While many are staying at home and escaping into virtual worlds, it's natural to discuss what's going on in the physical world. But Nintendo is shutting down those conversations with its latest Switch system update (Sep. 14, 2020) by adding new terms
like COVID, coronavirus and ACAB to its censorship list for usernames, in-game messages, and search terms for in-game custom designs (but not the designs themselves).
While we understand the urge to prevent abuse and
misinformation about COVID-19, censoring certain strings of characters is a blunderbuss approach unlikely to substantially improve the conversation. As an initial matter, it is easily circumvented: while our testing, shown above, confirmed that Nintendo
censored coronavirus, COVID and ACAB, but does not restrict substitutes like c0vid or a.c.a.b., nor corona and virus, when written individually.
More importantly, it's a bad idea, because these terms can be part of important
conversations about politics or public health. Video games are not just for gaming and escapism, but are part of the fabric of our lives as a platform for political speech and expression. As the world went into pandemic lockdown, Hong Kong democracy
activists took to Nintendo's hit Animal Crossing to keep their pro-democracy protest going online (and Animal Crossing was banned in China shortly after). Just as many Black Lives Matter protests took to the streets, other protesters voiced their support
in-game. Earlier this month, the Biden campaign introduced Animal Crossing yard signs which other players can download and place in front of their in-game home. EFF is part of this too204you can show your support for EFF with in-game hoodies and hats.
in-game campaign event. But it has not expanded this blanket ban to the Terms for Nintendo of America or Nintendo of Europe.
Nintendo has the right to host the platform as it sees fit. But just because they can do this, doesn't
mean they should. Nintendo needs to also recognize that it has provided a platform for political and social expression, and allow people to use words that are part of important conversations about our world, whether about the pandemic, protests against
police violence, or democracy in Hong Kong.
In 2019, the High Court of England and Wales ruled that by offering an index of non UK-based or unlicensed radio stations to UK residents, radio aggregator service TuneIn breached copyright.
In response the service has now geo-blocked thousands of
stations leaving UK customers without their favorite sounds. Unless they use a VPN, then it's business as usual.
TuneIn is one of the most prominent providers of radio content in the world. Available for free or on a premium basis, its site and
associated app provide access to more than 100,000 stations and podcasts. Unless you happen to live in the UK, which is now dramatically underserved by the company. Sued by Labels in the UK For Mass Copyright Infringement
In 2017, Sony Music
Entertainment and Warner Music Group sued the US-based radio index in the High Court of England and Wales, alleging that the provision of links to stations unlicensed in the UK represented a breach of copyright.
One of the most interesting aspects
of the case is that TuneIn is marketed as an audio guide service, which means that it indexes stations that are already freely available on the web and curates them so that listeners can more easily find them.
When stations are more easily found,
more people listen to them, which means that TuneIn arguably boosts the market overall. Nevertheless, the labels claimed this was illegal and detrimental to the music industry in the UK on licensing grounds.
In response to the apparent decimation
of its offering, TuneIn took to Twitter to address the complaints:
Due to a court ruling in the United Kingdom, we will be restricting international stations to prohibit their availability in the UK, with limited
exceptions. We apologize for the inconvenience, the company wrote.
India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government has banned 118 mobile apps including PUBG Mobile.
This is the third wave of the ban after the government previously banned Chinese apps like TikTok and others in the first two
waves that were announced in June and July respectively.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said:
....in view of the emergent nature of threats has
decided to block 118 mobile apps since in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order.
friction between India and China over border disputes is coupled with the realisation that many Chinese apps are snooping on Indian users and relaying sensitive user data back to base.
The banned apps are:
1. APUS Launcher Pro- Theme, Live
Wallpapers, Smart 2. APUS Launcher -Theme, Call Show, Wallpaper, HideApps 3. APUS Security -Antivirus, Phone security, Cleaner 4. APUS Turbo Cleaner 2020- Junk Cleaner, Anti-Virus 5. APUS Flashlight-Free & Bright 6. Cut Cut -- Cut
Out & Photo Background Editor 7. Baidu 8. Baidu Express Edition 9. FaceU - Inspire your Beauty 10. ShareSave by Xiaomi: Latest gadgets, amazing deals 11. CamCard - Business Card Reader 12. CamCard Business 13. CamCard for
Salesforce 14. CamOCR 15. InNote 16. VooV Meeting - Tencent Video Conferencing 17. Super Clean - Master of Cleaner, Phone Booster 18. WeChat reading 19. Government WeChat 20. Small Q brush 21. Tencent Weiyun 22. Pitu
23. WeChat Work 24. Cyber Hunter 25. Cyber Hunter Lite 26. Knives Out-No rules, just fight! 27. Super Mecha Champions 28. LifeAfter 29. Dawn of Isles 30. Ludo World-Ludo Superstar 31. Chess Rush 32. PUBG MOBILE
Nordic Map: Livik 33. PUBG MOBILE LITE 34. Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade 35. Art of Conquest: Dark Horizon 36. Dank Tanks 37. Warpath 38. Game of Sultans 39. Gallery Vault - Hide Pictures And Videos 40. Smart AppLock (App
Protect) 41. Message Lock (SMS Lock)-Gallery Vault Developer Team 42. Hide App-Hide Application Icon 43. AppLock 44. AppLock Lite 45. Dual Space - Multiple Accounts & App Cloner 46. ZAKZAK Pro - Live chat & video chat
online 47. ZAKZAK LIVE: live-streaming & video chat app 48. Music - Mp3 Player 49. Music Player - Audio Player & 10 Bands Equalizer 50. HD Camera Selfie Beauty Camera 51. Cleaner - Phone Booster 52. Web Browser & Fast
Explorer 53. Video Player All Format for Android 54. Photo Gallery HD & Editor 55. Photo Gallery & Album 56. Music Player - Bass Booster - Free Download 57. HD Camera - Beauty Cam with Filters & Panorama 58. HD Camera
Pro & Selfie Camera 59. Music Player - MP3 Player & 10 Bands Equalizer 60. Gallery HD 61. Web Browser - Fast, Privacy & Light Web Explorer 62. Web Browser - Secure Explorer 63. Music player - Audio Player 64. Video
Player - All Format HD Video Player 65. Lamour Love All Over The World 66. Amour- video chat & call all over the world. 67. MV Master - Make Your Status Video & Community 68. MV Master - Best Video Maker & Photo Video Editor
69. APUS Message Center-Intelligent management 70. LivU Meet new people & Video chat with strangers 71. Carrom Friends : Carrom Board & Pool Game- 72. Ludo All Star- Play Online Ludo Game & Board Games 73. Bike Racing :
Moto Traffic Rider Bike Racing Games 74. Rangers Of Oblivion : Online Action MMO RPG Game 75. Z Camera - Photo Editor, Beauty Selfie, Collage 76. GO SMS Pro - Messenger, Free Themes, Emoji 77. U-Dictionary: Oxford Dictionary Free Now
Translate 78. Ulike - Define your selfie in trendy style 79. Tantan - Date For Real 80. MICO Chat: New Friends Banaen aur Live Chat karen 81. Kitty Live - Live Streaming & Video Live Chat 82. Malay Social Dating App to Date &
Meet Singles 83. Alipay 84. AlipayHK 85. Mobile Taobao 86. Youku 87. Road of Kings- Endless Glory 88. Sina News 89. Netease News 90. Penguin FM 91. Murderous Pursuits 92. Tencent Watchlist (Tencent Technology 93. Learn Chinese AI-Super Chinese
94. HUYA LIVE -- Game Live Stream 95. Little Q Album 96. Fighting Landlords - Free and happy Fighting Landlords 97. Hi Meitu 98. Mobile Legends: Pocket 99. VPN for TikTok 100. VPN for TikTok 101. Penguin E-sports Live
assistant 102. Buy Cars-offer everything you need, special offers and low prices 103. iPick 104. Beauty Camera Plus - Sweet Camera & Face Selfie 105. Parallel Space Lite - Dual App 106. "Chief Almighty: First Thunder BC 107. MARVEL Super War NetEase Games
108. AFK Arena 109. Creative Destruction NetEase Games 110. Crusaders of Light NetEase Games 111. Mafia City Yotta Games 112. Onmyoji NetEase Games 113. Ride Out Heroes NetEase Games 114. Yimeng Jianghu-Chu Liuxiang has been
fully upgraded 115. Legend: Rising Empire NetEase Games 116. Arena of Valor: 5v5 Arena Games 117. Soul Hunters 118. Rules of Survival
Violent video game engagement is not associated with adolescents' aggressive behaviour: evidence from a registered report
By Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein
In this study, we investigated the extent to which adolescents who spend time playing violent video games exhibit higher levels of aggressive behaviour when compared with those who do not. A large sample of British adolescent
participants (n = 1004) aged 14 and 15 years and an equal number of their carers were interviewed.
Young people provided reports of their recent gaming experiences. Further, the violent contents of these games were coded using
official EU and US ratings, and carers provided evaluations of their adolescents' aggressive behaviours in the past month.
Following a preregistered analysis plan, multiple regression analyses tested the hypothesis that recent
violent game play is linearly and positively related to carer assessments of aggressive behaviour.
Results did not support this prediction, nor did they support the idea that the relationship between these factors follows a
nonlinear parabolic function. There was no evidence for a critical tipping point relating violent game engagement to aggressive behaviour. Sensitivity and exploratory analyses indicated these null effects extended across multiple operationalizations of
violent game engagement and when the focus was on another behavioural outcome, namely, prosocial behaviour.
The discussion presents an interpretation of this pattern of effects in terms of both the ongoing scientific and policy
debates around violent video games, and emerging standards for robust evidence-based policy concerning young people's technology use.
Apple and Google impose extortionate fees of 30% just for listing games and apps in the app stores. And what's more they demand the same cut for any in-game purchases made by players throughout the life of the game.
Epic Games, the company
behind Fortnite, tried to evade the extortionate fees on the in-game purchases by allowing gamers to purchase directly from Epic rather than via Apple/Google.
Google and Apple responded by banning Fortnite from their stores.
Fortnite is challenging Apple and Google in court and produced an excellent short video likening the internet giants to 1984's Big Brother.
The Chinese government has begun rolling out its real-name identification system for video games nationwide, while also removing over 15,000 unlicensed games from the Chinese App store.
The law includes the extension of an existing social media
real-name requirement, where everybody has to provide a form of valid identity information. Both Tencent and NetEase reportedly begun using their own verification systems.
The authentication system aims to be rolled out in September.
Chinese developers were further compounded by 15,000 unlicensed games being removed from the Chinese App Store since July 1st, in preparation of an August 1st deadline. This was due to those games lacking permission from the Chinese National Press and Publication Administration.
One of the drivers behind the latest moves is that in-game messaging and voice systems in more obscure have enabled people to evade the country's repressive censorship stranglehold on communications.
Blood and Guts Bundle is a 2020 trilogy of arena fight games from Digerati
The Blood and Guts Bundle for Nintendo Switch has been banned in Australia under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. Decision
was in March, but has only recently been added to the National Classification Database.
The automated system is pretty much a random rating generator, so perhaps the delay is down to going back to the old manual way of rating games.
US the game is M (17) rated by the ESRB for blood and gore, use of drugs, violence.
The Promotional Material gives a flavour of the game:
Satisfy your lust for carnage with three gloriously gratuitous games!
This bundle contains:
Slain: Back from Hell . A heavy metal inspired arcade combat game with stunning pixel art visuals, challenging old school gameplay and gore galore. Plus the most metal soundtrack you've ever heard!
Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut : A killer puzzle game and darkly comic homage to 80s horror movies where you control Skullface, a homicidal slasher hell-bent on revenge.
Super Blood Hockey : Arcade
sports gaming gets a shot of adrenaline in this violent homage to classic 8- and 16-bit ice hockey games. Use fast-paced skills and bone-crunching brutality to dominate.
The House of Lords Gambling Committee claims that video game loot boxes should be regulated under gambling laws.
The Lords claim that loot boxes they should be classified as games of chance - which would bring them under the Gambling Act 2005. If a
product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling, their report says. And they warn that such a change should not wait.
In reality the regulation of gambling is an entirely different kettle of fish that is
about adult entertainment and significant levels of moeny being lost. Surely the monetising of games throught loot boxes would be better dealt with by those with expertise in child psychology.
Ex BBC boss Michael Grade, chairman of the committee,
told BBC Breakfast that lots of other countries have already started to regulate loot boxes because they can see the dangers which is teaching kids to gamble. He said the Gambling Act was way behind what was actually happening in the market but he added
that the overwhelming majority of the report's recommendations could be enacted today as they don't require legislation.
Gambling Harms: Time for Action Report: Key recommendations
Committee sets out a range of recommendations across different areas to reduce gambling-related harm.
The gambling industry offers a variety of products to consumers, including some which can be highly addictive. The Gambling Commission should create a system for testing all new games against a series of harm indicators,
including their addictiveness and whether they will appeal to children. A game which scores too highly on the harm indicators must not be approved.
The equalisation of speed of play and spin, so that no game can be
played quicker online than in a casino, bookmaker or bingo hall.
The Gambling Commission must explain the minimum steps which operators should take when considering customer affordability, and make clear that it is
for the operator to take the steps which will enable them to identify customers who are betting more than they can afford.
The creation of a statutory independent Gambling Ombudsman Service, modelled on the Financial
Ombudsman Service, to settle disputes between gambling operators and gamblers.
The Government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation.
Gambling operators should no longer be allowed to advertise on the shirts of sports teams or any other visible part of their kit. There should also be no gambling advertising in or near any sports grounds or sports venues.
Problem gambling is a common mental health disorder, and the NHS has the same duty to treat it as to treat any other disorder. Last year the NHS promised to open 15 new clinics. It should do this before 2023 and establish a
comparable number within the following few years.