Irony reached new heights in the video game industry this week. On Monday CNBC published interviews with various game industry executives about the prospect of the Supreme Court curbing the sale of violent video games. "Nightmare," sums up most of their thoughts on the April decision by the court to review a California law that would prohibit the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.
Currently, the games industry is self-regulated through its association, the ESA. If the Supreme Court upholds the law, it would mean that certain games could have their sales restricted on a state by state basis, wreaking havoc on a game's ability to be sold at huge retailers like Wal-Mart, and essentially decimating a violent game's chance to succeed. Since a significant portion of the industry's best selling triple A console titles are loaded with violence, it could mean a huge drop in profits for major game publishers.
Unfortunately, just as industry leaders decried the possible ruling, a juicy bit of game news was being flaunted. Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games' hit western epic announced with Gamespy that players clocked 131 million murders in two weeks of game play. That equates to 109 kills per second. While these two issues aren't the same, the timing is pretty uncanny. Knowing that the industry is facing government scrutiny for violence may not be the best time to issue a story that boasts the statistic, "15,072,596 Human Executions -- 15,000 times the number carried out in Southern States since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1975."
Does violence in video games equate to a desensitization of violence in the real world? There are thousands smarter than I who have an opinion (including, this fall, the justices of the Supreme Court). I do know one thing, however -- propagating violence through entertainment hasn't been a problem until recently for the governor of California, who happens to have signed this into law. I guess violence is okay by Arnold Schwarzenegger -- as long as he's the one pretending to do the killing.
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