California paying $950,000 for failed Supreme Court fight

State agrees to reimburse Entertainment Software Association for fees incurred during violent game bill battle; some portion to be donated to after-school programs.


It wasn't enough that California lost its bid to slap restrictions on the sale of violent games to minors; now the cash-strapped state is forced to pay nearly $1 million for its failed law.

Today, the Entertainment Software Association announced that the state of California has agreed to pay the trade group $950,000 in legal fees to reimburse the trade group's costs incurred during the Supreme Court proceedings.

For that much money, California could have become a dues-paying member of the ESA instead.
For that much money, California could have become a dues-paying member of the ESA instead.

California's debt to the ESA is lower than what the trade group originally sought. In July, the ESA announced it was hoping to be paid $1.1 million from the state.

Previously, the ESA was paid $280,000 by California in 2008 from lower court legal fees. Further, the ESA said it has received $1,773,000 from other states--including Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota--who sought to "unconstitutionally regulate video games."

The ESA will donate an unspecified portion of the proceeds to create after-school programs for "underserved" California communities in Oakland and Sacramento. According to the ESA, its new charitable education endeavor will be launched in spring 2012. The ESA says it will "harness young peoples' natural passion for playing video games and connect them to development of critical 21st century job skills."

Drafted by State Senator Leland Yee and signed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, the law would have criminalized the sale of violent games to minors. It also would have required a 2-inch-by-2-inch sticker with a solid white "18" outlined in black to appear on the front cover of such games.

"Senator Yee and Governor Schwarzenegger wasted more than $1 million in taxpayer funds at a time when Californians could ill afford it," said ESA president and CEO Michael D. Gallagher.

For more on the overturned law, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 47 comments about this story