New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to Signing

July 18, 2008 -

There is a good deal of buzz this week surrounding video game-oriented legislation passed overwhelmingly last month by the New York state legislature. New York Gov. David Paterson (left) must decide by July 23rd whether he will sign the bill into law or let it die.

In a story broken by GamePolitics on June 24th, we reported that the NY State Senate passed, by a 61-1 vote, Sen. Andrew Lanza's bill which:

  • requires that games carry a rating
  • requires games consoles to have parental controls
  • establishes a 16-member advisory council on media violence

While the various segments of the video game industry have taken no unified position to date, the Binghampton Press details opposition to the bill from some unusual corners.

Grover Nordquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, said:

This is a feel-good piece of legislation that really doesn't so anything.

GP: That's certainly true (see: NY Video Game Bill Barks, Doesn't Bite)

Robert Perry of the New York chapter of the ACLU, added:

This bill would have the state regulating constitutionally protected speech. The courts will not permit that.

GP: Since the bill doesn't restrict content or sales based on content, we're assuming that the ACLU's Perry is referring to the requirement that games be labeled with a rating, which they already are on a voluntary basis.

Derek Hunter of the Media Freedom Project said:

The bill is unnecessary. The video-game industry is praised as the best at policing itself. They have a great ratings system.

Adam Thierer, writing for the Tech Liberation Front, calls the bill "unnecessary, unworkable, and unconstitutional" in an open letter to Gov. Paterson.

Meanwhile, Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, has apparently issued an alert to IGDA members based in New York, calling upon them to contact the Guv in opposition to the bill.

The key piece of the puzzle will be whether the ESA decides to challenge the law's constitutionality. The game publishers' trade group, busy with E3 this week, has not said what it plans to do in that regard. Their most likely response will be to wait and see whether the Governor signs the bill into law. In the meantime they have urged VGVN members to write the Governor in opposition.

Comments made by the Entertainment Merchants Association, however, give the impression that video game retailers believe they can live with the law's provisions:

The bill is unnecessary and seeks to solve a problem that does not exist. But we do not anticipate that video game software retailers will have a problem complying with its requirements. (It is important to note that NY law already requires DVD packages to display the rating of the movie.)

 

Comments

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

 

Hey, I'm out of toilet paper. Where's the bill of rights?

Oh right, New York already used it.

So how about we pass a law stating that EVERY elected representative be forced to READ the constitution before swearing to uphold it?

 

Just leave it up to chance.

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

Its really disturbing when politicians think its good to pass legislation that contradicts are rights of freedom of speech. This undermines what we stand for and those responsible for this legislation should feel ashamed of themselves. They have no right for their own political gain! 

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

As someone inside the industry, I'm actually worried about provision #1 - say I'm making a small, indy game and don't have the clout or money to have the ESRB review it?  Does that ban me from distributing the game intra-state?  Can I slap a sticker on it: "The game has not been rated; buyer beware" and be good?

Good thing I live on the west-coast...

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

(It is important to note that NY law already requires DVD packages to display the rating of the movie.)

 

Sure, but it does not require the movie to have a rating. I see unrated versions of movies in the capital district walmarts all the time.

 

all this law does is create a council so someone gets paid to sit around and do nothing.

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

The bill is even more useless than GP's writeup suggests. The requirement that games display a rating is only for games which have actually received a rating.

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

As I said in the "Barks, Doesn't Bite" comments, the gaming industry and gamers should be opposed to this law, because it singles out video games for these restrictions.  The fact that games are already rated and consoles already have parental controls is totally irrelevant.

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

I'm hoping to introduce a bill which:

  • requires that people eat food
  • requires that people decide what they're going to eat
  • establishes a 16-member advisory council on what's for lunch

 

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

I'll do you a few better:

I'll make it mandatory that people:

Extract oxygen from the air when they breathe.

Actively engage in cell division.

Blink when their eyes are dry.

Age.

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

I'm guessing this is the Gov's way of a, "Hey look I'm doing something about video game violence by making a 16 member panel." Which really means he needed a way to help his campain finances, so he made a 16 new positions especially for those who "needed" jobs and benefited his cause.  It's that simple.

-Loudspeaker
"Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

"Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

Yeah, I hate laws that only make mandatory what people are already doing.

This is like making a law to require people to produce blood. They are doing it anyway, so why are we making it mandatory?

If I lived in NY, I would be all over trying to convince the Gov that this is useless.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

This is quite literally the most stupid law I've ever seen, and definatly the most useless. If I lived in New York, I'd definatly give the Guv a call/email

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

"requires that games carry a rating"

They do already, voluntarily, and quite informative if you can be bothered to find out what the symbols mean. And the numbers (some people will be that dim)

"requires games consoles to have parental controls"

All the current generation of consoles do already.

"establishes a 16-member advisory council on media violence"

Translation: 15 Jack Thompson disciples plus 1 token gamer with no nads.

 

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

lol how wierd!

I was literally coming on to post the EXACT same thing lol.

Already carry a rating, Already have parental controls..

so what exactly is this law trying to do.. i dont get what all teh money is being spent on...

Re: New York Video Game Law Heats Up as Guv Moves Closer to

16 useless people who couldn't be employed otherwise.

-Loudspeaker
"Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

"Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."
 
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PHX Corphttp://www.vg247.com/2015/07/03/psn-is-down-sony-investigating/ not again: PSN is down, Sony investigating07/03/2015 - 3:04pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/2015/07/03/digital-extremes-trespasser-keystone-pc/ if true, this is funny and embarrassing for Digital Extremes. companies need too have better security.07/03/2015 - 2:57pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-destiny-the-hardcore-gamers-slot-machine/2300-6425852/ this is very good, and well researched.07/03/2015 - 12:41pm
InfophileOther features to become standard: The ability to remap controls however the hell I want. Quicksave at any time (especially for handheld and mobile games). Plus everything Andrew said07/03/2015 - 10:43am
InfophileRegion-freeing becomes tricky for games with a strong online component though, especially when the servers are run by different branches in different regions.07/03/2015 - 10:41am
InfophileI'm in favor of getting rid of region-locking for any purchased games. I can understand an exception for free, ad-supported games, as many ads are only relevant in certain regions, and it's a ridiculous hassle to get ads for all regions.07/03/2015 - 10:40am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/payday-2-has-been-broken-on-xbox-one-for-three-weeks-1715384186 Payday 2 Has Been Broken On Xbox One For Three Weeks07/03/2015 - 8:44am
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/3bxduw/why_was_riama_along_with_a_number_of_other_large/ here is a more complete acount of whats going on.07/03/2015 - 1:32am
Matthew Wilsonredit is on fire right now. most subreddits have been set to private.07/03/2015 - 1:24am
MattsworknameYou know andrew, those are actualy rock solid ideas, I woudl like those features a bunch ,especially with games that a cut scene heavly. looking at you kojima!07/03/2015 - 1:18am
Andrew EisenActually, "things I'd like to see become standard in video games" ain't a bad idea for one of my future YouTube videos.07/03/2015 - 1:05am
Andrew EisenYou know what I'd really like to see become standard? The ability to pause cutscenes. Rewind and skip (with "Are you sure?") would be nice too. Oh, and maybe display the duration of the cutscene when it's paused.07/03/2015 - 1:03am
Mattsworknameonly reason to do region locking now is to be dicks your consumer base. Granted, we see that ALOT these days07/03/2015 - 12:48am
MattsworknameI understand the concerns about the region locking thing, I just thing that if you buy a game legitimately, no matter where it's from or what langauge it's in, you should be allowed to play it. the argument about piracy was proven false years ago, the07/03/2015 - 12:47am
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Goth_SkunkI'm in full agreement on the subtitles issue. I also believe that every game should come with a single-player component, and be playable without an internet connection. Except MMOs.07/02/2015 - 10:51pm
TechnogeekRegion locking bans seem like something that'll be very difficult to pass into law. I'm fully on board with the subtitle requirement, though.07/02/2015 - 10:00pm
MattsworknameFor example, all games with any for form of spoken dialoge should be i subtitled, and region locking in any form should be illegal07/02/2015 - 9:03pm
MattsworknameDoes anyone feel that there should be a set standard for all games in terms of certain basic features. Ie subtitles, region lock, etc07/02/2015 - 9:01pm
 

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