Parliament spat heralds UK Modern Warfare 2 launch

Tom Watson MP accuses Keith Vaz MP of creating "moral panic" after questions posed in the house about new Call of Duty's controversial airport scene.

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Last night saw arguably the biggest gaming launch of the year take place in London's Leicester Square. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was unveiled to a mass of screaming fans that were treated to celebrity guests, parades of soldiers in full-on army gear, and a midnight launch at HMV.

"It’s about protecting our children" said Vaz

The hysteria surrounding the launch has not escaped the attention of longtime gaming critic Keith Vaz MP. The Leicester East Labour MP and Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, recently spoke out on the controversial airport massacre scene from the game in the Daily Mail saying, "I am absolutely shocked by the level of violence in this game and am particularly concerned about how realistic the game itself looks." After promising to bring up his outrage in Parliament, Vaz has clashed with Tom Watson MP, former minister for digital engagement and longtime supporter of the video game industry.

Speaking to Sion Simon, Culture Media and Sport Minister, Vaz asked "Is the Minister aware that at midnight tonight a new and violent video game called Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is to be released? It contains such scenes of brutality that even the manufacturers have put in warnings within the game telling people how they can skip particular scenes." He went on to question how the government is ensuring that violent games did not fall into the hands of young people, adding "It’s not about censorship; it’s about protecting our children."

Watson then stepped in to defend the game, "I’ve seen the content in this video game; it is unpleasant, though no worse than in many films and books; it is an 18-plus game and carries the BBFC 18-plus rating as well." Watson also took snipe at Vaz's quote in the Daily Mail saying, "Does the Minister agree that it would be better for this House to support the many thousands of games designers and coders and the many millions of games users, rather than collaborating with the Daily Mail to create moral panic over the use of video games?"

Tiga, the UK's game development trade association, has backed Watson, calling it "encouraging" to see MPs stand up for video games. Recently Tiga helped set up an All Party Parliamentary Group for the games industry, which promised to "discuss issues crucial to the video games industry."

Watson has gone on to start a Facebook group entitled Gamers' Voice, whose mission statement reads, "Are you sick of UK newspapers and (my fellow) politicians beating up on gaming? So am I. The truth is UK gamers need their own pressure group. I want to help you start one up." The group has so far gained over 7,000 members.

Discussion

164 comments
TheRealUser101
TheRealUser101

The online multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare 2 has the same experience points and unlockable reward system as that of Call of Duty: MW3 multiplayer. Activision announced Call of Duty Elite will be fully integrated into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and allows tracking and comparing statistics with other MW3 players.

flyingdutchdog
flyingdutchdog

@Samiii Actually I am one of those "old people" and I stood in line for 2hrs to get my copy of MW2 lol. I have loved gaming since Pong, Missile Command etc. right up to the present and for the most part the games just get better and better. However, we must look at politicians with suspect old or younger. They usually have an agenda and are involved in things they don't give a sh*t about. I don't know how old Vaz is but I'm sure he pretty well is today what he was at 18. He probably hated gaming then as well. Anyway, play good and have fun.

smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

@Antherian_being Good for you. Most kids your age do not feel that same way, but I'm glad that you have such a great attitude about it. Kudos! :D

thibbledorfP
thibbledorfP

Tom Watson displayed an enlightened, mature approach, realizing the obvious fact that an 18 rating is there to protect children. He also is aware that gamers and developers are ordinary people who have chosen a specific job/hobby.

Antherian_being
Antherian_being

I am a 13 yr old Aussie. We have g, pg, m, ma, r ratings. Im not allowed above M and you know what? I don't complain, i believe what my parents do is rite and other parents should really follo. As much as i would | LOVE | to play this game, i will probably be better off not to.

kakarote22
kakarote22

I wish some parents would grow up and start dealing with their kids instead of trying to hid them away from anything they don't feel like explaining.

Cujo31
Cujo31

Only the parents are to blame if children get their hands on a M rated game. Just as they are to blame if children get their hands on R rated movies.

merc7523
merc7523

I have this game and already played that level and to be honest it isn't that long of a level and their shouldn't be such a big fuss over it

smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

I bought CoD and have played it through on SP and spent a few hours on MP. I love the game, but I agree with WarFighter172 that it is the parents fault when they don't pay any sort of attention to what their kids play. Parents allow themselves to become tangled up in their own lives and they completely ignore the needs of their children. Therefore, they use video games as a "babysitter". In closing, all I have to say of parents who leave their kids alone while they play their games is, "If you are responsible enough to have children in the first place, take the responsibility to love them and devote your time to them. Don't let violence and crude language in some game run their life. They may not like it at first, but they will love and respect you for it in the long run."

lassic
lassic

game makers love this, great publicity

Samiiii
Samiiii

Also, I went to GAME today and guess what. They refused to sell me COD:MW2 even though I'm 18 because they needed proof of identity, even though I had a UCLan Students Union Card, proving im atleast 18 which I am. Whilst, a couple of Mum's infront of me were buying the same game, presumably not for themselves.

Samiiii
Samiiii

@FlyingDutchDog, You're right, I should have said most old people. Also, your thoughts of old are obviously different to my thoughts of old people. Fact is, most politicians are older people in our society, with the few that are complaining never having played todays games, yes they may have grown up with pong or space invaders but they aren't complaining about them games, they're complaining about games like MW2 which they have never played or anything like it.

NoDzombie
NoDzombie

"It's not about censorship, it's about protecting our children." well its rated 18 for a reason genius, children shouldnt be playing it, and if they are then its their parents fault for buying it for them, not the fault of the developers/publishers

happyemonathan
happyemonathan

if only we had such an awesome MP in australia. we need someone to stand up for gamer rights in australia. look what they did at left for dead 2!!! maybe aswell have rated it PG

brittonl
brittonl

Surely taken to its logical conclusion all media would have to be edited down to Cert-U, because what if children see it? Media classification is to advise people of its suitability. If parents are complicit or negligent in allowing their children to view media which the BBFC has deemed unsuitable, it is their responsibility. What if children DO see this material? For years elements in society have been trying to associate high profile tragedies with video games and failed. There is no formula for predicting how an innocent child grows into a murderer, rapist or paedophile. As an aside for those who've not seen it, the BBFC comments on Manhunt 2 make for interesting reading: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/news/press/20070619.html You have to smile at their condescending attitude. Apparently as a lifelong gaming adult I would be subject to "a range of unjustifiable harm risks". Really? They also comment on the "sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer". Precisely what alternative pleasures would the BBFC like to see added? Perhaps singing, talking to God, watering pot plants? Manhunt is kill or be killed, there are no pleasantries to be exchanged. In any case, as I recall from the original Manhunt you spent an awful lot of time not killing but waiting for enemy awareness levels to drop, during which time you were free to engage in all manner of internal soul searching before you got back to the good stuff!

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

I reckon if they want an R18 rating in Australia, they should make it R21, and increase penalties for introducing these games to minors. That way fewer kids play MA or R, and we get an uncensored version of L4D2, etc.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

@ suntaice that's why 13 year olds shouldn't play MA15 games. that's what I hate about censors... Because there are heaps of parents out there who either can't control what their kids play or just don't care, the rest of us miss out, because the censors think we can't make responsible decisions. Its not us who can't make responsible decisions, it's the parents that buy COD4 and GOW2 for their 10 year olds.

suntaice
suntaice

Ive seen 13 year olds in my school saying they will kill every russians, middle easterns ever since they started playing cod mw on their macintosh

Duffleman
Duffleman

I don't think Keith Vaz is trying to ban any games, he's just making the point that kids will end up playing this game due to bad parenting. I've seen parents buying 18 rated games for 8 years olds before now, so I agree that parents need educating on this. Many parents don't understand that these days games have better graphics and strong language, so there's nothing wrong with the government bringing something like this up, just to raise awareness with parents. Don't worry, games won't get banned as a result of this, the government knows full well that movies are much worse for violence.

JEEBUS_BOGONDO
JEEBUS_BOGONDO

the "children" arent even alowed to buy the game in stores its rated M genius.So many ignorant loud mouth crusaders dont do any research whatsoever before they open their mouths. So many people think this is still 1980's plumbers jumping over turtles and dont have a clue that gaming has evolved and gamers got older.

Duffleman
Duffleman

@vf21x Erm....Watson is defending the game. Read the article before commenting!

warfighter172
warfighter172

I was playing the game yesterday online and it was very clear young children were playing this game and the constant bad language that they come out with is appalling. But it’s the parents at fault they’re the ones that allow their children to play adult games clearly in another room were there free just to swear all the time. The conversations that are started by these children are disgusting and to be honest they spoil the entertainment for us adults, who for the most part just want to team up and play nice.

benboz
benboz

So What!! CoD 6 is an awesome game and I love it.

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@ jose2390 um if you have the game you should actually know the answer to your second question

KingOfTheNubeis
KingOfTheNubeis

Its good to see that Tom Watson MP just stepped in to add some sense to the situation.To be fair to VAz he wasn't saying Ban it.Just went on about how "we are trying" to make sure under 18's dont get their blood stained little hands on it LOL.

punkpunker
punkpunker

the world is in a mess. parents mostly dont care what their kids play, kids now are spoil-brats and i cant imagine what if they become parents.@ codename, you are blind bashing EA, you should be bashing activision for milking popular games aka GH and CoD

firehawk998
firehawk998

All these politicains think that only children plays videogame but if you look at any statistics you will see that these days adults play more videogame than children. To Mr vaz stop trying to blame videogames for your goverment failings and start trying to fix the UKs economy. To Mr Watson :- Sir you have my full respect.

codename-60091
codename-60091

parents want anti violence game. so they buy kids Need for speed. and kids cry and shout here! saying F&U EA ....and asked brother to buy MW 2 ^^

codename-60091
codename-60091

thats what i am talking about! this moron is causing naive parents to buy more Shlllft! NEED FOR SPEED GAME!! thats the problem, EA still rich!!!

Blood_Diamond
Blood_Diamond

*sniff* *sniff* i smell an other jack thompson

mikeyg756
mikeyg756

I played the mission and its not actually that bad. I have played manhunt, that is disturbing. Chopping a guys head off while he cries in blood curdling agony on that game, when it came out in like 2003 or whatever was waaaay worse. To be completely honest though, this mission will be remembered for all the wrong reasons becuase if the story in MW2 was actually GOOD and not just EPIC it would have been an amazing moment. There is a difference might i add, epic is just like MGS4, when its just crap that doesn't make sense but being told with dramatic scenes and music to make you think its the greatest story ever, when really you look at it and its aload of rubbish. A good story, is when there is no plot holes and everything connects, you shouldn't be like "But then what happened with the---?" or "So why'd that guy do that?" like i was so many times playing threw MW2.

vf21x
vf21x

Tom Watson MP..............it's a video game, you tool!!!!!

auron11022
auron11022

He has done exactly what he wanted... Everybody is talking about him and his idea now. You guys bashing him is just encouraging him because he knows he'll get a response.

jose2390
jose2390

I have 2 questions. Is there an option to turn off the blood? Also, is it possible to completely skip the "airport mission?" I have a PS3 and I was wondering if those options are in the game. Thanks :)

Slaughtahouse
Slaughtahouse

Ofcoarse games have these problems but movies like Saw or something on those lines have no problem, just real people torching others. But when it comes to vitrual people, its a crime.

brother115
brother115

Here we go again... more people complaining about the content of video games.... kids under 18 shouldn't be allowed to play games like this. The airport scene was disturbing at first but now its no big deal. I'm actually shocked something like this hasn't been in a video game up until now. But what's worse? GTA or this? Seriously....

1FedUpGamer
1FedUpGamer

Keith Vaz is in simple terms: an idiot. He loves to help the foreign community in Leicester (trust me i know, i live there), could this have anything to do with the game being in the middle east? Probably, if the game was set in china or the south pole, Keith Vaz wouldn't care less.

Rekunta
Rekunta

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

darth_jeebo
darth_jeebo

It is encouraging to see MPs defend the gaming industry instead of condenming it because its content is 'making our kids violent'. As Sony Online CEO John Smedley said in 2002 "Its silly to think gaming is dangerous. Its entertainment. Is a TV show dangerous? Is a book dangerous? I think the anwswer is no. People need to take responsability for their own actions."

Liverhead28
Liverhead28

Pish off. Stuff it in your gob. Heave ho, cheerio. Fish n chips. Kiss me bum.

xialon
xialon

Well, its the parents problem. And, you can skip the scene. And, the game is rated M. And, little children shouldn't be playing this game. And, where were all these people with GTA came out?

TicTac8745
TicTac8745

It carries a 18+ rating and yet he is complaining that he wants to protect the children? Riiigggghhhhhtttt ..... I've played the level and while it was surprising on what you have to do, I didn't feel offended or anything, definitely seems like something that comes out an action movie like Hard Boiled ...

W_Birkin
W_Birkin

i love the airport level :) im going to be playing it over and over again :D what do you think about that.... KEITH?!

cube-gage
cube-gage

Like we haven't heard this all before. Governments should be glad of games like COD. Its probably the single most effective recruiting and propaganda tool the west has at the moment. But i cannot wait to play it.

mistphone
mistphone

i also wanna add that "its about protecting the children" umm thats why we have parents to protect us i love seeing the goverment want to take over every little detail of our life

mistphone
mistphone

lol Vaz is a game hater but isnt chess a game about war !!!OOO war is bad!! lock up the children in the cellars!!! and also the parents would know if the game is right for his/or her child to play M rated games duh man the goverment isnt your parents ask your parents if you can buy it.

12345678ew
12345678ew

the guy that's pro-gaming has it right. no matter what, no matter how hard you try to censor games/music/movies, the internet exists idiot, it's going to get in. and you might as well try to avoid causing panic over that. it's just useless.