Defanged California game bill becomes law

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs once-draconian Assembly Bill 1793 into law.

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After 10 months in committee and dozens of revisions, the game-regulating California Assembly Bill 1793 has finally become law. Sponsored by Assemblyman Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), the bill, in its original form, would have classified M-rated games under Section 313 of the California criminal statutes as "harmful matter to children."

Under its auspices, anyone caught selling M-rated games to minors could have been punished with a $2,000 fine and received a year in jail. It would have also required game retailers to separate M-rated games and display them where minors could not see them, much like the adult film section of video rental stores.

However, the bill signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger--who is himself the star of several games, including the recent Terminator 3: Redemption--this afternoon, bears little resemblance to Yee's original. Under the new law, "video game retailers will be required to post signs spelling out the availability of a video game rating system and brochures explaining the system." Pressure from various groups--including the game industry--led to numerous revisions of the bill, which led to the removal of much of its regulatory teeth.

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