Expert Warns of Possible Catastrophic Effects of California Videogame Law


The proposed California game law won’t just affect retailers, says veteran entertainment lawyer Patrick Sweeney, the rest of us have plenty to be concerned about, too.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on California’s bid to make the sale of mature rated videogames to minors punishable by law is about as big a deal as it gets, but not everyone understands what all the fuss is about. To the layman, the changes the law would bring about are pretty minor, but Sweeney warns that the knock-on effects of the law could be disastrous for the videogame industry.

Sweeney, who heads the videogame practice at the Reed Smith law firm, and counts the likes of EA, THQ, and Nintendo among his clients, believes that if the law passes, the videogame industry will see big job losses and will make fewer games as retailers stop stocking M rated games for fear of prosecution or litigation. Perhaps worse than that, however, is a possible exodus of talent away from the industry to fields with fewer governmental restrictions and interference.

“I believe the independent development community would be severely impacted,” he said. “Innovation, both from a creative and technological aspect, would also be stifled. The companies, brands and individuals that we should be embracing as the visionaries of this creative and collaborative industry will migrate their talents to a more expressive medium.”

Simply put, the U.S. is the heart of the Western videogame market, and what happens to it affects all the other territories as well. If sales of mature rated games dry up in the US because retailers refuse to stock them, then publishers will stop making them, or water them down enough to get teen ratings instead. People wail and gnash their teeth when a movie is tweaked to get a PG-13 rating rather than an R, so just imagine that potentially happening to pretty much every game you’ll play for the foreseeable future, and you’ll start to see how much of an effect this law could have.

Source: Industry Gamers

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