Lawmakers seeking warning labels for most games

"Violence in Video Games Labeling Act" would stamp all games rated E, E10+, T, M, and AO with label saying violent games are linked with aggressive behavior.

Almost every game will be required to carry a warning label like those found on cigarettes if a new bill introduced to Congress this week proves successful.

Two Washington lawmakers want warning labels on most games.

Introduced by Joe Baca (D-California), the "Violence in Video Games Labeling Act" (H.R. 4204) would require all games rated E, E10+, T, M, and AO by the Entertainment Software Rating Board to carry a stamp that reads, "WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior."

The only games that would be excluded from the labels would be titles rated EC (Early Childhood). The label is to be placed in a "clear and conspicuous" location on the game's box and is not limited to physical games.

If it's signed into law, the Consumer Product Safety Commission would have 180 days to create rules that require such games to bear the warning label.

In a press release on Baca's website, the lawmaker lambasted the video game industry for not having a system in place to warn users of the "potentially damaging content" in games.

"The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products," Baca said. "They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility."

Baca said the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act is a response to what he calls increasing evidence that games are connected to a plethora of short- and long-term "detrimental" effects.

"Meanwhile, research continues to show that playing violent video games is a casual risk factor for a host of detrimental effects in both the short- and long-term, including increasing the likelihood of physically aggressive behavior," he said. "American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products."

Baca said studies from the journal Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the International Society for Research on Aggression highlight a connection between violent games and aggressive tendencies in children and teenagers.

Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) is co-sponsoring the bill.

"Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents--and children--about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior," Wolf said.

A representative from the Entertainment Software Association issued the following statement to GameSpot:

"Unfortunately, Representative Baca's facially unconstitutional bill--which has been introduced to no avail in each of six successive Congressional sessions, beginning in 2002--needlessly concerns parents with flawed research and junk science. Numerous medical experts, research authorities, and courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, exhaustively reviewed the research Representative Baca uses to base his bill and found it lacking and unpersuasive. Independent scientific researchers found no causal connection between video games and real life violence."

This is not the first time Baca and Wolf have put forth legislation seeking to stamp games with warning labels. In 2009, the congressional pair brought forth the Video Game Health Labeling Act, which sought to place a health warning on games rated T or above. That bill was unsuccessful.

Written By

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

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Discussion

405 comments
thorn3000
thorn3000

@Rasu89 precisely, I'll give some of my examples, for ex. Assassins Creed 2 taught me a lot about renaissance italy, now I know things like who the Doge was or I read articles on wikipedia about actual historical characters from the series since I got interested, waaay more then when I was back at school...and add to that that since you play as an assassin in the game this could be one of those very "violent" labeled games... games, like films, like books, are what you make of them, if you are an agressive individual you will be agressive no matter what as long as you don't make peace with yourself, but if are a normal upright person you take only the good from the games, I do not see why you, or even a child of some age could get violent just from games, most of the time it is because of the environment, parents not listening to them, friend making fun of them, not finding love, getting bad grades despite trying, and so on....violent games if something help to ventilate this anger, suppresing anger is the bad way to go, since you cannot surpress forever and it will explode someday...

Rasu89
Rasu89

@thorn3000 I agree and like books, some games actually manage to teach you something you know nothing or little about. I am sure many people have come across something in a game that was relevant to real life that they knew nothing about. I got into Greek mythology thanks to God of War and Hindu and Norse mythology thanks to Final Fantasy's Ifrit, Shiva, and Odin. As well as the cons of relationships while playing Catherine. On a more related note, Wolf and Baca (aka. Baka) and all parents who support this bill are lazy and don't want to teach their children fantasy from reality and set up the parental controls.

thorn3000
thorn3000

true LOL for this initiative, its like saying 100 years ago that books lead to violence and that and that guy inspired itself with that and that book...so let us burn all the books!...inquisition anyone?

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

If games have to have these labels, they should at least be only on the back of the boxes. I hate it when excessive labels ruin the box art!

tizmond
tizmond

Put your warnings on video games if you want, it's not going to stop me from killing !!!!!!!!! Mwah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Seriously though, just wish these hillbilly politicians would leave this alone. They're just jumping on the back of tabloid fodder to win more votes.

Victorious_Fize
Victorious_Fize

I bet the people supporting this also believe GTA promotes having sex with prostitutes, killing them afterwards, and getting your money back from their purse.

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

I agree to a policy that says all politicians should have warnings tattooed to their foreheads about how their lies, corruption and idiocy can cause and provoke psychological and physical violence -_- , Just look at all the politically provoked world wide riots lately. But yes, all the violence caused by politicians making decisions that get the rich richer, the poor poorer, people out in the streets without homes and dying in wars is all to be blamed on video games *cough* !

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

This again?! I grew up on games like Doom, Quake, primal rage, GTA and other violent games that involved blowing stuff into gory giblets. Yet i'm completely non violent, an animal lover, never been arrested, never been convicted of anything. never spent a day in jail. Every so often you hear about a kid blowing his parents brains out with a shotgun and saying he "saw it in Grand Theft Auto and it looked cool" or something, but those are just lunatics. they're crazy anyway! "this is just one more way of controlling you and keeping you in line, and it's one more thing that holds us back as a species" - George Carlin

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

I'm surprised they are trying to pass a law also saying you can only carry games on the street if they are in a brown paper bag as well.

Hiroo4
Hiroo4

They don't. But I don't really care. Go ahead and label away.

HatefulFeline
HatefulFeline

As long as they don't try to interfere with the actual content of the game...

IsetSIMSonFIRE
IsetSIMSonFIRE

I honestly thought that a solid correlation between violent games and aggression has yet to be proven and that many "studies" have only said there "might" be a correlation....Did I miss something somewhere along the line? O.o

Techn1c4l
Techn1c4l

How about posting a stamp warning you about on-disc DLC and other extreme money leeching stuff? Would make more sense and reflect real danger.

MN121MN
MN121MN

Rather than in front of the label, what about in the manual of the game? What makes little sense is about the fact that "Violent video games". I'm asking what level of violence does it meant. It would make more sense if these labels are put in Battlefield 3 box or COD MW3, but if they are talking about violence, then won't that also concern some less-violence games such as (forgive me if I'm wrong) The Sims 3 (because as we know you can kill people there). Let's face it, most games have violence, even if it's little which might cause most games ever developed have this label. It's just too much.

GrahamZ
GrahamZ

I have no problem with labels on games IF the purpose is simply to inform consumers and parents of the content of the video game. But if the purpose is to use misinformation to scare people and change behavior, then that's something we ought to not permit. By simliar logic, one could argue that we ought to place warnings on driving simulations as well, as video games encourage teens to drive fast, which could lead to traffic accidents. I have no doubt that there are people (young or simply mentally ill) people who will be negatively affected by playing violent video games. If there is evidence that you, personally, are a person who is apt to imitate violent criminal acts, that one sees in a video game (or even on the news) then yes, I vote we should keep these games out of your hands, and keep you away from the television as well. BUT to say that any random person playing that video game is in danger is a complete lie. And that's something we should not allow.

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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Dizzy1976
Dizzy1976

............... really? O-o this is a crazy world we live in. lol

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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benbonney
benbonney

P.S. Victor Golf Charles is a moron, an extremist, and really needs to live a day in the real world

benbonney
benbonney

I feel videogames are just a way of finding a cause for why a child is violent or does stupid things. Most kids can walk away from a video game and understand its just a game. If a child is violent then I blame parents and politically correct laws on discipline

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

VicGolfChad this is what the 4th time?? something like this has tryed to pass so it will be funny when you see how wrong you are. and on that note im done talking with you as your a wast of time ty and have a good day everytime thay try this bill its unsuccessful. so this bill will fail

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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BillyColeman
BillyColeman

VicGolfChad tough guy??? your very funny and as far as i can see very full of your self as u put your name Victor Golf Charles at the end of every post heres the funny thing about stuff in japan. CERO-D and CERO-Z games are just that but most parents in japan keep there kids from geting games that are Z18+ or D17+ because key word there on top of there game. not lazy. in the USA most parents as far as iv seen dont take the time to to look at the games rating as thay rather stop there lil bratz from throwing a fit so thay buy it but hey instead worrying about kids seeing bad stuff in games why not worry about them hiting 400 pounds at 19 as far as i can see thats something thats far worse then bad games. fact this games stuff will never pass last time i check theres lots more bad things out there for kids then games kidnappers bad ppl ect end of the day yes it's the parents' fault end of story its not hard to see what your kids playing its called takeing the time

luckjon
luckjon

California, do something else like legalize weed.

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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BillyColeman
BillyColeman

VicGolfChad still my point is what the films about. games are tame are thay not if it says M or Z dont buy them for your kids. i think the parents are at fault if there kids get M games right??

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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Henrique2324
Henrique2324

@VicGolfChad - Good luck, I'm behind 7 proxies

blahdeblahde
blahdeblahde

READ ALL ABOUT IT THE TRUTH IS OUT!!! Warhammer 40,000 K found responisble for starting War in Iraq and Afghanistan and NOT the Governments of the U.S, U.K and It's cohorts as it was originaly thought.... Seriel killer found inocent of crimes of butchery "Really Guv, It was that game warcraft that made me do it, honest, I was a good boy before that".

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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staranise
staranise

what lawmakers should do is prevent publishers or developer of games from spewing out 75-85% complete games on the market. game companies should follow a certain standard in releasing a game (100% complete and bug tested) not some chopped up do-hickey with locked up content and bullcrap ending to force you to buy a 60$ "real ending" dlc *you know who you are capcom and biowEAr.

twentymooseman
twentymooseman

Is it just me or is every person who tries to introduce a bill like this just another congressman desperate for attention cause they lack sway or notoriety of any kind on capitol hill? If this guy is seriously a "think of the children", moralist a-hole, it'll p*** me off that much more. It is not the government's job to raise children. The rating system is exactly like the MPAA's. Actually it's much better because it's more descriptive and is far more visible on the packaging. Just stop wasting people's time and let it be.

Vaultdweller108
Vaultdweller108

I find it funny that people like that vicgolf guy is against violent video games because he says they are linked to aggressive behavior but after reading most of the comments he appears to be the most aggressive person here hahaha.

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

yet the usa makes a film like the hunger games PG-13 saying its ok to let kids see a film about kids killing one another for sport anyone see a prob with the way ppl think??????????? lets go after games but not something that kids can see everyday bad tv hahah

VicGolfChad
VicGolfChad

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Henrique2324
Henrique2324

@VicGolfChad - Yeah, you can wallow in your liberal crap yourself. No one gives a s***.