Gaming law, California.
So right now in California they are working on making it illegal to buy certain games if you are under a certain age. As far as I know it only effects the sail of violent video games to minors.
If you have opinions, or additional information please post it here.
We have that law in Australia, I actually think it's a good law in that it shoots down the whole "video games made my kid bad" argument as the only way the kid would get say, GTA IV would be if a parent bought it now, if a parent thought it was that bad, why would they buy the kid the game? They wouldn't.
I heard that it would also allow the government to control the flow of games. So, if your state's governor doesn't like BioShock, poof! it gets banned from your stores.
As it stands, kids still can't truly buy M rated games in the U.S. Stores like Gamestop will still ask for ID in most cases. In fact, I believe the sale of M-rated games is the most regulated out of adult materials like R-rated movies or adult books or music. In most cases a kid still has to get his parent to buy him the game if he wants it and is a minor. Making this law would curtail serious liberties in the freedom of speech, as the government would have the right to decide which games are not appropriate for minors.
Originally Posted by I-ChooseTheImpossible
The law doesn't do anything to specifically regulate the flow of games. The major difference would be that if a developer can't sell it's game because the government says it's illegal to sell it to minors, and game stores decide to take it off the shelves, then the game won't be made.
Originally Posted by RaptureWillBeReborn
You can still always order from Amazon or Ebay.
and Gamestop online doesnt ask for ID. there is a button saying are you 17 or older but its just a button theres no verification so people can just pass by that button and get rated M games no sweat. Thats how i got bioshock 2.
Originally Posted by duely_89
It's already like this in Ohio...
Not a big deal, I just need my parents to be with me.
It's not just "having your parents buy them," you're technically supposed to ask for ID anyways when it comes to M rated games - my friend and I still get carded and we're both 21. She got carded when she bought Borderlands last year.
What they want to do is classify the games on the same level of pornography. I don't know what porno stores are like in the states, but up here they're stores with blacked out windows that people go in to with their collars up looking incredibly shady and drawing more attention to themselves. They want to decide what is "subversive" and "deviant" content, rather than enforcing the law they already have on games. It's not so much the fact that you have to have a parent with you to buy M rated games (which I firmly believe in!) but that you are being told what is subversive and what is not.
Consider if you will a discussion that was taking place on Irrational's boards already about BS:I. Someone mentioned that they were breaking the law by showing the American flag in a derogatory position, even though we still don't know the context of the message that Levine is going for in BS:I yet. I can almost guarentee you that should this law be passed, BS:I will be one of the games hit by it.
What will happen after that point? Who knows. They could go all out like Australia did with Left 4 Dead 2 and demand that all the "subversive" content be removed. What would happen then? Well, I can guarentee you that BS:I with a story about the evil Lord Bunnykins of the failed paradise of Warrentopia won't be quite the same as it's current incarnation... Though Bunnyshock: Infinite would be an amazing name for a parody...
In addition to what Codex said, basically, as it stands right now, games, like books, movies, music, and other forms of entertainment are protected as free speech by the U.S. Constitution's first amendment. However, if California's law passes, it would allow the government to pick and choose which games are considered suitable for the general public, thereby over ruling their free speech protection.
On the surface, all this law appears to do is legally enforce what most retailers are already doing: asking for ID and not selling Mature-rated games to those under 17. However, dig a little deeper and you'll see that the law intends to create a new system that overrules the ESRB's rating system where the state government gets to decide on an arbitrary case by case basis what they consider appropriate. And worse yet, there would be no review board to determine whether these games are suitable for minors or not, it's left up to both the developers and the retailers to figure it out for themselves.
For example, we'll say that GameStop decides BioShock Infinite is ok; it doesn't have enough violent content that they feel it's deviant or outside the social norm so they sell it, without the government "18" sticker. Best Buy, however, decided that it was inappropriate and so they decided to put the sticker on. Now all of a sudden GameStop is getting fined $1000 for every copy they've sold and there will have to be a court hearing to decide for sure whether that game needs the sticker or not.
So you can see how this sets a dangerous precedent; retailers are obviously going to want to avoid the fine, so they'll start being over cautious and shoving the label on everything with even a hint of violence to ensure that there's no question about it. Not to mention, if this law passes, it opens the door for government to pass all kinds of other legislation, such as content regulation, taxation, etc. and you can bet anything that politicians will start calling into question movies, comic books, music, etc. It's a slippery slope to a very bad place.
Fortunately though, from the Supreme Court hearings on November 2nd, I got the impression that most of the nine judges seem to think California's law is absurd, overly vague, and goes against the Constitution. If you'd like, you can read the full transcription of the court proceedings here:
They have until June to make a final decision, so hopefully everything will go well.