NY Video Game Bill Moving Towards Passage

The New York State Assembly unanimously passed a video game bill yesterday. A similar measure is now under consideration in the State Senate.

A11717 was proposed by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (left), a Brooklyn Democrat. If signed into law it would require new console systems to be equipped with parental controls, would create a 16-member governmental advisory council and would mandate that ESRB ratings be displayed on game packaging.

The proposed advisory council would examine the potential impact of violent media, make recommendations regarding the ESRB rating system, and establish "a parent-teacher violence awareness program to identify and appropriately assist students who  may  have  a  propensity toward violence."

The Senate version is sponsored by Republican Andrew Lanza. Given that the New York legislative calendar wraps up at the close of business today, it’s likely that the Senate will pass the bill. If not, it may be revived in a special session.

Should the Senate bill join the Assembly version in passage, the measure will then proceed to New York Gov. David Paterson (D). If the Guv signs the bill into law, it is scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2010. Of course, if the Governor signs the bill, there is little doubt that the video game industry will file a federal lawsuit to block the law from taking effect on constitutional grounds.

GamePolitics readers may recall that New York seemed destined to adopt a video game law in 2007 but the measure was ultimately derailed by bitter political infighting between then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Senate Republicans.

The ESA, which represents the interests of US video game publishers, has urged New York-based members of its Video Game Voters Network to contact their elected officials in opposition to the bill.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. desperad0 says:

    Thanks good job;

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing travesti or little and need to start saving costs. and dizi izle


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  2. oto kirlama says:

    Nintendo is indeed selling SOME of these on the Virtual Console but not even close to all of them. While i agree in part to his piracy he was filling a market that Nintendo failed to recognize. Maybe someone doesnt want to buy a Wii. maybe they just want a console with 50 – 100 NES games on them?? maybe just maybe?

    but no Nintendo wants everyone araba kiralama to buy the Wii. thats their excuse but thats not what copyright is supposed to protect. i am real sure that the makers of 10 yard fight were losing sleep because they were missing out on their $0.00025 worth because they didnt get royalties from this player. *smirk*

    my question is, should Super Mario Bros. be banned from public domain forever? isnt 23 years enough time for Nintendo to have made their profits?

    If you have followed the Steamboat Willie case regarding Mickey Mouse you can rest in your bed well at night knowing that the MOUSE will still be under copyright law, away from public domain after your great grandchildren are in nursing homes. That is beyond ridiculous dont you think??

    Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it’s due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA’s Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there’s no one left on the Board.

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another Bill Sponsored by a guy that has no idea about gamming, that would be like me writing a book on Brain Surgery.  I bet this Dried Up Old Fart never even played a video game in his whole life.  If you know nothing about something don’t you think you should just keep your trap shut on it.  What a waist of tax payers money.

  4. Dark Sovereign says:

    No jurisdiction NY. Nice try.

    Edit: Even if New York did have the power to enforce, it would give an extragovernmental office the force of law. That’s unconstitutional.

  5. nighstalker160 says:

    So this bill would:

    1) Require consoles to have parental controls:

    Umm, every console already has parental controls

    2) Require ESRB ratings on game packaging

    The ratings are already displayed on the packaging

    3) Create a government panel

    So really…this bill only does ONE thing that isn’t alreayd done, create the government panel, which is something the government could do WITHOUT passing the law.

    Yeah…this is brilliant.

  6. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    "would create a 16-member governmental advisory council"

    Yay for Government spending my money.

    Other than that I don’t really see a whole lot of problems with this bill, other than the fact that it’s a complete waste of everyone’s time since it "forces" the industry to do what they’re already doing.

    Save teh Children!


    PS. ban Jackhole for spamming. Thanks.

  7. SimonBob says:

    Now hold on a second — the ESRB and parental control stuff might be unconstitutional, but I would definitely be down with a violence awareness program if it could, say, stop a mentally unstable college student from buying guns and going on a rampage.  A pretty big "if" but anything would be an improvement over the current system of ignorance and apathy towards people who need help.

    The Mammon Industry

  8. TheEdge says:

    Thank you Liberals and Bible-thumpers!

    Thank God there is the Libertarian party,or I wouldn’t have an identity.

  9. Ken ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A11717 was proposed by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (left), a Brooklyn Democrat. If signed into law it would require new console systems to be equipped with parental controls, would create a 16-member governmental advisory council and would mandate that ESRB ratings be displayed on game packaging.

    They do have parental controls, and correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the ESRB ratings already on the box? You’re just signing into law pointless bullshit that has already been done.

  10. Jack Wessels says:

    I see a flaw in the "adding parental controls to new systems" part.

    There are already parental controls. On the 360 you can block certain ratings, and even limit the amount of time your child plays a day. If parents aren’t aware of this then they’re to blame for not getting to know what it is their child is playing on, not the industry.

  11. Stinking Kevin says:

    Actually, I may have responded too soon. If I’m reading it right, it looks like the bill does not say that all games sold at retail must be rated by the ESRB. I think it says that all rated games sold at retail must have their ratings prominently displayed.


    Still unconstitutional and unenforceable, I am pretty sure (and the stuff about consoles is still absurd) but the bill makes it sound as if these "must display ratings" rules are already in effect for movie sales and rentals (?).

  12. Celladd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    First off, *I am not a lawyer*, but this is why I think this law is unconstitutional.

    Requiring console manufacturers to include parental controls is clearly unconstitutional. Requiring the ESRB ratings to be on packaging might be unconstitional as well.

    For the parental controls, consoles are usually manufactured elsewhere (out of country) and then placed into interstae commerce. Per the U.S. Constitution, only Congress may enact laws affecting interstate commerce as this law does. New York cannot enforce the law requiring the controls at the point of manufacture of the consoles. New York will also be unable to stop the import into the state of New York of the consoles unless it shows a threat to public health/safety from the consoles. Although consoles do contain parental controls, it is not something that can be mandated at the state level. This enough is to get the law declared unconstitutional.

    Mostly the same reasoning applies to the games themselves, but New York could mandate that retailers located in the state place stickers on packaging that they sell in store. So instead of targeting some far-off manufacturer outside of the reach of New York’s laws, they can legislate the action of retailers within the state itself.

  13. mogbert says:

    In a similar law, they will now require all YouTube clips to be rated my the MPAA before being uploaded.

    Yeah, I’m not the only one that thinks this is stupid. I’m not in NYC and feel powerless to express my disappointment in the disconnect between our legislators and reality. How often to they come down from their golden castles and walk the aisles of Wal-Mart.

    Government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich…

  14. Stinking Kevin says:

    It is unconstitutional because it restricts expression in games whose creators did not pay the ESRB to rate. It is un-enforceable because it doesn’t sufficiently define "console," "game," or the difference between a "game" and other types of software. I understand where you are coming from, but I am not scared of laws like these anymore. Just sad and disgusted.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "A11717 was proposed by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (left), a Brooklyn Democrat. If signed into law it would require new console systems to be equipped with parental controls,"

    and this, is why they fail.

  16. NecroSen ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is ridiculous. Parental controls already exist on all consoles, even the PS2. Tell me what other DVD player has a parental lock-out feature for movies with PG-13 and R ratings like the PS2 does.

    And mandating ESRB ratings on packaging? There are already clearly-visible ESRB labels on every single game package, front and back, in plain black and white, easily distinguishable even from a distance. In most cases, the game rating is even plastered on the disc itself. What more could they want?

    Why are they not going after movies like this? I just looked through my DVD collection and it took me ages to find the rating on the back of the cases, usually the same color as the rest of the text and so small you’d need a magnifying glass to see it. Sometimes there’s not even any accompanying information: just a single letter. If you didn’t know any better, you might think it was a logo for some company.

    The only reason they made such a bill was to form that advisory panel so 16 people could make money off the fears of ill-advised parents. It’s utter bull****.

    The worst part about it is I fear that it won’t be possible to repeal such a law on constitutional grounds. I’d like to pass it off as useless legislation that will just go away like all those before it, but it doesn’t sound like it will.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wait, wait, I get it.  It’s a giant joke.  See, the only way this could possibly play out is if, two, three, however many years from now it takes the panel to convene, they’ll release a report that tells them that New Yorkers aren’t aware of game ratings labels on boxes and features on consoles.

    You know, like at least 5 advisory counsils have said lately, around the world.

    The punchline?  No one will get it.

  18. Ricardo Rademacher says:

    [quote] The ESA, which represents the interests of US video game publishers,[/quote]

    If the ESA "bleed" continues, I don’t see how they will have any clout in this matter.

    It’s entirely in our hands IMO.


  19. Momgamer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And how does any of the premises of this bill support your goal?  How does this affect who gets ahold of guns?  Does it provide funding for mental health programs and screening?  Does this support any educational efforts among college students?

    None of that is here.  You want to stop mentally unstable college students from going on a rampage, then write a bill to do that.  Spend the money they’re going to spend playing Courtroom Macarena the minute this hits the 2nd Circuit and splats right up against the glass covering the Constitution like it has in five other states on something that actually helps the people you’re concerned about.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The ESRB Rating is alredy shown on the game box itself. To go and provide even more of a disclamer is more of discrimination against the Game Industy. Why do we need 16 people on a committee to decide if I shuld play a video game.

    Parents in shuld be more intune with what their kids are doing instead of leting the goverment control evryone.

  21. beemoh says:

    All console systems ever released have parental controls. It’s called “switching it off”.

  22. Stinking Kevin says:

    It doesn’t matter that all the demands of this bill are already (more or less) in existence in the real world. The only thing they hope to accomplish with this is to get elected again this November. The bill is unconstitutional and un-enforceable. The only conceivable purpose of the bill is political.


    As you say, I am sure they all just want to claim they’ve done something, even though at best it will waste the time of those 16 people, and quite likely will also waste $500K – $1M in taxpayer money when the ESA takes them to court to get the law overturned.


    If I lived in NY, I’d be writing my reps. I am sure it wouldn’t do any more good there than it did when I wrote my reps in my state about the unconstitutional anti-game laws they passed here, but at least I had the peace of mind knowing that they knew that I knew they were all completely full of shit.

  23. Austin_Lewis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Requiring that the ESRB show ratings BY LAW would also give them the power to force the ESRB to do other things, like play through every game in full.  That, of course, would be the kind of thing to grind videogame development and release to a halt.  As for requiring parental controls, they do already have it, and the 16 member council thing will do absolutely jack shit, save sit around on their ass and say "Videogames are bad".

  24. Shoehorn O'Plenty says:

    "it would require new console systems to be equipped with parental controls, would create a 16-member governmental advisory council and would require that ESRB ratings be displayed on game packaging."

    Hmm, maybe I’m wrong, but with the exception of this 16 member council thing, aren’t the rest of the demands of this bill already in force? All of the modern consoles have parental controls on them, and all games display rating stickers or they don’t get released.

    What do they hope to accomplish with this? Maybe it’s so they can claim it as something they’ve done? What are the 16 people on the council going to do when they realise that they are working on something that needs no work? It’s like forming a committee to make the grass green, then walking outside and looking at a lawn…

  25. shaoron says:

    my mom used to put the gaming console (NES/SNES era) into some hard to reach place.

    She’d keep it at the back of the top most  shelf of the closet with other heavy stuff on top of it…


    if you want parental control… THAT’s parental control 101

  26. GrimCW ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    its also standard built in since what PS2?

    well maybe not for games back then, but for movies it had one, but atm all consoles have parental controls, what they need to do is start making parents aware of these things and stop whining somethings not there when its biting them square in the ass.

    how you could miss something that close i’ll never know. i mean for crying out loud, how many people here knew Duke Nukem 3D had parental controls? or the original Half Life? built right in you could turn off the blood, gore, violence, and language. Even password protect it!

    the only "game console" that doesn’t have built in parental control really on standard is the Computers. they just have user access control that makes it pointless to even log on if the damned thing is active.

  27. Gray-17 says:

    Actually in my experience, it’s been more along the lines of "take away the controllers."

  28. Anonymous says:

    I knew about Duke, and for that matter so did my parents.  It wasn’t exactly the best system, though.  I found out years later, when Duke was uncensored and on my own computer, that the password was saved in the plain text preferences file.  Good call there, 3DRealms. 😛

  29. E. Zachary Knight says:

    The truth is, we would have loved to kill this thing in its infancy. But we have very limited power. Sure we can write our reps and tell them not to pass it. Sure we can picket in front of the Nation’s capital. But really it all comes down to the people we elect. If they are dumb enough to support this kind of stuff, we will simply have to vote them out of office. But even that is not much of a threat as the next guy would probaably be just as dumb.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA Myspace Page


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  30. Stinking Kevin says:

    I’m not sure I’d put it so harshly…but I share your passion, and I have acted like "an ass" because of it more than once. Anyway, I’d rather be on the team with the guy who occasionally says something out of turn than with the guy who’s afraid to ever say anything at all.

  31. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Agh, so sorry for the way I expresed myself. The thing is I care about this issues because for the obvious thing I like videogames and I don´t like when somebody is making laws or criticism without the right facts.

    The fact is I didn´t have the right to make this little outburst because I´m not from the USA, so I can´t even to join ECA or any organization of that kind because I´m from another country.

    My worry is this "fashion" (I don´t know what word I can use) being imitated by legislators in my country, Mexico.

    Until now, many of this laws have been rejected in USA, but if one of them have finally being passed in New York, how long is gonna to take other similar laws to be passed in other states? Or another countries? Politicians love publicity and votes, and anything give more votes like a "pr0teck the chindrenz" pose in any country.

    Sorry for being a big ass.

    —————————————————————————-The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/

  32. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I agree completely. I vote. I research the candidates, thir positions, the policies being discussed. I let them know how I feel about many of those topics. I am also not afraid to tell them that  Iam willing to actively work to get the mout of office if they do not do enough that I think is right.

    All part of my duty as a voter.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA Myspace Page


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  33. gs2005 says:

    Many politicians do not represent the will of the people.  They only serve their corporate masters and special interests, but then again, the USA is a republic and not a true democracy.  "Hollywood" Howard Berman is a perfect example of this.

    Despite the problems, I still am an active registered voter, because doing nothing is far worse than doing something that has almost no effect.

  34. GrimCW ( User Karma: -3 ) says:

    as a NY’er i agree, we should.

    but know what would really end out whoas?

    get rid of that damned city and its island, sell’em off to jersey or something. They ruin EVERYTHING for the rest of this state. the politicions will find them jobs, money, homes, and all that, while anything else in this state dies a slow death. Both Rochester and Buffalo (near me not where i am) are going to hell with the economy.

    i recall once that they said unemployment was up 16%, then Clinton did a sudden campaign in the area (a rarity we ever get to see any non-local polititian) and magicly unemployment was down and employment was up…. only 2 weeks after the initial report? wtfh? meanwhile buffalos being all but evacuated, with rochester is slowly following stead right behind them. My area in the country is becomming a war zone with the people leaving those cities, and for the first time in my 24 years living here we actually have crime worth reporting!

    for the over 20 years we had NO violent crime involving someone being shot dead on purpose (hunting accidents aren’t being counted by me) and suddenly its like every other damned day you hear of some guy being shot dead for drug money or something dumber than that.

    i think whats worse, isn’t the fact our muck land (really good farm land) isn’t "dissappearing" so much as its being overthrown by the local governments to build more buisness buildings we don’t need (half the nearby city is bloody empty and has a LOT of buildings right there prime for buisness) but the farmers are also being forced to sell out to the newcommers so they can build homes they’ll never finish and/or abandon/be foreclosed within a year. it’s sickening to think the state gov is even worried about video games at all.  i blame clinton for a majority of it too, she’s spent more of our tax money on investigating violent crimes in CALIFORNIA, than she ever did fixing anything in this state (unless it was in the big city itself)

  35. Stinking Kevin says:

    Are you a member of the ECA?

    Have you contacted the ECA to express your concerns?

    Do you live in NY?

    Did you write your representative yet?

  36. E. Zachary Knight says:

    The ECA owns GP. So take this article as a call from the ECA for all New Yorkers to complain to your representatives.

    Also, they have issued a call for this particular legislation before. You could also get in touch with one of the four New york Chapters for help in fighting this.

    The ECA is doing something, but it is up to the members to really follow through on it.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA Myspace Page


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  37. Meggie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m not sure they could make the ESRB change their policies in terms of how much of the game they play, not from a state law. Perhaps on the federal level they could, but would probably have to specify that as a new rule. I doubt those endorsing this bill are even aware that the ESRB doesn’t play game all the way through, they don’t strike me as informed. If they were, they’d know parental controls already exist and that packaging already contains ratings.

  38. Stinking Kevin says:

    As a fellow Michigander, I find your view disappointingly insular, if not short-sighted. I tend to believe in the importance of the principle as well as the practical however, so maybe that explains the differences in our perspective. In any case, if it’s anything like the way that unconstitutional anti-game laws were passed in our state, it won’t even get as far as "crippling" software sales in NY. It won’t have any effect on them at all, in fact. Remember?


    If the NY legislature is actually arrogant enough to pass this vanity law, it will instantly be challenged by the game industry and not allowed to take effect until reviewed by a judge. That judge will then eventually proclaim the law un-enforceable and/or unconstitutional, and almost certainly award the industry compensation for any expenses incurred in the legal challenge, straight out of the state treasury. And all the while, before during and after, retailers in the state of New York will continue to sell games exactly as they have, exactly as they do everywhere else in the country.


    In other words, in practice, this law wouldn’t even temporarily affect the way games are sold in NY. And what’s worse, most (if not all) the representatives who are voting in favor of the law already know this! The bill has nothing to do with protecting anyone from anything. It has everything to do with legislators taking the opportunity to spend another $500K-$1M of taxpayer money to advertise their sensitivity to family values issues in an election year.



  39. Anonymous says:

    eh, it’s only in NY, so games will be released everywhere else in the US before NY, thus crippling software sales in the state of NY. Since I’m in MI and not NY I personally don’t care much. It’s all just going to end up back in court anyway, right?

  40. Karsten Aaen ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    As I understand all major consoles have parental controls from the Wii over the Xbox to the PS3 and even the PC (if it has Vista) has parental controls. The ESRB ratings are clearly marked on the box as well as the advisory text are also clearly marked. This has been the standard in the game industry for at least 10 years or more now. What else do they want??

    Oh, yes, they want a 16 member advisory panel which may or may not be a bad idea? It would prove to be good thing, especially the panel could raise the awareness of teachers and parents as how the ESRB ratings are to be interpreted.



  41. Benji (not logged in) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Echoing the concerns of bpm195: Not all games are rated by the ESRB. I’m not sure if everything on Steam/XBLA/PSN is rated – although then again, they also aren’t in retailers and don’t have packaging, so maybe the rating requirement doesn’t apply to them. More bothersome is that I’m not sure if the law applies to NEW games or to ALL games. If it’s ALL, then collectors are basically no longer allowed to sell their old NES games.

  42. bpm195 says:

    I’m not a real lawyer (I just watch courts shows), so I could possibly be wrong, but doesn’t this put a minor damper on smaller developers. Games like those released on Steam aren’t rated by the ESRB, so this may make them illegal if they’re developed in New York. Whether or not they could/would enforce, it still is a pretty bad deal.

  43. A viking says:

    An absolute waste of the paper and ink used to circulate it. If people in New York are misinformed enough to support this sort of trash, they’ve earned it. That strange symbol in the bottom left-hand corner of every video game shipped to marked for over a decade? Happens to be the ESRB’s rating.

  44. Roozle says:

    So let’s get this straight.  They’re spending lots of taxpayer money to pass a bill that…

    A) Make parental controls for consoles (done)

    B) Put ESRB stickers on games (also done)

    C) Form a committie that will do absolutely nothing except yell and holler about how this isn’t a waste of tax money.

    What up NY?  When these clowns came up for election, was they’re slogan "No Surplus in NY"?.  Geez.


Comments are closed.