TV News: M-rated Games Need Not Apply for Oklahoma Tax Break

In late January GamePolitics reported on a bill before the Oklahama which would provide tax breaks to video game developers – but only if their project wasn’t likely to earn an M (17 and older) rating.

GP comment mod E. Zachary Knight, who alerted us to the original story, has now pointed us to KFOR-4’s coverage of the bill (fast forward to 5:38).

KROF reporter Jesse Wells sums the issue up nicely:

Ironically, the M-rated restriction on video games doesn’t apply to TV and film projects made in Oklahoma. They get tax breaks even if they’re rated R or NC-17.

Bill sponsor Sen. Anthony Sykes (R) declined to be interviewed.

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  1. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    Ya know, this is interesting. 

    A few years ago, in NC, another senator was suggesting something along somewhat similar lines for the movie industry in NC.  I think it was in regards to grants rather than tax incentives, but he also suggested limits along the ratings line.

    What was ironic was who opposed the limitations.

    Julia Boseman.

    The NC senator who wanted a video games bill (but didn’t fight heavily for it so I don’t oppose her heavily either).

    I wish I could find that video interview with her regarding that issue.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  2. 0
    sqlrob says:

    Not quite. NC-17 was renamed from X because X was never trademarked like the others. Anyone could use it. Then there was the if one X is good, more must be better.


  3. 0
    Kincyr says:

    actually, the NC-17 rating was renamed from X because many people thought the rating was purely based on sexual content

    XXX never was a real rating, it started as a simple marketing gimmic for porn.

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  4. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    NOt sure exactly.  I am pretty sure that it does not apply to anything that would constitute Porn. I believe that only "softcore" is legal in Oklahoma and it is illegal to produce any of it in the state as far as I know. Also the minimum budget would stop most porn shops, unless you know of porn shops that spend $500,000 a year making their movies.

    Here is the language of what films are not allowed:

    “Film” means a professional single media, multimedia program or feature, which is not child pornography as defined in subsection A of Section 1024.1 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes or obscene material as defined in paragraph 1 of subsection B of Section 1024.1 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes, including, but not limited to, national advertising messages that are broadcast on a national affiliate or cable network, fixed on film or digital video, which can be viewed or reproduced and which is exhibited in theaters, licensed for exhibition by individual television stations, groups of stations, networks, cable television stations or other means or licensed for home viewing markets; and


    Here is the definition of obscene:

    1. "Obscene material" means and includes any representation, performance, depiction or description of sexual conduct, whether in any form or medium including still photographs, undeveloped photographs, motion pictures, undeveloped film, videotape, CD-ROM, magnetic disk memory, magnetic tape memory or a purely photographic product or a reproduction of such product in any book, pamphlet, magazine, or other publication, if said items contain the following elements:

    a. depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct which are patently offensive as found by the average person applying contemporary community standards,

    b. taken as a whole, have as the dominant theme an appeal to prurient interest in sex as found by the average person applying contemporary community standards, and

    c. a reasonable person would find the material or performance taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific purposes or value.

    The standard for obscenity applied in this section shall not apply to child pornography;

    2. "Performance" means and includes any display, live or recorded, in any form or medium;

    3. "Sexual conduct" means and includes any of the following:

    a. acts of sexual intercourse including any intercourse which is normal or perverted, actual or simulated,

    b. acts of deviate sexual conduct, including oral and anal sodomy,

    c. acts of masturbation,

    d. acts of sadomasochistic abuse including but not limited to:

    (1) flagellation or torture by or upon any person who is nude or clad in undergarments or in a costume which is of a revealing nature, or

    (2) the condition of being fettered, bound, or otherwise physically restrained on the part of one who is nude or so clothed,

    e. acts of excretion in a sexual context, or

    f. acts of exhibiting human genitals or pubic areas; and

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

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

  5. 0
    hayabusa75 says:

    What about softcore stuff with a lot of nudity but no shown penetration (think late-night Cinemax), I wonder?  It’s worse than NC-17 but not as bad as XXX.

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  6. 0
    sqlrob says:

    Treating them differently is, that’s one of the reasons for many of the game laws being tossed. All media  or none.

    But, since this is a positive bonus, not a regulation, it’s hard to say what the rule in court would be.


  7. 0
    gamadaya says:

    It could be better compared to a creating a free speech zone and letting everyone in, but giving candy to the people who agree with you.


    Edit: Oh, hey. I see you have a bigger stake in this than most people. Regaurdless of the legal issues, I do hope all studios get the tax breaks. I lived in Oklahoma for 8 years, and spent most of my childhood there. I was never proud of anything my state did, so to see it propose these tax breaks is pretty cool.


    Internet troll > internet paladin

  8. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    It could be compared to creating a free speech zone and only letting people who have a particular view on particular subjects use it.

    "Anyone can excercise ther right to free speech in this area as long as we agree with your position."

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

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

  9. 0
    Father Time says:

    So wait they’ll give you a tabreak for making a porno movie in Oklahoma (NC-17 translates to porn right?) But they won’t give you a tax break for violent games?

    So supposedly if you filmed the godfather movie in Oklahoma: Tax Break

    Make the godfather game in oklahoma: No tax break

    However that doesn’t apply to those live action movies Disney is doing.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  10. 0
    gamadaya says:

    I don’t think a movie has to have any nudity in it to get hit with an NC-17, as long as the violence level is high enough.


    Internet troll > internet paladin

  11. 0
    Ghost Coins says:

    I heard about the girl being expelled back in 1999 for the witchcraft thing, but didn’t have a lot of luck finding info about it on the net past 2003.  Was there ever a docket for a civil case ( I know one was in the works), or did the school board and other settle out of court?


    To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.

    -Edward R. Murrow

  12. 0
    Zaruka says:

    ya know i take that offinces time for me to get my torch gaaaaa. really if you think we are all like that in oklahoma you need a good lession of the world. oklahoma may not be the best place in the world and we have nutballs but so does everone else in their state. hell i would rather live here then in californa. only thing i think oklahoma needs is a pro baseball team but that my view lol.

     oh more news on your little article she was suspened from school for harsing other students by saying she would cast spells on them if they did what ever bla bla anyway she lost her case she brought up in the state.

    Thanks Zaruka

  13. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    Those Okies are all fricken nutters anyway.  This is the state where a girl was expelled in 1999 for allegedly making a teacher sick by using witchcraft.  If I were a game developer I’d be very wary of going to a state in which video games are regarded as evil and in which the population of the state is only one step removed from the mentality that caused innocent people to be burned as witches in the 17th century.

  14. 0
    Ghost Coins says:

    The signature is a direct quote from Murrow, and I can see it as a tautology.  Credible is very close to the concept of believeable, but he was referring was the credibility of consistency and responsible use of journalism.  We have very believable journalists (the stories they report are very true), however their credibility can be tied to the stories chosen to be reported on. Information can be very true, but spun in such a way to present a completely different, yet believeable truth.  The best example I can give would be a response to a story on a news network (take your pick, Foxnews, CNN, MSNBC, etc.).  A viewer might believe the information being presented is true, but will question the channels motives for the story in question, the images shown, etc.  In this sense, Murrow was arguing the news presented should be as close to the truth of reality, free of network and personal bias.

    apologies for the long winded response.


    To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.

    -Edward R. Murrow

  15. 0
    Zaruka says:

    you do make some  good points in that link EZK like we do have 4 schools and no jobs for them when they get out of school. i think oklahoma could be a good area to start a developer but like i said im not to sure how it works and im only just peeking my eye at the schools just incase i want to learn coding in game developemnt. plus i think it would be cool to have a big buisness or small hope a place here in the city. that way i could take a tour of their place and learn how they do their trade hell it might make me want to learn about it more.

    Thanks Zaruka

  16. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Evidence for your claim?

    I can see how some of the language in the 14th amendment may be difficult (or impossible) to apply to corporations, but the part that reads "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" easily applies to corporations, which are legal persons under the law.


  17. 0
    nighstalker160 says:

    You probably won’t win on equal protection grounds, the 14th Amendment protects individuals not corporations.

    However, you can go for an unreasonable restraint on free speech perhaps. The whole idea of the "chilling effect" etc.

    But generally speaking states are REALLY free to use their taxing and spending power.

  18. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Wait, this has already passed?

    Such a croc of bulls*&$. I’m disapointed in my state. Not only have they given more legal authority to a third party rating’s system that VERY OBVIOUSLY shows bias based on company favoritism and does a POOR job of rating games, they’ve done it in a way that gives all our potential game companies to texas.

    Damn, I was about to write a few legislators I know about introducing a bill that would "Require games targeted or rated for people 17 and up to.." and I hadn’t decided if I wanted to say "be seperated entirely from other games" or "Have a bright red price tag or barcode such that it is blatantly obvious that the products with this are not for sale to minors."

    Of course, the retail outlets would SCREAM about this because there would be no excuse for the sale of a video game to a minor. A big, red price tag behind the glass cases, or a bright red barcode on the cartridge.

    It doesn’t cost a huge shitload of money, it doesn’t leave any room for doubt, and it would be effective.

    Of course, this is politics. It’s about wasting money on ineffective schemes.



  19. 0
    gamadaya says:

    I don’t think equal protection means that the state has to give tax breaks to studios who produce M rated games. It can’t prohibit M rated games from being produced, but it doesn’t have to reward them. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. Oklahoma isn’t really a hot spot of game developement, and I doubt it ever will be.


    Internet troll > internet paladin

  20. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    In all fairness to Sen. Sykes, he was kind of cornered into including the provision. Had he not, the bill may have never made it out of committee.

    As equal protection, it was said below that that may not hold water. But you could challenge the chilling effect and fight it on the grounds that it could hamper free speech.

    This could be compared to the government designating a "free speech zone" in front of a public building but only letting certain organizations and causes to use it while telling ones that they don’t approve of that they cannot use the free speech zone. While they are not telling those groups that they cannot voice their opinion at all, they are limited the reach of that view point.

    AS for game studios in Oklahoma, there aren’t any that I know of. There may be a few indie level things going on, but I have not seen any. I want to start one soon (next year or two). The main objective of this bill should be to attract studios to Oklahoma, but with its current language, it will be hard to do.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

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

  21. 0
    Ghost Coins says:

    Hmm…constitutional "equal protection" arguements anyone?  Now the question is, will it be challenged, or will gaming companies that have studios in Oklahoma (assuming there are some) outsource M-rated projects to other divisions or studios in friendlier states?  If they challenge the law, they will face stiff resistance from studios who are cranking out sub m-rated games, and the film and television industries there as well.  A nasty catch-22 in the law, and, generally viewed as a dick move by the creator of the bill.

    To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. Edward R. Murrow

  22. 0
    Zaruka says:

    kind of hard to get people to start up game stuidos when you dont get tax break for all the ratings. which is sad too becuse im not too sure what i want to do yet been looking at game development becuse i like to code xhtml and css plus a little javascript so i would want to try a little game development but there not much out here in the game deviolep  field to get a job in oklahoma. lol i hope the block of text makes sense anyway back to school cya.

    Thanks Zaruka

  23. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Becuse ther M games tend to spend more, they would get more tax breaks on avrage than non M titles, so M games were simply excluded.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

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