Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. Regulation of Games

July 29, 2009 -

So far, every single law seeking to restrict the sale of violent video games has been struck down by the federal courts; it would seem that such legislation is a losing proposition.  So how else might the government try to regulate our favorite pastime?  Writing for Joystiq, lawyer and gamer Mark Methenitis offers two possible scenarios which censorcrats might seek to employ.

The first is to impose content restrictions - not on the type of violence that can be shown but on the type of stories that can be told or the types of characters presented. The idea here would be to ensure that games are politically correct so as not to offend anyone and prevent flaps over perceived racism in games like Resident Evil 5, Left 4 Dead 2, or Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood.  Of course, this still boils down to regulating speech so it’s not likely to be any more successful in the courts than restricting violent content has been.

The second is an idea presented by Jack Thompson during his debate with Methenitis at SGC09 earlier this month. Thompson speculated that the Obama administration might address America’s obesity issues by regulating our play time. But how? The government can’t just march into your home and turn off your Xbox. While there is no indication that Obama is planning any such thing, Methenitis explains how such a scenario might work:

When the government wants you to stop doing something, they tax it. Alcohol is taxed. Tobacco is taxed. Certain kinds of less-fuel efficient cars are taxed. In short, the theory is "fewer people buy things at a higher cost." And it's something that can be levied against both retail sales and digital downloads.

Taxing games is not a new idea but with the economy the way it is, now seems like the absolute worst time to try it.  Still, you never know. Methenitis:

It's always difficult to predict what the government may or may not do, or how the courts may or may not rule. The system, however, relies on the vigilance of the public to ensure that our rights are not infringed....

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...


Comments

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

MY heart weeps everyday for the sad, sad road this country is taking.  Stay strong.  Endure!

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

Well, they're talking about taxing junk food and cola to help pay for the new healthcare bills, now with 90% more bullshit (apparently, you won't be able to keep your old insurance or your doctor, by the way), and so I would believe that games would be next on the list.  Hell, they already tax cigarettes and alcohol, and it seems like a lot of people in the current ruling party think that games are in the same vein.

Things that would suck: A tax based on how long you were on the internet, a tax based on how many systems you have, a tax based on how much you download/upload to the internet, etc.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

"now with 90% more bullshit (apparently, you won't be able to keep your old insurance or your doctor, by the way),"

Source?

-Gray17

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

This is also proof, from someone who actually read the whole 1400+ page bill.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

Why does every single mention of government have to immediately morph into a debate about health care?

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

Probably because its the big issue right now in American politics. Like it or love it, this health overhaul will give the government more power over the individual than ever before- to say nothing about how American tax practices are going to change. 

A post-healthcare government will be irreversible and end up with higher taxes and less individual freedom for every citizen.  The questions come down to whether its worth it or not.

This is one of the most profound restructuring of the American government and economy in history- of course it will come up in every discussion.

 

Videogames and fatty foods taxes are just the beginning.  Demolition Man is coming true.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

DON'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS!!!

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

And some of us can do no better than to simply regurgitate the talking points of Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, et al.   

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

Oh, you got me.  Everyone opposed to this is just a crazy conservative.  Good job keeping everything polarized.  Let me direct you to my friend- he's made of straw and you can generalize at him all you want.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

Who said a word about you? But if you think the shoe fits, then wear it to your heart's content.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

In this case, its very relevant; what else would they tax video games based on?  The CDC recently suggested that because Soda and fast food leads to obesity, those things be taxed.  I don't doubt that they'd suggest the same thing about video games after the other two dried up, and suggest that VIDEO GAMES are responsible for the remaining obesity in this country.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

This is the second thread in a row where you've gone on about Obama and health care. This is GamePolitics.com, not Politics.com.

You and that NeoKafka or whatever his name is should pedle your conservative politics elsewhere and stick to the topics at hand. This is coming from someone with largely conservative views.

 

Anyway... neither of those things will ever happen. If anything, with the growth of the industry as a whole they'll receive tax breaks, just to keep the money in whatever jurisdiction/country. We're talking about quite a big pie for people to take a slice of. I doubt we'd ever reach the point where we would see a "sin tax" on video games.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

I thought food items coudln't be taxed.

And of course it will be ,they'll keep hacking at our freedoms under such a guise until there's nothing left.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

I believe, in CA at least, you can only tax food items that have been prepared so they're ready to eat.  So, if you buy a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, you pay tax on that.  But if you buy a few cuts of raw chicken you don't get taxed.  There may be further stipulations; I'm not an expert on the subject, though.

"De minimus non curat lex"

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

I believe because, like with McDonald's and other fastfood places they're considered services and that's what you're paying tax on. Some states/counties/cities already have "junk food" taxes and this is something that shouldn't have any involvement with on the federal level. I'm sure there are other states that charge sales tax on all food but I'm feeling to lazy to look.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

I think we're finding that 'necessary' food items can't be taxed.  The suggestion is that fast food and food deemed 'unhealthy' CAN be taxed, because it creates a burden on the taxed.

Of course, this raises the whole issue of 'what is and isn't necessary' and 'what is and isn't healthy'.  Some believe meat is unhealthy; will that be taxed?  How about tofu; will that be taxed?  The whole thing is ridiculous and reeks of a social agenda, an agenda which, no doubt, video games WILL be a part of.  The only question, once they begin taxing certain foods, is WHEN.

I find the whole thing ridiculous.  You can eat fast food and still be healthy if you spend time working out.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

And differentiate what you eat. I mean, in reality, everything is good for you on some level ,the key is moderation, which evidently the government trusts no one to do.

Re: Mark Methenitis Offers Alternate Scenarios For Govt. ...

So that's why the 'three cheeseburger a day' diet was such a failure.

Seriously though, I love when you see these people who all they eat is junkfood and they complain that they're 300 pounds.

Having said that, I don't think the government should have the power to force them to change, any more than I think I should have to pay for their healthcare.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which Feminist Frequency video are you looking forward to most?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenI think we're safe with stuff like Life is Strange, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, and TellTale's games. I was thinking more along the lines of D4. It's genuinely up in the air whether we'll get a conclusion to that story or not.01/30/2015 - 3:33pm
Goth_SkunkUltimately, from this potentially ignorant perspective, it's the gamer who assumes the risk, not the developer. I don't approve. Fortunately, I'm only paying $5 (CDN, no less), so that's money I can easily write off if I'm disappointed.01/30/2015 - 3:32pm
Goth_SkunkIf I'm wrong, and the unthinkable should happen where the developer ends up aborting production of the rest of the episodes, bundle purchasers would be understandably upset. Even moreso if attempting to get a refund turns out to be a hassle.01/30/2015 - 3:30pm
Goth_SkunkThere is an option on XBL to purchase all episodes in a bundle. Pay full price now, get the rest of the episodes as they're released. I would like to think this means that the other episodes are in fact done and ready.01/30/2015 - 3:29pm
Andrew EisenCatch 22 sometimes. Some gamers don't want to buy it if there's no guarantee the whole thing will come out and the whole thing can't come out unless enough people buy the early installments.01/30/2015 - 3:17pm
Goth_SkunkI sincerely hope this trend towards episodic games is not done so because the developer only had enough capital to produce the first 1/5th of the story and is banking on making enough money from the sales of that fifth to produce the rest.01/30/2015 - 3:16pm
Goth_SkunkThat being said, I want to try Life is Strange to get my feet wet.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Andrew EisenI'm that way too. I'll wait until the whole thing is out. Same goes for DVDs of TV shows. I'll wait for the season set.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Goth_SkunkIf an episodic game is really good, and the time between episodes is more than a week, I'm more inclined to wait for the rest of the episodes to all come out than to try playing it episode by episode at launch date.01/30/2015 - 3:12pm
Goth_SkunkAs someone who played through TWD Season 1 entirely in one day, and then played Season 2 episode by episode when they each came out, I strongly agree with this sentiment.01/30/2015 - 3:11pm
Goth_SkunkFrom what I've been hearing, people haven't been buying it because they're sick of episodic games where they have to wait 6 weeks or more between episodes and they'd rather just wait for the whole thing to come out at once.01/30/2015 - 3:10pm
Andrew EisenNot sure what GamerGate could do to dissuade people from buying a game they'd otherwise be interested in or why it would even want to but I agree, I think the premise is interesting and look forward to learning more about how it actually plays.01/30/2015 - 2:58pm
Goth_SkunkAnd for what it's worth, I saw Life is Strange advertised today on XBL, and the premise looks very, very intriguing. I'm going to buy it today and give it a shot.01/30/2015 - 2:42pm
Goth_SkunkI'm hearing rumours that the recently released game Life is Strange is not selling very well on Steam, and that GamerGate is being blamed as a result. It's just a rumour though.01/30/2015 - 2:42pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://smashboards.com/threads/apex-2015-venue-changed-competition-will-restart-tomorrow.388991/ twitch saves apex2015 tournament after original location gets condemned.01/30/2015 - 2:37pm
prh99Probably not unless you can prove they knew and did nothing. ianal01/30/2015 - 12:16pm
InfophileIs it possible to sue advertisers for breach of contract or something if they do that? Or sue the ad providers if they don't take reasonable measures to enforce their rules on advertisers?01/30/2015 - 12:06pm
prh99AdBlock fixes the problem :) Since these ad network do a terrible job at screening. With the recent exploits for Java and Flash, it's just a mess.01/30/2015 - 11:46am
Neo_DrKefkaHad my browser hijacked five times in a row well trying to view this site.01/30/2015 - 11:18am
Wonderkarpafter deep thought, I can live in a world with 2 Ghostbusters Franchises. Though I highly doubt the new film will top the original(And still wish it were a sequal), The new film's cast won me over hardcore.01/30/2015 - 10:43am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician