Okay, let’s talk a little serious business. In America, there is currently a case going up to the Supreme court called “Schwarzenegger vs. EMA”. This is about the dear California governator wanting to make sales of violent video games to minors illegal. This sounds all well and good on the surface, but it carries some serious consequences.
Currently, video games in america have self governed regulation, through the ESRB. That means the video game industry have their own organisation to label what games are unsuitable for kids, and the publishers, as well as most major retailers, co-operates with them. This is how movies work too, as well as magazines, comic books, TV, and most other medium.
The reason for this is the First Amendment, that protects freedom of speech. In practice, it states all mediums, and all people, for that instance, have the right to express themselves freely, without being govern by the law. That’s why, if the law passes, that means the Supreme Court has ruled that video games are NOT protected by freedom of speech, which means they are to be considered less of a medium than movies or magazines. It would also mean lawmakers are free to regulate games with different laws down the line, like, say, a law banning the depiction of violent acts alltogether, or maybe banning games with an “anti-american message”, with guidelines set by the government themselves.
So if you are an American, please take a little bit of your time of your time to fill out this petition. I’m not even American, but I still wanted to post this, because I know how important this is to our culture, our industry, our medium. Oh, and this isn’t just a random petition some guy threw together about dedicated servers or whatnot. This is put together by the Entertainment Consumer Association, the prime advocacy and lobbyist group for the gaming industry, and it will be compiled to an official document they will hand in to the court.
If you want to read more about why this is important, please read this interview.