.
If it's got a sticker with a rating on it, it's recommended to stick to it but in the end it is entirely up to the discretion of the user/users guardian as it should be.

The long term effect it would have had on the video game industry would have been overly catastrophic.

From the opinion:

Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively. Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media. Since California has declined to restrict those other media, e.g., Saturday morning cartoons, its video-game regulation is wildly underinclusive, raising serious doubts about whether the State is pursuing the interest it invokes or is instead disfavoring a particular speaker or viewpoint.

Glad to see they saw through the silliness of all these so-called "studies".

Well, I am very happy about this.

I knew my homeboy Scalia would come through on this!

WHOOO HOOOOOO!

I still don't get why this is good news. I mean, to me it makes sense to not allow minors to buy violent videogames. Here in Britain BBFC classifications are legally enforceable, which means minors who want violent games need ID to prove their age, or have an adult buy it for them.

I see no problem with prohibiting kids buying violent videogames, so someone explain to me why this decision is such a good thing please.

Frehls:

synobal:

Frehls:
Unfortunately, looking at some comments on the matter on other news sites, most people are still in favor of restricting video games in such a way.
Given the ignorance of many people on just how the ESRB and retailers work, even on this very site, I sincerely doubt this is the end.

Generally the supreme court is the end for just about everything. Also what websites are you looking at I cruised over to CNN.com and everyone there seem to be in favor of this decision.

Just now I went to Fox's website to look at the comments (I know this is not a representation of everyone's opinion). The article itself was, of course, spun against games. Most of the comments were ignorant drivel, saying that a minor can just go buy violent games now, but they can't buy violent movies (see my original post for why this is false).

I'm extraordinarily pissed off at the ignorance. I'm far from being a liberal, but also far from being a conservative. I sincerely hope this is the end of this.

That's what you get for going to Fox's website >_>

Lawz:
Ok, I'm from the UK where we have the BBFC rating system and most violent games can only be brought by people over 18, and I'm now really confused as to how it works in the US.

Pretty much agree with you fully. I'm Canadian but living in the States; when I first learned about this proposed law I didn't understand why it was a big deal. I had no idea movie ratings weren't government-enforced in this country before that. Basically all rating systems are voluntary in the US; it's the companies that sell the products that enforce them.

Really, it comes down to whether you think the government is better at preventing these sales (fear of fines/imprisonment) or the companies themselves are (fear of being demoted/fired). Personally I think the government would do a better job and would hope that all media (not just video games, I agree with the judges that singling out video games is stupid) would be legally restricted, but most Yanks disagree; it's just a different culture here. They prefer the government to stay out of their business.

Charli:

Jordi:
So, does this mean that a 10-year-old can now go out and buy Duke Nukem or any other R rated game?

Not if a store itself wants to get sued no. This was to try and prevent it at a more invasive (drug dealing if you ask me) level, if you were caught re-selling it to a minor for example you would get fined.

The ratings are now still in the same bandwagon as movies.
If it's got a sticker with a rating on it, it's recommended to stick to it but in the end it is entirely up to the discretion of the user/users guardian as it should be.

The long term effect it would have had on the video game industry would have been overly catastrophic.

I'm not an American citizen, so I don't know anything about this. But how can a store get sued if it's doing something that is not illegal?

razer17:
I still don't get why this is good news. I mean, to me it makes sense to not allow minors to buy violent videogames. Here in Britain BBFC classifications are legally enforceable, which means minors who want violent games need ID to prove their age, or have an adult buy it for them.

I see no problem with prohibiting kids buying violent videogames, so someone explain to me why this decision is such a good thing please.

I think it has something to do with the fact that we aren't preventing minors from buying M rated games (Which I could do when I was one, 17), but "violent" ones. That's a vague term. At least that is my understanding.

I find it ironic that the guy used "Dante's Divine Comedy" as an example for good literature when the video game was such a glaring example to what the bill was against ;P

Other than that, it's nice to know that videogames are an art and protected by the constitution. Thank you, America!

Of course Thomas dissented, he ALWAYS dissents...he is such an idiot...

This is definitely good news. I do believe I hear a song coming on!

razer17:
I still don't get why this is good news. I mean, to me it makes sense to not allow minors to buy violent videogames. Here in Britain BBFC classifications are legally enforceable, which means minors who want violent games need ID to prove their age, or have an adult buy it for them.

I see no problem with prohibiting kids buying violent videogames, so someone explain to me why this decision is such a good thing please.

In a nut shell because this ruling would have placed video games under scrutiny that didn't apply to other forms of media. Additionally the way this law was written would have made the claim that video games were being placed in this special category because they are uniquely obscene without significant in-obscene merit.

You can be for keeping violent video games out of the hands of minors by trying to increase compliance with ESRB ratings but this regulation had it stood would have been very bad news.

HUZZAH!!

Also, why do I have the feeling that Fox News is going to troll about this?

666Chaos:

Treblaine:
This isn't just important for America, this is important for video games acceptance all over the world.

I really wish you guys would stop being so bloody arrogant that you actually think this was going to have an effect on anybody but the US.

FYI, I'm British and have never even visited America.

You cannot deny the importance of America's Bill of Rights on how the world views Freedom of Speech, particularly from how much American media is exported.

I really wish people would stop being so prejudiced against America.

i said this would happen in the last post, it cant go down any other way!
i'm glad my faith in the court system is well placed

By the way Rockstar, this is not an invitation to push the limit with more "Hot Coffee" crap. On reading the ruling, if pushed the court would change their minds and reverse the decision if presented better in the future.

In otherwords, developers please be responsible. Let's not recreate school killings or allow us to play as Mike Vick killing his dogs, or other things that really are just there to shock and push the envelope. Or eventually it will go too far and supporters will switch sides.

This pleases me greatly.

Achievement Unlocked: Beat the Supreme Court! - Infinite G

I just knew it. Games all already being considered art by the public, and it would be stupid to think otherwise. Now if someone would just pick up the torch that was Six Days in Fallujah...

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