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Activision Blizzard's George Rose on Cali's Violent Video Game Ban

Miiles Edgeworth.jpgIt's the absurd issue that will not die: parents can't be trusted to parent and so we must draft and enforce laws to ban the sale of Grand Theft Gears of Ninja Portals: Episode 3.6, et al to 12-year-olds. I could outline all the usual arguments - video games are protected by free speech; the research proving "harm" is as dubious as a parachute made of tissues and bits of string; the kidlings are receiving the games from parents or other non-minors; said kidlings could still march into a video store and walk out with a sci-fi film series that derives horror from the fear of rape without a second glance or penalty to the retailer - but I would be preaching to the choir, a choir that already knows this sermon inside and out. What I wish to share with you instead is an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle condemning California's AB-1179, the bill that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors, written by someone much more eloquent, credible and influential than I: Activision Blizzard's VP and CPO, George Rose.

Mr. Rose doesn't pull any punches in his editorial, lambasting the bill's credibility by ripping holes in its supporting arguments. An excerpt:

This movement's supporters also continually misstate that hundreds of studies support the harmful effects on minors from playing video games with violent content. But there are no hundreds of studies to cite because they don't exist. In fact, every court that has looked at this issue has found that whatever research is used to support the idea that games with violent content are harmful lacks credibility. If fact, an unprecedented 82 social scientists, medical scientists and media scholars felt so strongly about Yee's law that they filed their own brief with the Supreme Court. Their conclusion: it was based on "profoundly flawed research."

The San Francisco Chronicle is a publication with a Sunday paid print circulation of at least 410,000 (PDF, 975KB) and with as many as 1.5 million unique visitors to the online version, SFGate.com. By publishing his editorial there, Mr. Rose is reaching a very large, very diverse audience who might normally be unaware of this issue. So thank you, George Rose, for voicing your opposition against this absurd bill in such a high-profile manner.

Gaymers, you may or may not have the clout of the vice president of a multi-million dollar publishing empire, but you can still be involved in issues like this. You can contact industry folks like Mr. Rose who publicly voice their opposition to video game censorship and thank them for speaking up. You can contact the senators, legislators, governors, councilfolk and other law-makers for your area to voice your opinions and concerns. And finally, you can join the Video Game Voters Network, "a place for American gamers to organize and defend against threats to video games by registering to vote and letting Congress know how important this issue is to the community."

[via Joystiq]
[SFGate Editorial]

5 Comments

Marsten said:

See, I really don't 'get' this.

Here in the UK, we put a rating label on video games just like we do for DVDs, and it pretty much does everything needed - tells people that it's not suitable for kids. I don't see what else is needed - or indeed what else is desired.

It seems to me a lot like this.

Protesters: "We want safety for our kids from these games! We want safety for our kids..."
Gaming Community: "Okay, we've put labels on the games, and made it clear to stores that it's not cool to sell them to kids, or for adults to buy them. What more do you want?"
Protesters: *long pause* "We want safety for our kids from these games! We want.."

Kenny said:

As a kid who saved up his own money and went to wal-mart and single-handedly purchased Diablo in 1997, I object to their violent video game controlling. Many a dark night was spent King's Sword duping in Tristram by Deckark Cain. So if anything, I learned to cheat more fervently than I ever felt compelled to act out the Sorcerer's Wall of Fire. We have a rating system on games for a reason and shouldn't punish a 16 year old who just wants to get his Black Ops on but can't because some ten year old kid acted out a WWE - Hell in a Cell match with his little sister.

Cheers to the Chronicle for publishing this guys opposition... But weren't they the ones that went full speed ahead in educating and supporting the banning of happy meal toys in their city? We're gonna end up with a bunch of anemic, vegan killing machines.

Digital Lit said:

@Kenny, yeah the happy meal thing was here, but it wasn't a full on ban. Rather, to be able to include the toy the meals had to be healthier, ie swap out the fries for apples. Still kinda nanny-state and is saying parents can't parent....but I have a hard time objecting as there is an obesity epidemic in the US, I think most folks aren't aware of the degree of how unhealthy fast food is, and fast food co.s would go back to the days of The Jungle in a heartbeat. Really all that McD's is losing by the restriction is a marketing tactic.

Karrde said:

So tired of this issue. The real problem is adults not being proper adults and actually taking an active role in the media the kids consume. Parents are really failing in numerous areas like this. Throwing stones in a glass house mind you since I don't have kids. But still, my parents very seriously regulated the kinds of games I could have as a kid. Same for movies. I maintain that this isn't so much an issue of the actual content, but one of adults failing the kids. And yes that includes retailers.

Nick said:

I really don't care because I turn 17 in about a month, but its still pretty lame. Why can't parents just...parent?

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Nick on Activision Blizzard's George Rose on Cali's Violent Video Game Ban: I really don't care because I turn 17 in about a month, but its still pretty lame. Why can't parents...

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