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 2013: Jan-March

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 Offsite Article: Effort to Censor Violent Media Peters Out...


Melonfarmers.co.uk
Link Here 30th March 2013  full story: Newtown School Killings...Gun lobby vs violent media
US Senate Lawmakers reactions to the Newtown shooting have largely faded away, just leaving a bill commissioning state sponsored research into media violence

See article from usnews.com

 

  Moderate Speculation...

Games console is the first to allow 'moderate' porn


Melon Farmers
Link Here 29th March 2013

OUYA Console The new OUYA Android-powered gaming console due out this June could be the first system that allows porn.

Engadget reported that company CEO Julie Uhrman wants a quick approval process for games that will screen for intellectual property infringement, malware and excessive pornography.

But according to Gaming Blend, that leaves a loophole for developers to create moderate porn --- a first for the gaming world:

This is probably the first game console where the approval process allows for moderate porn. Heck, it's the first time I've heard of an approval process for a game console that even says porn is okay so long as it isn't excessive.

 

  Growing Up...

Nintendo ends its ludicrous 11pm internet watershed on content related to 18 rated games


Link Here 22nd March 2013

Nintendo Wii 32GB Premium Pack A while ago the internet ship for the Wii U console introduced a ludicrous TV like watershed on 18+ rated content. Access was only allowed after 11pm.

The restrictions were something to do with Nintendo of Europe being based in censorial Germany.

Well those silly restrictions have now been removed much to the delight of our Wii U owning brothers and sisters in various regions throughout Europe including the UK, according to Daily Joypad .

 

  Green Policies...

Green Band Trailers adopted by the US games rating body


Link Here 14th March 2013

esrb logoThe US Entertainment Software Ratings Board has implemented changes that will impact the way Mature-rated (17 rated) games are advertised on the Internet.

Most notably, video games marketing will be following the lead of film. Publishers now have an opportunity to produce and distribute trailers for Mature-rated games at a much larger general audience. As per green band trailers for movies, trailers suitable for all ages will have a green slate that airs before the trailer rolls, and is required be on-screen for at least four seconds.

Such green band trailers will not require an age gate on websites, but have to be approved by the ESRB prior to release. Green band trailers will also be allowed for in-game promotions in games with a lower rating.

This concession is not allowed for 18 rated, Adults Only games.

Another small change is that the ESRB will now allow promotional material to display both US ratings and international ratings such as PEGI. The previous prohibition had undesirably resulted in international promotional material being stripped of rating information entirely.

 

  White Metal...

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance censored in Japan


Link Here 10th March 2013

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance PS3 Computer game, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance , will be released uncensored in the US and UK in February 2013.

However Japanese gamers will have to put up with a censored version. An employee of developter Platinum Games confirmed in the official message board that the Japanese version will feature white blood instead of red for censorship reasons.

 

 Update: Addicted to Moralising...

Connecticut a morality tax of 10% on Mature Rated computer games


Link Here 10th March 2013  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

ConnecticutThe Escapist reports that Connecticut State Representative Debralee Hovey has introduced H.B. No. 5735, or an act establishing a sales tax on certain video games.

The bill would add a 10% tax in Connecticut on video games rated Mature by the ESRB, which would then be redirected to the State's department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

 

 Update: They Must be out of their Minds...

FBI profiler speaks out against blaming games for school shootings


Link Here 26th February 2013  full story: Newtown School Killings...Gun lobby vs violent media

FBI logo A former FBI-profiler and risk assessor has spoken out about perceived causal links between gaming and outbursts of violence, warning US viewers that trying to establish that connection is to ignore the true causes of tragedies like December's shootings at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut.

Having reported that perpetrator Adam Lanza had several games at his house when it was searched by investigators, TV company ABC broadcast a panel discussion about the issue.

Whilst various conservative and pro-gun lobbyists had laid the blame for Lanza's actions at the door of videogaming, former FBI analyst Mary Ellen O'Toole offered a different perspective:

It's my experience that video games do not cause violence. However, she continued, it is one of the risk variables when we do a threat assessment for the risk to act out violently.

It's important that I point out that as a threat assessment and as a former FBI profiler, we don't see these as the cause of violence, we see them as sources of fuelling ideation that's already there.

During the same discussion, Christopher Ferguson, a psychology professor at Texas A&M University, pointed out that rather than increasing as games have become more violent, youth violence has actually receded - although he claimed no causal connection there, either.

 

 Offsite Article: Daily Mail Play Tag the Blame...


Link Here 16th February 2013
rapeplay Schoolkids name tag variant as 'the raping game' for unknown reasons. But the Daily Mail soon pin the blame on a very old Japanese computer game that had an incredibly tiny niche interest anyway

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Game On...


Link Here 15th February 2013  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
R18+ banned The Australian state of Queensland eventually passes bill to allow sales of 18 rated games

See article from kotaku.com.au

 

 Offsite Article: Playing Silly Games in Queensland...


Link Here 13th February 2013  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
R18+ banned God Of War: Ascension Rated R18+, All Mention Of The Game Being Removed From Queensland Stores. State parliamentarians are dragging their heels in Australia's laggard state.

See article from kotaku.com.au

 

 Update: Outfoxed...

Senior US politician puts Fox News straight, pointing out that other countries with violent games are relatively safe, maybe because they have good gun laws


Link Here 11th February 2013  full story: Newtown School Killings...Gun lobby vs violent media

pelosi on games US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had a good debate against the Fox News argument that violent video games are responsible for mass shootings in the United States.

On Fox News Sunday , host Chris Wallace challenged Pelosi on this plan, saying she should instead simply go to her friends in Hollywood and shame them into action:

As part of your plan, you call for more scientific research on the connection between popular culture and violence. We don't need another study, respectfully. I mean, we know that these video games, where people have their heads splattered, these movies, these TV shows -- why don't you go to your friends in Hollywood and challenge them? Shame them, and say, 'Knock it off?'

Pelosi responded that Democrats wanted concrete scientific evidence in order to write the best legislation possible, and countered that Wallace's assumption about violence in the media could be incorrect:

I understand what you are saying, Pelosi said. I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother. But, they -- not Hollywood, but the evidence -- says that, in Japan, for example, they have the most violent games and the lowest death -- mortality -- from guns. I don't know what the explanation is for that except they may have good gun laws.

When looking at the other largest video game markets around the world, there appears to be no statistical correlation between video game consumption and gun-related killings. Max Fisher at the Washington Post recently examined some of this data and found that:

countries where video games are popular also tend to be some of the world's safest (probably because these countries are stable and developed, not because they have video games).

 

 Update: Games Still in the Firing Line...

US senator introduces a bill to ban under 18s from playing shoot 'em up games in amusement arcades


Link Here 7th February 2013  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

US Senate Connecticut State Senator Toni Nathaniel Harp has introduced a bill, SB No. 328, An Act Concerning Minors and Violent Point-and-shoot video Games .

The proposed bill aims to prevent minors (under 18s) from using violent point-and-shoot video games in public arcades. The bill does not address what ratings these games might have (would it prohibit the use of games by minor even if they are rated Teen by the ESRB) or what the penalty for operators or businesses that violate the statue.

 

 Offsite Article: Blame Game: Video Games, Violence and Consequences...


Link Here 1st February 2013
As we all know every act of inhumane and sociopathic violence throughout history has been caused by violent video games. Disputing this point is futile. Violent video games cause violence. By Curtis Silver

See article from wired.com

 

  Pakistan Recommends...

Video games Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops II


Link Here 23rd January 2013

Medal of Honor Warfighter PS3 Pakistani shopkeepers are boycotting two new video games which they say portray the country as a failed state, riddled with terrorism and where security forces are in league with al-Qaeda.

Both Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops II are first-person shooter games, where players take on the persona of an American special forces agent and feature ultra realistic graphics.

Saleem Memon, president of the All Pakistan CD, DVD, Audio Casette Traders and Manufacturers Association, said he had written to members ordering them not to stock the controversial games after receiving dozens of complaints. He said:

The problem is that there are things that are against Pakistan and they have included criticism of our army.

They show the country in a very poor light.

These games show a misleading idea of what is happening in the city. You don't get the CIA all the way through Grand Theft Auto.

Although shops in all of Pakistan's major cities have been told of the boycott, the game was still available in shops. One shopkeeper said:

These sorts of games are my most popular. The nationalists and the religious ones don't like them but I'm not going to stop selling them.

 

 Update: Game Winning Strategy...

US government wisely decides that gun control should be the focus of efforts to prevent further shooting rampages


Link Here 17th January 2013  full story: Newtown School Killings...Gun lobby vs violent media

Barack Obama For the past month, the US focus on gun control laws has been unprecedented.

Vice President Joe Biden was assigned the task of meeting with various powers that be to discuss what can be done to reform our gun laws. One of those entities was a conglomerate of representatives from the video game industry. What Mr. Biden took away from those meetings, however, may or may not surprise you.

After reviewing the Vice President's findings, United States President Barack Obama signed a twenty-three point executive order for Congress to act upon and address the issue. Nowhere in the order does it propose any changes which need to be made to video games in this country. Just sensible measures like banning assault weaponry.

Study

However the games industry has not got off entirely unscathed. President Barack Obama called on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to conduct a study on whether there is a correlation between gun violence and violent video games and other forms of media.

Video Game Labelling Bill

GamePolitics has also learned that a new video game labeling bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Jim Matheson has introduced bill HR 287, which would require ratings label on video games and prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors.

 

 Update: Games Blamed for Driving Players Barmy...

Missouri lawmaker proposes tax on violent video games to fund mental health programs


Link Here 16th January 2013

Missouri state seal A Republican lawmaker from Missouri bucked has called for a sales tax on violent video games in response to the recent school shooting.

Representative Diane Franklin said a proposed 1% sales tax would help pay for mental health programs and law enforcement measures aimed at preventing mass shootings. The tax would be levied on video games rated teen, mature and adult-only by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Franklin explained that: History shows there is a mental health component to these shootings. She added that she hopes her bill will start a discussion on the relationship between violent games and mental illness.

Update: Withdrawn

4th June 2013. See  article from  gamepolitics.com

It turns out that the bill was quietly withdrawn by Franklin in March, without comment. At least that's what it says about the bill here . Perhaps some of her colleagues dissuaded her from moving forward, or perhaps she realized that it wasn't a very good idea to begin with. Either way, the citizens of the great state of Missouri can be happy in knowing that they won't be paying any extra taxes on their entertainment.

 

  Nutter Baiting Zombie Bait...

Armless fun over a collector's edition of the video game Dead Island Riptide


Link Here 16th January 2013

Dead Island Riptide Zombie Bait Following a nutter storm, game publisher Deep Silver has apologized for the humorously tasteless zombie torso statue that they planned to include in a Zombie Bait collector's edition for the video game Dead Island Riptide.

Deep Silver posted the apology on Twitter:

We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide Zombie Bait Edition , the collector's edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector's Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.

We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver's entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.

 

 Offsite Article: Guns and Games...


Link Here 14th January 2013  full story: Newtown School Killings...Gun lobby vs violent media
A long article about Joe Biden's meetings with media and games industries, but not revealing much about what was said

See article from variety.com

 

 Updated: Assassinated by Censors...

Germany bans Ninja Gaiden 3 video game


Link Here 13th January 2013

Ninja Gaiden Razors Edge Nintendo While adult Australian gamers get to enjoy the latest Ninja Gaiden game thanks to the country's new R18+ rating, it seems that German gamers won't be so lucky.

The German language site Nintendo-Online seems to be saying that the German game censors of the USK have banned Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge for the Wii U.

Update: Maybe not officially banned

13th January 2013. Thanks to Sadi

The German Nintendo site mentions that the USK possibly refused classification, but it is not very clear on that. The news is written inconclusively, leaving open the more likely possibility that the distributors didn't actually submit the game to the USK.

Note that the USK can't ban anything, only a judge can. So it seems more likely that Ninja Gaiden Wii U game was not banned in Germany, it is just not being distributed. Presumably the distributors think that the a ban would be inevitable anyway, and it wouldn't be worth the effort trying.

 

  Protecting the Innocent...

Far Cry 3 censored for its Japanese release


Link Here 12th January 2013

Far Cry 3 Xbox 360 Far Cry 3 is suffering censor cuts for its Japanese release.

According to Ubisoft (via website 4Gamer) the cuts for the Japanese language version are:

  • Wounded corpses have been censored
  • A sex scene has been edited
  • Depictions of open wounds have been edited
  • Killing 3 civilians in succession now results in a game over penalty, compared with about 5 in western versions

 

  Is Video Game Violence a 'Big' or a 'Small' Problem?...

US nutters survey parents then add the 2 figures together to find that nearly all agree it is 'a' problem


Link Here 12th January 2013

Square Enix Hitman Absolution PS3 Common Sense Media and the Center for American Progress commissioned SurveyUSA to conduct a nationwide survey of parents who have a child under age 18 living at home.

1,050 parents were interviewed 01/04/13 and 01/05/13.

Results:

  • 89% of parents nationwide say violence in today's video games is a problem. (albeit 44% from this total said it was only a minor problem).
     
  • 75% of parents say shielding children from violence is difficult.

All parents were shown video of an advertisement for the video game Hitman: Absolution . 84% say the advertisement is inappropriate to show on TV at a time when children are watching.

Parents were also shown a video of an advertisement for the movie Gangster Squad . 63% of parents say the advertisement is inappropriate to show on TV at a time when children are watching.

 

 Update: Still Lives Remaining...

Senator Jay Rockefeller to resubmit bill calling for research into video game violence


Link Here 11th January 2013  full story: Newtown School Killings...Gun lobby vs violent media

US Senate A bill introduced in Congress last year calling for a study into the effects of violent video games and other content on children, died when the 112th session ended on January 2.

But the bill's author, senator Jay Rockefeller, plans to reintroduce that bill during this session, likely by the end of the month, a staffer at the senator's office tells Polygon.

The will call for the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to jointly undertake the study with the help of the National Academy of Sciences and will investigate:

  • Whether there is a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children.
  • Whether there is a connection between exposure to violent video programming and harmful effects on children.

The results of the study would be due to Congress, the FTC and the FCC within 18 months.

If passed, this would mark the eighth such study conducted by the FTC since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. None of those found any link between violent video games and violence in children.

 

 Update: For Emphasis on Blood Effects...

Australian games censors pass their first 18 rated video game


Link Here 11th January 2013

Ninja Gaiden Razors Edge Nintendo Australia's Classification Board has announced the first video game to receive the new R18+ classification which came into effect at the start of 2013. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge , developed by Team Ninja, is published by Nintendo for the company's new Wii U console.

Lesley O'Brien, director of the Classification Board, said:

Under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, R 18+ computer games will have a high impact and it is for this reason that these games are not suitable for under 18s.

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge contains violence that is high in impact because of its frequency, high definition graphics, and emphasis on blood effects.

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association welcomed the Classification Board's announcement. CEO, Ron Curry said:

The classification guidelines for video games are now more closely aligned with the guidelines for film and TV which makes it easier for parents to make informed decisions about the interactive content they choose to buy and play.

In the US the game is classified as Mature (a 17 rating) and in Europe it is rated as PEGI 18.

 

 Updated: Our Souls...

Connecticut town asks that people trash their violent computer games


Link Here 10th January 2013

southington sos logo A Nutter group from Southington in Connecticut is holding a violent video game return program in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last month.

SouthingtonSOS said it will host the event on Jan. 12. The town of Southington will have a trash bin there for the collection of the games, and anyone returning games will be offered a gift certificate donated by a member of the Southington Chamber of Commerce as a token of appreciation.

The Board of Education said it sent out information electronically about the event last week to Southington residents.

Nutters of SouthingtonSOS said the group's action is not intended to be construed as a statement declaring that violent video games were the cause of school shooting ...BUT... said:

There is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying.

Update: Games burning event called off

10th January 2013. See  article from  gamepolitics.com

In the days following the announcement of the program some experts were critical of the idea; the parenting editor at Common Sense Media likened the collection and destruction of video games to censorship, and Texas A&M International University researcher Christopher J. Ferguson wrote the group warning them that their efforts might cause more harm than good. Many editorial writers and advocates saw the buyback program as the equivalent of an old time book burning.

With all that pressure, the group decided that they would not host the Buyback program after all this week, but a spokesperson for the community organization called their efforts successful because it raised awareness about violent media, reports Polygon.

 

 Update: Real World Censorship...

Apple bans Endgame: Syria as it doesn't like games set in the real world


Link Here 8th January 2013  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

endgame syria A game that explores the Syrian civil war, Endgame: Syria , has been rejected by Apple due to App Store guidelines forbidding games that solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity .

Apple say that Endgame:Syria, which explores a real news event and aims to show users the range of factions and peoples involved in the situation, fell into this category and so was rejected.

The game's designer, Tomas Rawlings responded:

This decision is a shame really as it makes it hard to talk about the real world. Our aim is to use games as a format to bring news to a new audience and submission processes such as this do make it a lot harder for us.

We'll be making changes to the game and re-submitting it but it does mean we'll have to strip some of the meaning and context from it to pass Apple's submission process and that is not ideal.

 

  In the Absence of Gun Licensing We'll Censor Video Games...

Philippines MP looks to impose video game censorship in a bid to end gun crime


Link Here 7th January 2013

Philippines flag A Philippines MP has urged local executives to immediately enforce classifications for video games that are sold in stores or played in gaming arcades as she claims many of them promote violence or sexual promiscuity.

Bernadette Herrera-Dy said that currently there is no specific government agency that classifies video games. She said the age and content ratings being set by the US Entertainment Software Rating Board on video games are not legally binding in the Philippines.

Herrera-Dy issued the call in the wake of gun-related violence in the country with the Caloocan City and Cavite shootings resulting in the death of nine persons, including two children. She warned that violent video games are readily available to minors in their homes and in gaming arcades, and are easily accessed from various websites.

Herrera-Dy said that under her proposal, local governments must impose a classification system for access to video game CDs sold in stores or those played in mall fun centres and Internet shops. She said the classification ratings used by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board could be re-used for video and Internet games.

She vowed to file several anti-gun control and violence prevention measures such as the video game classification standards, believing that strong public support may give these proposals a good chance of being passed into law before the closing of the 15th Congress in June. she spouted further:

In the absence of national laws that would ensure stringent gun licensing regulations and violence prevention measures, local government units may step in because they are capable of taking quick and determined steps to protect their constituents from a culture of violence that has slowly crept into our communities.

Herrera-Dy admitted that there is no direct connection between video games and the incidence of firearm violence :

..BUT.. this should not deter local and national legislative bodies to pass laws against video game violence, most of which are even more brutal and ruthless than those committed in real life.

 

 Offsite Article: Playing 20 Questions...


Link Here 1st January 2013  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
R18+ is officially introduced in Australia today, but what does this mean for previously banned games? And what about the states that are yet to introduce the law?

See article from asia.gamespot.com