IGDA urges Biden not to censor games

Letter from game developer group to US VP Joe Biden says censoring games could prove disastrous, violent games can be part of the solution.

The International Game Developers Association today issued a statement to US Vice President Joe Biden urging him to steer clear of any action that could result in the censorship of video games. Biden will meet with leaders of the game industry this month in Washington, D.C. to discuss the role of violent games as part of a wider task force looking into the role of violent media in mass shootings.

Chairman of the IDGA's Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee Daniel Greenberg urged Biden to remember the US Government's widespread censorship of violent comic books in the 1950s. He said censoring these materials did not reduce juvenile delinquency or increase literacy, but rather it "decimated" the production of such reading materials.

The same situation might occur if Biden and his advisers decide to censor violent games, Greenberg said.

"Censoring video games could have similar unintended consequences that we cannot currently foresee," Greenberg said. "Ironically, comic books are now used as part of the solution to illiteracy, even by the government. It may seem counter-intuitive, but video games, even violent video games, could be part of the solution here, as well."

Elsewhere in his note to Biden, Greenberg said the IGDA welcomes additional evidence-based research into the effects of violent games on children. This is because he believes it will only add to the existing literature stating there is no causal link between virtual violent and real-world violence.

Greenberg further implored Biden to research the benefits of violent video games, noting some studies have shown exposure to violent gameplay helps release stress and aggression before it can lead to real-world violence.

"The IGDA supports good research and we ask for more science, not less," Greenberg said.

Greenberg also noted that games, including violent games, have evolved to a point such that they now feature "richer, deeper" meanings than ever before. Greenberg pointed out that some contemporary violent games have non-violent options and solutions, which are based on problem solving and player creativity. Other games, he said, offer rewards for mercy and compassion, while still others feature interactive storylines that enable players to experiences the consequences of their actions.

"The government can help this process by supporting this unique, cutting-edge research into harnessing the power of video games to help solve our nation’s problem with violence," he said. "Our hearts go out to the victims and survivors of mass shootings. We support your efforts to reduce real-world violence. But we would not want to see those efforts diverted toward non-causal sources and away from meaningful change to real dangers."

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
120 comments
MIchaelEDouroux
MIchaelEDouroux

Don't Censor Violent Media - TAX IT!

I spent 25 years as a literary agent representing writers, directors, producers and cinematographers in motion pictures and network prime time television. I know how Hollywood works and how it thinks. It's not complicated.

It's time to take off the handcuffs, cross hypocritical ideological barriers and actually get something done.

Balance | Consistency

For those in Hollywood who are proponents of redistributed wealth for the betterment of society, how about a different type of VAT or Violence-Added Tax on both the purveyors and consumers of violent media to help fund the mental health care system?

We put heavy tax on tobacco to discourage use; we can do the same for gratuitous violence.

Just this past November in Cook County, Ill -- the county that includes Chicago -- the Board of Commissioners passed a "violence tax" on gun sales to defray uninsured hospital costs.

And let's cut through the stall tactic of pitting one scientific study against another with a simple question: Would advertisers pour billions into popular media if it had no impact on behavior?

The MPAA ratings system: Another false front. How many ushers are standing next to smart devices and in living rooms across America checking I.D.? On the downside of pervasive technological communication, it is glaringly obvious that parental control is now at a built-in disadvantage.

If the costs to society from obesity, diabetes, etc., is the premise of those who want to regulate thus control what is fed to bodies, then, for the exact same reason, what is fed to minds -- particularly the young who are the most vulnerable -- is on the table.

Hollywood's Unabated Golden Age of Gratuitous Violence

We get how in the name of "art" it is part of the free market of ideas to both cultivate and appeal to prurient interests as the path of least resistance to big box office.

However, as far as owning the personal responsibility that goes with it, it's interesting to watch how Hollywood's elite are now desperately trying to twist, turn and distract their way out of the hypocritical trap they have placed themselves in.

Any national debate over violence in America that does not join at the hip Hollywood's cash cow of glorified, romanticized human slaughter will be just another slick political exercise in hypocritical nothingness.

"Marketing Murder"

The weekend after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn. -- which left 26 people dead, including 20 children -- Obama aide David Axelrod tweeted, "In NFL post-game: an ad for shoot 'em up video game. All for curbing weapons of war. But shouldn’t we also quit marketing murder as a game?”

When it comes to selling murder as a game, human beings are fair game? Imagine, if the target of on-screen violence were animals, would it be tolerated?

Up to this point, all appeals for some decency and self-restraint on the part of the violence peddlers have been gunned down by naked greed.

So, if greed is the clear driver of a problem that is poisoning our culture every second of every day, let's get real about a solution that deals directly with greed on its own terms.

For any lawmaker reading this, if you want a real game-changer in favor of society, here it is: On a compounding basis at all levels, federal, state and local governments -- Tax Violent Media!

Check out the Los Angeles Times article from 1999 entitled "Violence Tax Can Stem the Killing" by Peter Navarro.

Michael E. Douroux

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Orwell has risen.  If the game developers attach a moral significance to every violent action, every game will be like KOTOR in that you'll have a good action, a neutral action, and an evil reaction.  Simple shoot-em-ups like Far Cry and Serious Sam will disappear.  I mean, why stop at killing humans, make a moral imperative for killing aliens, even if they're trying to genocide us?  There comes a point at which you realize that you cannot legislate morality, nor can you stop mentally defective people from acting out.  If you fail to realize this, your only alternative is total censorship of EVERY media, and that we will NOT allow.  Ever.  Wake up, Mr. Biden.  Stop politicizing this tragedy and leave us gamers, TV watchers, movie watchers, and fiction novel readers alone (and if you think they'll stop at just games, movies and TV, you're dead wrong).

DbzJohno
DbzJohno

This should be are new slogan. USA  losing it's freedom one day at a time.

DbzJohno
DbzJohno

I don't know how many times I have to say this but children shouldn't be playing these violent games. there's a rating system. Enforce it!!!

botsio
botsio

sometimes these accusers think we never learn any thing but violence from video games!are all video games violent!no!so what is their problem!plus the games are rated!u are wise enough to determine the life u want to live why let a game decide ur life!to me thats stupidity!don't censor games its a tool for self examination in developing ur self(ur being)

tgwolf
tgwolf

When did we lose touch with reality and allow people like Joe Biden to make calls like this on basic freedoms? It's not as though violent games are THROWN IN OUR FACES like chicks that are underclothed in public ten months out of the year and advertisements from about every  rotting company and source of media!

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

You can always tell the reasonable voices apart from the lunatics. Those who simply foam at the mouth against video games and TV, and those who discuss it with facts and statistics....

TrueGB
TrueGB

Where's the task force investigating the wasteful spending of tax dollars on bills/studies that have been rejected by the highest form of government dozens of times?

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Next episode, Joe Biden considers explanation from IGDA while Gamespot and Star Division battles videogame studies on aggression. Of the people, for the people, by the people. Bang! To the rooftops!

hunter8man
hunter8man

I'm sick of these stories. The government will do nothing about violent games no matter how many of these people keep bitching about it. Every measure taken to limit them so far has failed, and will fail again. Mature-rated games are treated the same as R-rated movies, just as they should be.

Gen007
Gen007

Anybody who knows anything about America knows that Biden cant censor anything it would be a flagrant violation of the constitution. That said it could try to lean on the game  industry to self impose restrictions but they already have and are doing everything possible really. None of the big 3 carry AO rated games for one so its a rating the is effectively a ban for console games. The esrb was created nuff said there. There are also parental controls in all the systems so really parents have full control over what their kids are playing. I mean what are they gonna do start throwing people in jail for video games? which is the only next step i can see them coming up with. The whole damn thing its stupid as hell imo.

Flamewolf75
Flamewolf75

Video games seem to always be the first thing blamed when it comes to the violence of this country's youth. The policy on video games is exactly the same as the policy on movies, and movies have a larger sense of realism than games do in the long run. Yet no blame has been pointed towards Hollywood.

Cowboy-Bebop
Cowboy-Bebop

Greenberg is a d@mn idiot and everyone knows Biden is a moron.

dre256x
dre256x

So when will parents and government officials realize games isn't what they use to be anymore violent or not.. Kids don't wan't to play kids game as its no that engaging, they wan to be apart of the adult crowd and play what the big guys are playing.  That's were parents should come in and enforce strict rules.. as it won't stop them getting there hands on it but let them think twice about going that route..

Cyber_Skaarj
Cyber_Skaarj

"Elsewhere in his note to Biden, Greenberg said the IGDA welcomes additional evidence-based research into the effects of violent games on children."


There shouldn't be ANY sort of study like this. The games shouldn't be given to children to play in the first place. They carry an 18 rating for a reason. Which, I might add, also makes it ILLEGAL for the children to be allowed to play them.

Mrod1212
Mrod1212

Yeah... I doubt that they would censor video games or films for that matter.

bmart970
bmart970

The government doesn't need to be concerned with our entertainment/relaxment. Next they'll be saying we can only make movies rated PG and below.

buccomatic
buccomatic

i urge joe biden to go hang himself.

RainIsMyDrug
RainIsMyDrug

I would probably blame the parent more for letting their kid play violence video game.  The rating on the box wasn't just put there to make the box cover ugly it does have a meaning.

beuneus12
beuneus12

"What's a videogame?"


Biden, 2013

drksideken
drksideken

I would like to take a moment to point this out. I'm sure most of you have heard of this game...http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=....
I sure hope the government is willing to censor themselves. At least the normal game industry doesn't try to use games as a recruiting tool to go do the real (most violent) things possible. Exactly who are they marketing this to? The same people they give the ASVAB test to in High Schools. Yeah, this could be a case of practice what you preach.

For more clarification as to what the ASVAB is, here is a link for those who do not know.
http://official-asvab.com/ 

ItchyIsVegeta
ItchyIsVegeta

It is also a violation of the 1st Amendment, just as taking guns away is a violation of the 2nd Amendment.

DrizztDark
DrizztDark

On another note in something is really gonna be done then I hope at lease gta 5 makes it out before then cause in not its fucked...

DrizztDark
DrizztDark

Thank you editor. Very well said, our government is going crazy with everything of late. Like guns/violent games or not, the last 4 mass shootings have been done at the hands of crazies and were signs prior to the shootings... All I'm saying is that of these truly tragic moments we now have a government that is trying to ban everything dealing with guns or violent games for a population of over 300 million. There are a estimated 285 million firearms in the us and because of 4 crazy people I have a government trying to take away my/our freedoms. People that are for more gun/games ban controll imo are not clearly thinking this out.. This will give thugs,gangs and crazies even more reason too act out due to less resistance cause their not going to be handing anything over. Our government and sheep on their side of the fence are allowing millions of people's rights being taken away over a 4 crazies... Referring to Colorado, colinbine, Virgina tech and newton shootings.. People that disagree with me fine but before you rage at my opinion and that i dont care for the children killed, research Mexico drug wars. Mexican citizens are not allowed to carry/have firearms and videos games are not a huge hobby there and now have been over 60000 deaths in the since 2002 from cartel related shootings which includes men, women and children. Less then 100 have died in the mass shootings in America in the pass decade which is too many but our freedom should never be taken away for the work of 4 crazies. My heart goes out to the victims of these tragedies but not my freedom to play games or to bare arms...

ootiiGames
ootiiGames

@MIchaelEDouroux I'm about to throw a lot of questions at you, but I have trouble wording this in a different way:

Who would be the ones in charge of detecting how significant the violence in game is? Would it be based on some new rating system? Wouldn't the implications of having a tax punishment just trickle its way down to the people that play the game? To cover the added expense of the tax I imagine that the price of the game would simply raise and the people willing to buy it would be punished rather than the distributor.

Isn't there a natural order to things in the Hollywood rating system as well? When a movie is rated R, the result is that typically it would get less revenue than it would have if it was PG-13. So there seems to be a kind of loss taken by the studio. Now these types of studios have money, they can decide if a film is worth the rating in regards to the niche the film is aimed at. But does the typical gaming studio or start-up have the means to cover this additional fee? They are just trying to survive.


MarcusFeelius
MarcusFeelius

@MIchaelEDouroux There is nothing wrong with enjoying a round of BF3 with some friends. There is nothing wrong with playing through dishonored. We don't need to be penalized for enjoying entertainment that we choose to consume just so the government can line its pocket.

El_Zo1212o
El_Zo1212o

@DbzJohno enforcing the rating is the parents' job. It is not, and should never be allowed to become, the government's.

El_Zo1212o
El_Zo1212o

@botsio I would take your philosophical rhetoric more seriously if it were properly punctuated and spell checked.

ZackRoyer
ZackRoyer

@hunter8man Of course they will not, violence sells, since books, people will buy it because of its violence, and government wants people buying stuff.

ZackRoyer
ZackRoyer

@dre256x Kids don't play kids game because they always fear it will be educational in some way, The kids games developers shouldn't remove the educational content, but make it look cooler than it is, as a GREAT example of that, look at Assassin's Creed, When history looked cooler as that in history books? It's because of the violence? Only in a small part, the greatest amount of players attraction with the history showed in Assassin's Creed series is the narrative and gameplay experience, You play as the character, you feel as the character, and it also helps creating images memory of certain places, actions(like boston tea party), history books show this: "blablablablabla" -random oil painting that fail to describe the real action- "blablablabla". The point is, devs shouldn't make educational games, they should make games that educate by its gameplay.

kryotech
kryotech

@Cyber_Skaarj It is not illegal for underage kids to play rated M games. It's like at the movie theaters: it is not illegal for a kid to watch a rated R movie. Rather most theaters/game stores will not sell to underage kids. If parents/legal guardians accompany the kids, then it is fine. That's the law here in the US at least...

MXVIII
MXVIII

@Cyber_Skaarj  Actually its an M rating in America and its 17 or up, and theres no legal consequences for children under 17 playing M rated games. 

MXVIII
MXVIII

@drksideken lol, they give the ASVAB test to students who are in the JROTC. Which by the way you join that voluntarily.

Mrod1212
Mrod1212

@Suikogaiden The Fast and furious operation was a typical ATF gunwalking stint. And similar operations have been done way before 2011.

twentymooseman
twentymooseman

@DrizztDark What we need is a more sensible approach to gun control. We don't need to ban guns outright and we shouldn't loosen laws in hopes that more gun owners deters the threat of massacres. What we need is to close loopholes, have more oversight on weapons dealing, and maybe even implement a license system for classes of guns. Think of it like the way we do different driver's licenses for commercial vehicles and commuter vehicles. There should also be a psych evaluation and required classes in responsible use, maintenance and storage. With this sort of plan we could filter out the mentally ill and criminal elements, have a more educated and responsible gun owning populace and keep our 2nd amendment rights. 

336_07
336_07

@DrizztDark 

corrupt american government set up last 2 shootings to try n pass the disarmment shit, both were all fucked up from medication..everyone in america is fucked on medication, unable to open their fucking eyes... need revolution to overthrow the swine in office...democracy=facism in disguise

Darth_Ultima
Darth_Ultima

@MXVIII @drksideken I was in JROTC in high school until Columbine happened and some liberal school board member threw a temper tantrum and got the program closed down.  My friend was slated to be battalion commander that year too and that screwed him out of the full ride scholarship he woud have received from it.

DrizztDark
DrizztDark

@twentymooseman @DrizztDark I agree to that and I am lic to carry concealed in my state in the south... But since this has all started it just seems to get more and more extreme... I hear senators and congress on left and same with media preaching oppressive gun control/violent games ban...Do I think it will happen in that fashion? Hell the way are government looks nowadays I wouldn't put it pass them to actually try... All I been trying to get at is i am firearms owner and I play violent videos games. I carry a job has a hvac tech and was former military, neither make me want to go on a shooting rampage... I get sick/tired of every time a tragedy happens dealing with a crazy I have a government and leftist media/people fighting to pass laws to take more of my freedoms away. Hey parents blaming games, how about you read the fucking rating that's on every game cover instead of buying whatever you kid wants just to shut him up so you can go back to your text spam with a friend... I know this article was based on violent game ban and not guns but as of lately thats what's been on the hit list after the punkass piece of shit killed children. I would loved to have 5 mins in cage with that wacko with my bare hands... All this controversy over a piece of scum is where all this has started from... Ok that's the last rant on this topic for me

96augment
96augment

@336_07 @DrizztDark The government wants mentally ill people to shoot kids to get rid of guns? Do you know how crazy that sounds?

DrizztDark
DrizztDark

@336_07 @DrizztDark yea it is very weird for them too push this some much... What pisses me off even more is that the media never post stories on the firearms that have saved people from intrudes and/or thugs/crazies. It's really fucked up and I get really annoyed with the sheep following this government. What is even more nerve racking is when our government ships 1000's of firearms into mexican drug cartel hands aka fast and furious operation... It amazes me these people yelling for lawful citizens firearms to be taken away and are for this type of action completely ignoring what are own government does... I mean wtf you people actually trust these fucks.... I was off topic to a degree with my rant but not so much cause now they want to take games away along with it... You never want to give up freedoms to a government. This one has been slowing chipping away at everything. Healthcare that nobody knows what is in the package, now guns and violent games cause of a couple fuckin wackos out of a population of 300 million. I hate to tell ya peeps but the Internet is gonna be next if you people don't wake up as for we have already seen hints too that do to the fact they are tracing everyone now through ip which is already in affect

96augment
96augment

@DrizztDark  It does sound like a conspiracy theory. The Germans knew that Jews were disappearing during World War II. What did they think was happening to the Jews? Deportation? Your right to bear arms is not going anyway anytime soon. 

But what is a real solution to massacres like this? No one should fully trust any government. There are plenty of government officials who do stupid things in all countries. A 3rd party, huh? That would be interesting. 

DrizztDark
DrizztDark

@96augment @336_07 @DrizztDark While it wasn't me that said that, you have to think at the same time many governments have done plenty worse and if you were government secretly trying pull sum shit... What do you think would be the first course action?? Disarm your public secretly by using tragic moments to try and get larger portions of public on your side.... I'm far from a conspiracy theorist but before you think that's impossible is it?? You think the German public new their president was slaying millions of Jews at camps? No... They were living it up too and shortly after ww2 started... All I'm saying is my rights to bare arms is not going anywhere along with millions of other real Americans that value our freedom to defend of tyranny foreign and at home.. Our government needs to do real solutions with dont touch my right to bare arms, clip size does not matter as it takes less the 2 secs or less to load another clip to my haters that no nothing of firearms... I'm a independent and I don't trust either side at this stage from what I've see in the pass decade... 336_07 just worded what he was trying say in a attacking manor which I can understand cause our government is imo fuckin wack at the moment and I think there needs to be a uprise of a 3rd party to balance the extreme right/left@96augment @336_07 @DrizztDark

twentymooseman
twentymooseman

@DrizztDark No doubt. But yeah, always have to be vigilant. It's the role we take in free society and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of it.

DrizztDark
DrizztDark

@twentymooseman will take a look wiki even tho I use it can sometime be misleading

twentymooseman
twentymooseman

@DrizztDark
You can read the bill in full at healthcare.gov. I mean it's lengthy and some of the language is esoteric, but it's out there. As for an extensive guide, wikipedia is fairly useful. It's fairly well moderated and at the very least it's more concise.

DrizztDark
DrizztDark

@twentymooseman @DrizztDark bro there is not a indepth guide of the new healthcare plan. What taxes will go up, what happens to my current healthcare provider.. how much do people have to pay..I have looked and the gritty details just aren't there... You can't just pass a healthcare bill with no way to pay for it man think about it.... Our country is already 16 trill in debt but I do agree totally with your point as a whole

twentymooseman
twentymooseman

@DrizztDark Honestly, society has an extremely fine line to walk. We can't put all our trust in the government because then we easily let ourselves get taken advantage of. However, civilization does not work without government. Without it sh*t goes mad max, or for a real world example, Somalia. What we need is a more politically active and vigilant public. Even Washington knows that they govern with the consent of the people. We need a public that not only speaks out more, but get's involved more. You can only get so much done by yelling at a mountain. Eventually you have to get out, protest or do whatever footwork is necessary to influence government. We need to stop letting the media feed us information and start seeking it ourselves. You cite the fact that no one seems to know what's in the health care bill. That's a failing on the public's part because you can look up bills that have been passed, there's nothing secret about it. America gets a bad rap for being lazy, which I always am quick to refute. You look at the pace of our lives, there's nothing lazy about it. But we are politically lazy and this will be our downfall if we don't correct it soon.