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  • Kids can now buy violent games...

    Don't be shocked if you witness a 5 year old buying the newest GTA or Mortal Kombat game.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down California's attempt to restrict the sale of violent videogames to children, saying the state's controversial 2005 law was a violation of free speech.

    Call of Duty Black Ops
    Source: Activision
    Call of Duty Black Ops

    In a 7-2 ruling, the court said that despite California's argument that strict scrutiny laws (which govern the distribution of adult entertainment to minors) should apply to this sort of material, the First Amendment protections outweighed those concerns.

    "Videogames qualify for First Amendment protection," the Court said in its ruling, written by Justice Antonin Scalia. "Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And 'the basic principles of freedom of speech ... do not vary' with a new and different communication medium."

    The case—Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association—revolved around a 2005 California law that made it illegal for retailers to sell violent videogames to anyone under 18. Then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had argued that violent games are on the same level as sexual materials, of which the government can restrict sales.

    The Court soundly rejected that argument.

    "Our cases have been clear that the obscenity exception to the First Amendment does not cover whatever a legislature finds shocking, but only depictions of 'sexual conduct,' " wrote the court.

    "This country has no tradition of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence. And California’s claim that 'interactive' videogames present special problems, in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its outcome, is unpersuasive. … Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, videogames communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection."

    The ruling could have a dramatic impact on the typical American home. Over 46 million households have a videogame system, and many have more than one. Last year, consumers spent nearly $16 billion in the U.S. on videogame software—and over $9 billion more on gaming hardware and peripherals, according to the NPD Group, which tracks industry sales.

    Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer were in the minority. The inclusion of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito in the majority opinion surprised some court-watchers, since both seemed to be firmly strongly leaning towards California's side in oral arguments.

    The videogame industry, as well as Hollywood's film and Tv industries, had feared that any restriction on videogame rights could open the door to incremental restrictions on other entertainment industries.

    Justices seemed to concur.

    "Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat," the Court said. "But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional ones. Crudely violent videogames, tawdry TV shows, and cheap novels and magazines are no less forms of speech than The Divine Comedy, and restrictions upon them must survive strict scrutiny."

    M-rated titles—the rating which extremely violent games usually receive—do not make up the majority of games on the market. In 2010, they made up 25 percent of all games sold by unit. M-rated titles do, however, tend to be the industry’s biggest hits.

    Activision [ATVI 11.43 0.05 (+0.44%) ] has made billions from its “Call of Duty” franchise, which includes last year’s top-selling game "Black Ops." And Take Two Interactive Software [TTWO 15.06 -0.08 (-0.53%) ] relies heavily on the "Grand Theft Auto" franchise for its fiscal health. Even Electronic Arts [ERTS 22.175 0.465 (+2.14%) ], which in years past has been less dependent on the shooter genre, has shown an increased interest in those titles lately, because of their drawing power.

    Previous attempts to regulate the sale of violent games have been struck down by lower courts, but this was the first time a case had made it as far as the Supreme Court. Opponents say violent videogames can have negative psychological effects on players—particularly young ones. Justices, though, said that simply targeting the gaming industry with those fears was not legal.

    "Since California has declined to restrict those other media, e.g., Saturday morning cartoons, its videogame regulation is wildly under inclusive, raising serious doubts about whether the State is pursuing the interest it invokes or is instead disfavoring a particular speaker or viewpoint," said the Court.
    I always thought the whole debate about kids committing crimes by playing video games was a joke. Actually, a study came out not too long ago proving that violent games prevent people from committing crimes in their life.

  • #2
    I have played Cod and GTA since i was 12

    Turns out you dont turn into a psychopathic killer

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bernie24 View Post
      I have played Cod and GTA since i was 12

      Turns out you dont turn into a psychopathic killer
      I've been playing GTA since I was 10... Those two extra years sure do make a lot of difference...
      :usa: *** God Bless Our Military Men And Women*** :usa:

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      • #4
        I own the original Mortal Kombat game at the age of 6. Parents worry too much about censorship, America has one of the most censor media in the world in my opinion.

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        • #5
          When it comes to censorship Germany is the worst. They have a rule that in video games you can aren't allowed to shoot dead bodies.

          That's why in Crysis 2 if you attempt to shoot a dead soldier or alien, nothing happens, bullets will go right through them and they have no physical motions or movements..

          I've always played violent games. I remember playing an MK game when I was 3, actually my dad used to buy me tons of violent games. He was the one that got me hooked on the GTA series years ago.

          The debate about games =/= violence was always silly..

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          • #6
            While I am glad games received the protection of "freedom of speech," I just can't help but feel that this is just a "good intention" that we're gonna be using to pave the road to hell.

            Regardless of what the government does, this is what it has always been, a judgement call by the parents. The problem is that if you asked me which of these I had less faith in: the children, programmers, or parents. I'd have to say the parents of today.

            For the record, I learned to read playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and I played GTA 3 at 15 when it first came out.
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            • #7
              The laws about sales of violent video games were always pretty dumb.
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              Hooray, beer!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CoryWinget81 View Post
                The laws about sales of violent video games were always pretty dumb.
                The ESRB system is also voluntary. Kids could always buy violent video games.

                The ruling yesterday struck down a law that would change that.

                It didn't make it possible for kids to buy violent video games. It struck down a law that would prohibit it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alastor View Post
                  The ESRB system is also voluntary. Kids could always buy violent video games.

                  The ruling yesterday struck down a law that would change that.

                  It didn't make it possible for kids to buy violent video games. It struck down a law that would prohibit it.
                  ESRB is perfectly fine with me. As a parent, I like those ratings because someday I will have to base decisions on whether or not to let my kids play a game based off of those ratings.

                  Parents should be responsible for restricting access to mature content, not Uncle Sam.
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                  • #10
                    Now when I worked at Target and GameStop, we weren't allowed to sell games rated M to children under 18 without an adult. Does this law change that or was that simply store policy?


                    Honestly I don't want kids playing overly violent games, but I also don't want them leaving their gum on the bottom of park benches. Violent or not, games and TV are poor substitutes for actual parental guidance.


                    Oh, and I did a nice research project on the effect of violent video games back in college. I guess the most general consensus is that violent games do NOT make kids violent. It can make a violent kid angry (as can anything else), but it will not make a normal kid some psycho. Also any effects the game has on a kid can be remedied by 5-10 min of talking with their parents, so it isn't like the game imprints it either.


                    I've played games my whole life, I even owned the first ever rated M game. I turned out normal sort of normal . I did learn how to load and shoot guns from games, but I could have learned that from movies or TV as well and I know the difference between right and wrong.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frenchy180 View Post
                      I've been playing GTA since I was 10... Those two extra years sure do make a lot of difference...
                      As did i... also been playing MK since i was 7

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                      • #12
                        Dang I turned 17 for nothing

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                        • #13
                          It doesn't change anything, kids have been playing violent videos game since, well the start of violent video games.

                          Parents didn't care, they was just games. I don't see the point of there even being a court issue, because it's not doing anything, but not having to have people asked for there ID.
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                          • #14
                            Lol @ the learned how to read on Zelda

                            I learned how to read on Pokemon

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bernie24 View Post
                              Lol @ the learned how to read on Zelda

                              I learned how to read on Pokemon
                              On Silver and Gold or Red and Blue?

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