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Activision squares up to Arnie

Ben Parfitt
Activision squares up to Arnie

A growing number of corporate giants from America’s leading entertainment industries have joined forces to fight a proposed law that would for the first time illegalise the sale of violent games to minors in the US.

Activision is amongst the growing number of voices arguing that the law, which was first proposed by Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, would violate the First Amendment.

“Creating a superfluous exception for video game content could corrupt the First Amendment to the point where the gates are opened to wide-ranging restrictions beyond entertainment software, extending to other entertainment content, such as books, films, television and music,” Activision said in a statement.

27 briefs have been filed with the US Supreme Court expressing concern about the proposals, arguing that the law would do nothing to further the current voluntary system of regulation that games retailers already abide by.

“Our First Amendment has survived intact for 219 years amid far greater technological, historical and social challenges,” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick stated.

“The argument that video games present some kind of new ominous threat that requires a wholesale reassessment of one of our nation's most treasured freedoms and to take that freedom away indiscriminately from an entire group of our population based on nothing but age is beyond absurd.

“These are the same attacks Americans have witnessed against every previous emerging entertainment medium and genre including books, comics, rock 'roll, movies, TV and the Internet. In each case, freedom prevailed. We are thrilled to be able to be an important part of this historic effort to protect our Constitution and to ensure that video games remain vibrant form of expression for every gamer in our constituency.

“Instead of tampering with the nation's Constitution and wasting taxpayers' money on setting forth unenforceable regulations during budgetary crisis, California could and should have adopted any number of measures and campaigns designed to ensure even higher rates of parental understanding of, and reliance on, the industry regulation system. Video game industry is a homegrown California economic success story providing thousands of highly paid skilled jobs at the time of economic crisis.”

Other bodies signed on to battle the law include the Entertainment Software Association, Microsoft, LucasArts, the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, the National Association of Broadcasters, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Radio-Television Digital News Association.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Schwarzenegger vs EMA, on November 2nd.

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Tags: Activision , video games , us , esa , law , lobbying , first amendment , schwarzenegger

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