Lawmakers OK Control of Video Game Sales
SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers have approved a bill that would ban the sale of violent video game to minors, but Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not yet taken a position on the legislation, his office said on Friday.
The bill would end the sale and rental of violent games to minors that depict serious injury which is determined to be especially heinous, atrocious or cruel. It also calls for $1,000 fines for violators and requires violent video games to be labeled.
The Democratic-controlled legislature approved the measure late on Thursday, but the governor’s office said the actor- turned-politician — whose Hollywood film career includes violent movies — has not taken a position on the bill.
Assembly Democrat Leland Yee, who sponsored the legislation, noted U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has introduced nearly identical legislation at the federal level.
He also accused the Entertainment Software Ratings Board of having a conflict of interest in rating video games, saying the group received its funding from video game makers.
“Unlike movies where you passively watch violence, in video game, you are the active participant and making decision on who to stab, maim, burn or kill,” Yee said in a statement. “As a result, these games serve as learning tools that have a dramatic impact on our children.”
The $10-billion video game industry has bitterly contested the bill. Game developers and console makers say laws restricting game sales are unnecessary because their industry already has safeguards to prevent minors from buying “Mature”-rated games.
The debate over video game content grew more heated in July when game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. was forced to pull a blockbuster game from retailers because of hidden sex scenes.
The controversy over the best-selling game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” prompted calls in the U.S. Congress for a crackdown on the sales of violent and sex-laden games to minors.