A new bill, the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act, breaks down exactly how some legislation is planning to create tighter control on video game content with the ESRB.
Firstly, it will be illegal for any person to distribute, sell or rent, a video game which does not contain a rating label. Any store that sells video games will be required to clearly display information on the ESRB rating labels, and what those labels mean. Not too bad right? I mean shouldn’t this type of thing already be happening?
Here, however, is where I have somewhat of a problem:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or rent, or attempt to sell or rent— any video game containing a content rating of ‘Adults Only’ (as determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board) to any person under the age of 18; or any video game containing a content rating of ‘Mature’ (as determined by such Board) to any person under the age of 17.”
Now, I’m not a ravenous bloodthirsty gamer only out for the most violent or profane gaming ventures, but what is the point of even having an “Adult Only” game if adults are unable to play it?
As Joystiq mentions, the Supreme Court has already ruled on the nature of violent video games and the majority opinion is that “moral judgments about art and literature . . . are for the individual to make, not for the Government to decree, even with the mandate or approval of a majority.” Personally, I’m not saying that all Adult Only games are works of art or have messages that people need, but I am saying that we should have the choice to play it. Anybody remember the controversy over Manhunt 2?
Lastly, the bill states that anyone who is in violation of the prior regulations will be treated as deceptive practice and subjected to the enforcement of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and subjected to a minimum fine of $5,000.
What are your thoughts on the situation at hand? Is the ESRB already doing what they need to be? Is there blame that needs to be placed somewhere, or is it more about assuming responsibility? Sound off in the comments below!