Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin was given the opportunity to make a post on Sony’s PlayStation blog in order to talk about why Schwarzenegger v EMA should matter to American gamers and to urge them to sign the ECA’s Gamer Petition.
Halpin began by stating, “At stake: gaming in America. Yes, you read that correctly.” He continued:
In the time since the Court’s announcement there has been a lot of media coverage, both from the enthusiast outlets and the national press. A disturbing theme that you’d find too often in the consumer comments is one of apathy. Perhaps it arose from winning in each of the violence in video game cases. Maybe because, from our perspective, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that we could lose — the logic seems pretty obvious.
But this is the U.S. Supreme Court, the only court in our country where the Justices don’t have to “follow the law” because they make the law that everyone else follows. And here’s the rub, as industry executives will openly admit: a loss wouldn’t just be limited to any one demographic, such as minors; or any one area, such as California; or even to any one art form, such as video games. It wouldn’t solely change how games are merchandised and sold. Should the U.S. Supreme Court determine that games may not necessarily enjoy the same First Amendment protections as music and movies do now, it would be catastrophic and the implications for gaming and gamers, and entertainment consumers generally, widespread.
Halpin also answered questions from commenters, including one from D-Squad3 asking, “So can anybody sum it up in a sentence?,” to which Halpin replied:
Sure: The Supreme Court is going to determine if games should continue to be treated like movies, music and books (which the industry – and ECA – wants) or if they should instead be regulated like alcohol, tobacco or firearms (which the State of California wants).
Nvqhoi wrote, “im 11 i dont understand this does this mean they are trying to ban violent video games in america?” The answer:
At issue is whether games are different than, say, movies. Those that believe that gaming should be treated differently think that there’s a difference between watching a space alien be shot on TV and virtually shooting one in a game. They believe that because gaming is interactive, it’s more detrimental.
Their goal isn’t to outright ban games (to the best of my knowledge), it’s to restrict them in ways similar to buying cigarettes or beer. And we disagree.
Disclosure: GamePolitics is a publication of the ECA