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If You Don't Know About Brown v. EMA, You Should

Supreme Court expected to deliver a decision on the sale of violent games on Monday. The impact on games could be tremendous. Get informed.

The legal fate of many video games lies in the hands of the people inside of this building.

"For those of us who develop games, our right to express ourselves is hanging in the balance." -- Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price in a blog post last year

The future of video games as a creative medium may change Monday. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on Brown v. EMA, otherwise known as that violent video game court case you've seen so much coverage about in the past. The ripple effect could be tremendous.

The case was previously known as Schwarzenegger v. EMA, changed to reflect California's newly elected governor, Jerry Brown.

"We can all agree that parents are the best arbiters of determining what is right for their children," said Entertainment Software Association (who is arguing the case) president Michael Gallagher in an editorial for U.S. News. "The issue at hand though is how best to support those parents. [...] As a medium, computer and video games are entitled to the same protections as the best of literature, music, movies, and art. In the end, Americans’ rights to speech and expression are sacred and inviolate--and millions across the political spectrum agree with us."

In short, the case concerns the sale of violent games. There have been attempts by states to classify violent games differently than how material is treated in other mediums, be it music, movies or literature. All of these laws, even those that were passed, were eventually struck down by the courts, declared an infringement on First Amendment rights. Games are protected speech.

But are all games?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

That's the First Amendment, obviously.

== TEASER ==

Oral arguments for the case were heard in November, but the Supreme Court doesn't immediately issue a verdict. It's expected but not assured we'll hear a decision Monday. The case itself concerns a 2005 law passed in California (California Civil Code sections1746-1746.5, which you can read for yourself here) that would regulate the sale and rental of violent games to minors.

The law defines the classification of a "violent video game" in this way:

(1) "Violent video game" means a video game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being, if those acts are depicted in the game in a manner that does either of the following:(A) Comes within all of the following descriptions:

(i) A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors.

(ii) It is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors. (iii) It causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

Postal is one of the most common games detractors point to as "obscene."

The question at hand is whether games, like other media, are fully protected under the Constitution. The law, as written, would make selling a violent game to minors a criminal offense, moving from industry self regulation to potential fine--up to $1,000 per violation, in fact. This doesn't mean your average GameStop clerk would be fined, as the violation would only apply to those with "ownership interest" (.e. a store manager), but retailers would be at risk.

"California has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological care of minors," reads an amicus brief filed by California state senator Leland Yee. "When juxtaposed against the backdrop of protecting the First Amendment, this Court has held that the Constitution does not confer the protection on communication aimed at children as it does for adults. When weighing the conflicting concerns of minors this Court correctly carved a flexible standard of review and not a strict scrutiny approach. We know, of course, that a state can prohibit the sale of sexually-explicit material to minors under a 'variable obscenity' or 'obscenity as to minors' standard.

Yee is a well known supporter of these kinds of laws.

An amicus brief, by the way, is basically an argument filed on behalf of each side, typically by someone who will be affected by the outcome. It's meant to be complimentary.

Yee, and many others, argue violent videogames fall under the same categorization as pornography. The status of pornography was largely defined by Miller v. California in 1973, which declared content marked as "obscene" was not protected by the First Amendment. The case resulted in what's referred to as the "Miller Test," which is alluded to in the California law.

The "Miller Test" (the whole text of the decision can be found here) is divided into three parts:

(a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Roth, supra, at 489,

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

If a work fits all three, it's considered "obscene." Just swap the sexual terminology for violence.

The crux of this case is whether government, not industry, should protect minors. Parents are still allowed to purchase whatever they please for their children. The fear from the industry is the classification of obscene, lumping games in with pornography, and the requirements for games to be labeled. It could prompt a chilling effect on the creativity of the medium. Games are entertainment--they need to make money. If the commercial market for these games was restricted, what would be the point of making them? You'd be catering to a niche market.

The popularity of DOOM and Mortal Kombat lead to some of the first laws against games.

"As content creators, if there is a chance that our games will appear in an 'Adults Only' section of game stores we will have to restrict what we create to avoid going out of business," said Price.

The law itself does not specify an "Adults Only" section, but it does require some labeling through a "solid white '18' outlined in black" 2x2 inches sticker on the box.

Several companies filed briefs defending games, including Activision and id Software.

"As a matter of content and form, video games are a projection of such traditional media as literature and film, both of which the First Amendment protects in full," reads the brief from id Software. "In fact, the themes on which video games rely are staples of fiction. This being true, this Court could not deny full protection to video games without making an artificial distinction among forms of art."

Naturally, others disagree. One brief represented the attorneys general of Louisiana, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia.

"California’s law falls squarely within the limits on juvenile freedoms which this Court has upheld" reads the brief. "In fundamental realms--such as voting, marriage, contracts, privacy, travel, juries, sentencing, and speech--states may (and sometimes must) treat minors in ways that would be inconceivable for adults. California’s law is situated within this sensible and laudable tradition. If a state may restrict a minor’s right to vote or to marry, then it may also restrict her ability to purchase graphically violent video games."

How the court decides, and its ultimate impact on the industry, will be known soon enough.

All eyes turn towards Monday.

[U.S. Supreme Court image courtesy of cometstarmoon on Flickr]

Patrick Klepek on Google+
352 Comments
Posted by patrickklepek
The legal fate of many video games lies in the hands of the people inside of this building.

"For those of us who develop games, our right to express ourselves is hanging in the balance." -- Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price in a blog post last year

The future of video games as a creative medium may change Monday. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on Brown v. EMA, otherwise known as that violent video game court case you've seen so much coverage about in the past. The ripple effect could be tremendous.

The case was previously known as Schwarzenegger v. EMA, changed to reflect California's newly elected governor, Jerry Brown.

"We can all agree that parents are the best arbiters of determining what is right for their children," said Entertainment Software Association (who is arguing the case) president Michael Gallagher in an editorial for U.S. News. "The issue at hand though is how best to support those parents. [...] As a medium, computer and video games are entitled to the same protections as the best of literature, music, movies, and art. In the end, Americans’ rights to speech and expression are sacred and inviolate--and millions across the political spectrum agree with us."

In short, the case concerns the sale of violent games. There have been attempts by states to classify violent games differently than how material is treated in other mediums, be it music, movies or literature. All of these laws, even those that were passed, were eventually struck down by the courts, declared an infringement on First Amendment rights. Games are protected speech.

But are all games?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

That's the First Amendment, obviously.

== TEASER ==

Oral arguments for the case were heard in November, but the Supreme Court doesn't immediately issue a verdict. It's expected but not assured we'll hear a decision Monday. The case itself concerns a 2005 law passed in California (California Civil Code sections1746-1746.5, which you can read for yourself here) that would regulate the sale and rental of violent games to minors.

The law defines the classification of a "violent video game" in this way:

(1) "Violent video game" means a video game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being, if those acts are depicted in the game in a manner that does either of the following:(A) Comes within all of the following descriptions:

(i) A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors.

(ii) It is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors. (iii) It causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

Postal is one of the most common games detractors point to as "obscene."

The question at hand is whether games, like other media, are fully protected under the Constitution. The law, as written, would make selling a violent game to minors a criminal offense, moving from industry self regulation to potential fine--up to $1,000 per violation, in fact. This doesn't mean your average GameStop clerk would be fined, as the violation would only apply to those with "ownership interest" (.e. a store manager), but retailers would be at risk.

"California has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological care of minors," reads an amicus brief filed by California state senator Leland Yee. "When juxtaposed against the backdrop of protecting the First Amendment, this Court has held that the Constitution does not confer the protection on communication aimed at children as it does for adults. When weighing the conflicting concerns of minors this Court correctly carved a flexible standard of review and not a strict scrutiny approach. We know, of course, that a state can prohibit the sale of sexually-explicit material to minors under a 'variable obscenity' or 'obscenity as to minors' standard.

Yee is a well known supporter of these kinds of laws.

An amicus brief, by the way, is basically an argument filed on behalf of each side, typically by someone who will be affected by the outcome. It's meant to be complimentary.

Yee, and many others, argue violent videogames fall under the same categorization as pornography. The status of pornography was largely defined by Miller v. California in 1973, which declared content marked as "obscene" was not protected by the First Amendment. The case resulted in what's referred to as the "Miller Test," which is alluded to in the California law.

The "Miller Test" (the whole text of the decision can be found here) is divided into three parts:

(a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Roth, supra, at 489,

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

If a work fits all three, it's considered "obscene." Just swap the sexual terminology for violence.

The crux of this case is whether government, not industry, should protect minors. Parents are still allowed to purchase whatever they please for their children. The fear from the industry is the classification of obscene, lumping games in with pornography, and the requirements for games to be labeled. It could prompt a chilling effect on the creativity of the medium. Games are entertainment--they need to make money. If the commercial market for these games was restricted, what would be the point of making them? You'd be catering to a niche market.

The popularity of DOOM and Mortal Kombat lead to some of the first laws against games.

"As content creators, if there is a chance that our games will appear in an 'Adults Only' section of game stores we will have to restrict what we create to avoid going out of business," said Price.

The law itself does not specify an "Adults Only" section, but it does require some labeling through a "solid white '18' outlined in black" 2x2 inches sticker on the box.

Several companies filed briefs defending games, including Activision and id Software.

"As a matter of content and form, video games are a projection of such traditional media as literature and film, both of which the First Amendment protects in full," reads the brief from id Software. "In fact, the themes on which video games rely are staples of fiction. This being true, this Court could not deny full protection to video games without making an artificial distinction among forms of art."

Naturally, others disagree. One brief represented the attorneys general of Louisiana, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia.

"California’s law falls squarely within the limits on juvenile freedoms which this Court has upheld" reads the brief. "In fundamental realms--such as voting, marriage, contracts, privacy, travel, juries, sentencing, and speech--states may (and sometimes must) treat minors in ways that would be inconceivable for adults. California’s law is situated within this sensible and laudable tradition. If a state may restrict a minor’s right to vote or to marry, then it may also restrict her ability to purchase graphically violent video games."

How the court decides, and its ultimate impact on the industry, will be known soon enough.

All eyes turn towards Monday.

[U.S. Supreme Court image courtesy of cometstarmoon on Flickr]

Staff
Edited by vdortizo

Mmm...
 
Edit: As I always say; the constitution of the United States is just too old for the world we live in right now... it needs to be reviewed with a critical eye for today's society...

Posted by patrickklepek

@vdortizo said:

mmm

Good point.

Staff
Posted by JoeyRavn

Why not regulate violent movies or shows? Fucking bigots.

Posted by YukoAsho

Eventually, should the Court rule in favor of California, the effects would bleed far beyond gaming.  You'll eventually have moral crusaders wanting to similarly restrict everything, since the idea has already been codified for one medium.

Posted by Andryan

I'm glad you're covering this; I remember reading through the transcripts when this began and have been waiting to see how the hell it ends.

Posted by SpaceBoat

Not really on the top of my news, so I hadn't heard about this until now. It's kind of interesting the way games receive separate judgement from film or literature when it comes to violence.

Posted by Atary77

As long as we have movies out there like Saw and Hostel ,any argument to say that video games are that much worse than film is bullcrap.

Posted by GozerTC

I hate that the bastard State Congressthing has the same last name as me.  Bugger makes my name sound bad!  I feel for everyone with the last name Brown too.  :(  
Posted by WilliamHenry

So parents are too lazy to watch what their kids are doing, so lets punish everyone else for their incompetence.Such bullshit. This better be shot down.

Posted by zakkro

@JoeyRavn: Because children never see violent movies or shows! It's impossible! (Sarcasm, of course)

Posted by thwak

If the supreme court is going to vote in favor of the WBC 8-1, there's no reason to worry about them not voting for the EMA.

Posted by shua310

Nice legal analysis Patrick. Fingers crossed

Posted by tgammet

It seems strange to me that it is now Brown's name associated with the case even though he's the current Governor. Has he taken a stance on the case one way or the other?

Posted by Sammo21

@vdortizo: Not really. That's the reason there are amendments to the constitution.

Feels like those who makes these comments know the least about our country's legal documents and the context and their original intent.

Posted by BrockNRolla

I've been following this case for a while and I'm fairly certain they aren't going to allow these regulations to pass. A straightforward censorship issue.

Posted by Twazuk

How are violent video games regulated in the United States? Are there no laws against selling mature rated games to minors? That's all I can imagine when these sort of cases come up. Do the people selling these games not care how old the people actually buying them actually are? Are there not age ratings on your boxes?

Posted by WilliamHenry

@vdortizo said:

Mmm... Edit: As I always say; the constitution of the United States is just too old for the world we live in right now... it needs to be reviewed with a critical eye for today's society...

In theory that makes sense but if you realize just how fucked the US is these days, it would be fucking crazy to change it because theres no chance in hell that it would be changed for the best.

Posted by vdortizo
@patrickklepek said:

@vdortizo said:

mmm

Good point.

Ha ha ha... sorry Patrick, I saw a chance to get the quest and I took it. But as I said (post now edited) the constitution needs to be revised; not only for cases like this but for all kinds of art. We don't live in 1776 anymore...
Posted by WilliamHenry

@Twazuk said:

How are violent video games regulated in the United States? Are there no laws against selling mature rated games to minors? That's all I can imagine when these sort of cases come up. Do the people selling these games not care how old the people actually buying them actually are? Are there not age ratings on your boxes?

Theres no criminal law against it. Stores just adopt a policy of not selling to minors but theres no legal consequences for doing so.

Posted by OwlPen0r

I'm not American, so I can't really comment on the constitution or how games are regulated over there. But if this bill is going to make video games subject to government classification instead of independent regulation, so what? Here in Britain, the BBFC regulate all video games, and they are a government body. They just slap a rating on the box and are done with it. It doesn't get put anywhere different in the store or anything, you could find GTA4 next to Viva Pinata and nobody bats an eyelid. Is it different for America?

Posted by patrickklepek

@Twazuk said:

How are violent video games regulated in the United States? Are there no laws against selling mature rated games to minors? That's all I can imagine when these sort of cases come up. Do the people selling these games not care how old the people actually buying them actually are? Are there not age ratings on your boxes?

Like every other entertainment industry, it's regulated by the industry itself. That's why we have the ESRB, which is a voluntary body. Publishers submit their games for a ratings system applied industry-wide, while the ESRB/ESA work to ensure retailers are playing ball with the sale of M-rated games to minors.

Staff
Posted by Scrubiii

It's not like this will change anything. I don't know how it works in the USA but here in Britain, people in games shops don't sell games rated 18 to children, the child's parents buy the game and give it to them. I assumed that was how it worked in the US as well. Maybe I'm misunderstanding this law though.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

Game of Thrones is more graphic then most games I've ever played, and Duke Nukem 3D was my first fuckin' game. I was more disturbed by someone getting a certain golden crown then by limbs coming off in Gears of War or Call of Duty. Combat is a gory, graphic affair, and rarely do games depict cold blooded murder any differently then CSI or L&O would. And again, HBO and Showtime are excellent examples of places you can find things far more graphic and disturbing than just about any video game out there. And yet I'm required to read books in high school which use racist language, and have violent scenes contained within them? Totally backwards. Those books never harmed me, nor has Game of Thrones, nor video games. I still detest unreasonable violence. I'm so sick of this crap.

Posted by vdortizo
@sammo21: @DivineCC: I'm not saying change it, I'm saying modify it, there are bound to be parts that just don't apply anymore...
Posted by reddjoey

Nice article Patrick.  I got a feeling that despite to Supreme Court being quite a bit older than the average consumer of games, they had a good grasp on the issue. 

Posted by Count_Zero

@JoeyRavn said:

Why not regulate violent movies or shows? Fucking bigots.

Because, basically, they already ran through this gauntlet and passed (and TV is bound by FCC regulations as they're broadcast over the airwaves, and thus have another set of rules on top of the constitution to deal with).

Edited by MagikGimp

Really, what is the issue here? Games shouldn't be played by children who are under the suggested age restriction, unless you're over your mate's house of course...

Part of adolescence and a healthy upbringing is what you get up to with your mates so this to me doesn't seem to change anything.

Anyway, if the parents are too thick or too neglecting to check or care about age ratings then they only have themselves to blame, should they care about the consequences at all and how crackpot is a jurisdiction being based on some ancient text? It's such a tiny vague phrase and America must surely be on the 50,000th amendment by now that any reference to the 1st amendment can only be seen as political pandering surely. Are people really that fooled?

Also, since when have most games been made solely on a creative path? The 'going over you mate's house because he's stolen his older brother's shit' concept is a huge driving force in the production of entertainment! The majority of games companies always have the guy who says make her chest larger or increase the violence here purely for that reason and I don't think this ruling is going to change that now is it?

Posted by FancySoapsMan
@vdortizo said:
@sammo21: @DivineCC: I'm not saying change it, I'm saying modify it, there are bound to be parts that just don't apply anymore...
It has been modified. 27 times.
Posted by tourgen

I guess I would like to see real evidence that it matters one way or the other. Is violence in video games even an issue for children? Real evidence. Good luck isolating the effect. Just "knowing" or claiming it's obvious is BS and should not be tolerated. If people want to bring an argument for regulation they need to PROVE with scientific data that it's necessary.

All studies to date have been inconclusive. Indicating that if there is an effect it is so small as to not be measurable.

F U California.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

I remember reading through the transcript of what happened in court. They misspelled Mortal Kombat.  
 
Anyway, good work as always, Patrick. 

Moderator
Posted by YukoAsho
@BrockNRolla said:
I've been following this case for a while and I'm fairly certain they aren't going to allow these regulations to pass. A straightforward censorship issue.
I'm pretty comfortable in this as well, but not JUST because of the censorship issue.  As Id Software mentioned in the article, this would be an artificial distinction.  After all, has there been anything near conclusive proof that playing a violent game is any different than a grotesquely violent movie?  California has failed to prove that distinction. 
 
@Twazuk said:

How are violent video games regulated in the United States? Are there no laws against selling mature rated games to minors? That's all I can imagine when these sort of cases come up. Do the people selling these games not care how old the people actually buying them actually are? Are there not age ratings on your boxes?

Ratings are placed on the lower portion of the box in American games. 
 
 
They're also accompanied by a detailed explanation on the back.  However, the government doesn't hand out the ratings, which are instead handled by a private organization, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, in keeping with the tradition set forth in the movie and music industries here.  The issue of government regulation terrifies American entertainment industries, simply because of how aggressive some public figures are here, especially with video games, which many older people still assume are just children's toys. 
 
In essence, government regulation and government attitudes would make any violent content a death sentence for a video game at retail.
Posted by Branthog

People who justify censorship of anything with the argument that "well, we censor pornography durr durr durr" need to read up on the origin of obscenity laws in this country. One bad precedent shouldn't justify all the bad precedents that follow. Either we have a first amendment or we don't. Fuck the grandstanding, showboating, douchebag politicians and religious groups that want to strip away rights for power or votes.

Posted by JoeShadows

You're not supposed to sell tickets to R-rated movies to minors, either. How would this be any different from that?

Posted by ThePhantomnaut

I can understand the business aspect as it turns into a somewhat stricter approach which is sort of acceptable. Selling the games to a minor is sort of in effect to a certain extent due to an adult needed to pay for the product.

The other part is how the content will be interpreted if passed. The ESRB system might have to be revised to accommodate and developers will have to unfortunately compromise in their current project in attempt to make dough for another future lawfully-gimped project.
 
Since games can be released for multiple countries, the passing can persuade players who want the full house of oozing gore might have to import. That can lead to more trouble unfortunately and so on.
 
But hell, we will just have to wait...
 

Posted by Czarpyotr

@Atary77 said:

As long as we have movies out there like Saw and Hostel ,any argument to say that video games are that much worse than film is bullcrap.

Fucking-A. This stuff really pisses me off.

Posted by Rhythm

Interesting to see how it happens over in the States. We (in the UK) have no rules covering book or music sales to minors but videogames and films are governed by the BBFC, with violent/sweary films and games being rated 15 or 18 depending on the severity. It's illegal to sell them to anyone under the posted age but they're happily sold alongside everything else in the supermarkets or game specialist stores. When it comes to TV, sexual/violent content is only allowed to be shown after the "watershed", 9PM.

We have the odd weird incident like the case with Human Centipede 2 or Manhunt 2 but on the whole we've got a pretty open, understanding and non-liberty-infringing system. That said, hardcore sex content is only available in specialist outlets here and I could see why violent games being classified as only suitable for selling alongside porn could be concerning.

Mind you, not being able to sell porn in mainstream stores has hardly done much harm to either:

a- the film industry

b- the porn industry

Posted by shinigami420

AHHH America the country that hate games the most

Posted by FunnerGod

I think the only way that this could possibly go in favor of the State of California is if the Supreme Court is under the impression that mostly kids purchase and play video games, which isn't the case. I'm sure representatives for the EMA will have made user statistics painfully clear, as well as point out that most video game retailers have self-enacted rules about selling M rated games to minors, but that doesn't guarantee anything.

On a side note, thanks Patrick for killing it on the journalism front. Hiring Patrick was the best thing GiantBomb has done since, well, its creation.

Posted by YukoAsho
@joeshadows said:
You're not supposed to sell tickets to R-rated movies to minors, either. How would this be any different from that?
The R-rating ticket thing is also voluntary.  There's no law against it.
Posted by Twazuk

@Rhythm: To be fair to the censors, Human Centipede 2 does sound pretty bad.

Both in content and quality, so no real harm done there.

Posted by Subjugation

TIL video games can be compared to porn.

Edited by MattyFTM

I'm in two minds about this whole thing. On one hand, I fully support it being illegal to sell violent media to children & I think it's dumb that the first amendment protects against this sort of law. Outright banning violent media would be stupid, but taking steps to ensure it doesn't get into the hands of minors is just common sense. On the other, it's very dumb to single out video games and ignore other types of media that contain violence. Either way, it doesn't affect me since I don't live in the US, but it'll be very interesting to see how this unfolds.

Moderator
Posted by PillClinton

So minors won't be able to buy stuff made for adults, ok.

Posted by Krampus

I had hoped this had fizzeled out by now.  If this goes through then this will ultimately  affect every where in the world, not just the States.  Really this is just a big waste of people's time and efforts, instead of focusing on something like creating more jobs for our economy and, God forbid, actually help the poor, the government makes the best use of its time looking to " protect" the young impressionable chillins of today from the big bad pixel monsters that can be shut of with the press of a button.  I understand how games could be considered different than movies or music, especially first person shooters (my preferred genre), but to my knowledge this has had not effect on how many young people grow up to be murderers.  But in lieu of the American spirit I think it is good that we keep breaking shit for the hell of it and then break it again.

Posted by mnzy
@100_Hertz said:

So minors won't be able to buy stuff made for adults, ok.

If it works out like that, nobody would have a problem with it.
I'm from a country where this is handled pretty strictly and I can tell you that it probably won't.
Posted by SteamPunkJin

Why does anyone care? Seems to me that kids shouldn't be buying these games anyway (we are talking about the M-Rated ones here) and that everyone over 18 is still entitled to their gore-porn. 
 
I'm all for free speech but this is no different from R-rated tickets, CDs with a Parental Advisory sticker, or buying smokes/drinks, there are supposed to be fines and consequences for distributing these things to minors.

Edited by Nate_is_my_fake_name

So what are the penalties for selling violent or explicit movies, books, or music to minors?  Whatever that penalty is, it should be the same for games.
 
I've actually been carded in a Gamestop before.  And according to this (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/04/violentkidsent.shtm), it seems mature games are the most difficult form of media for underage kids to buy.  "Thirteen percent of underage teenage shoppers were able to buy M-rated video games, a statistically significant improvement from the 20 percent purchase rate in 2009."
 
Yeah, those violent fucking games, man.  Worst thing since drugs.

Posted by HotJohnson

No matter what laws congress decides to enact, it's really irrelevant when it comes down to the consumer. Yes games will have to come with some stupid sticker on them and huge franchises like gamestop will harass kids under the age of 18 even more frequently than they already do about ID, but will it prevent kids from getting a hold of  objectionable material? No.

Posted by m0rdr3d
@shinigami420 said:

               

AHHH America the country that hate games the most


            
Haha. Might wanna check the ol' ban statistics of other nations such as Australia and Germany and pretty much any other major nation in the world.