Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

October 29, 2010 -

A pair of opposing editorials appear on the USA Today website, delivering two distinct takes on Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer penned a piece opposing the game industry, stating that the showdown “pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”

Steyer, whose organization backed California with an amicus brief of its own (PDF), went on to cite American Academy of Pediatrics research to back his choice of sides, research which “declared the connection between game violence and aggression nearly as strong as the medical association between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

Steyer appears to be referencing an old study (PDF) by the University of Michigan’s Brad Bushman and Iowa State’s Craig Anderson, a study that Texas A&M International researcher Christopher Ferguson subsequently picked apart (PDF).

Saying that Common Sense Media preaches “sanity, not censorship,” Steyer stated, “We simply believe that parents, not retailers, should decide which games are appropriate for their kids to purchase and play. That's exactly what the California law would ensure.”

He continued:

If parents decide a violent game is OK for their kids, that's one thing. But kids can't judge the impact of violence on their lives. This law is a common sense solution that puts a parent or adult in charge of the decision-making process, instead of an industry just protecting its profits.

On the flip side, USA Today itself chose to back the game industry, citing constitutional concerns, subjective language in the law and scant, perhaps even non-existent, research that establishes a link between violent games and juvenile problems.

USA Today summed up its position:

Guarding the First Amendment often means protecting the right of people to say or do things that most Americans find repulsive, such as Nazis marching in a Jewish neighborhood in Skokie, Ill. But the alternative is to arbitrarily pick and choose who's entitled to free expression and who isn't. In that world, anyone might be deprived of rights reserved for individuals since the nation's founding.


Pic from icanhascheezburger

Comments

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

Ok so I come on this site from time to time now.....reading on what's going on in the game industry, now that I'm busier in my life than ever & so I HAD to comment on this.

If parents decide a violent game is OK for their kids, that's one thing. But kids can't judge the impact of violence on their lives. This law is a common sense solution that puts a parent or adult in charge of the decision-making process, instead of an industry just protecting its profits.

This doesn't make sense......b/c parents already choose or don't care what is right or wrong for their kids. But yet this sounds like the law will make/have parents choose for their kids?! That doesn't make sense to me. To me it's just wasteful spending. The industry is protecting it's profits but the gamestops I go into do check the ID's & no kids can't get the M rated games. Idk about other gaming places like Blockbuster or Wal-Mart or other retailers selling games....

 

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Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

I do not thinking makeing bad law or makeing law bad protects anyone one.

Its simple IMO if you are going to regulate it(and thats all sold over the counter media) do it the same as tobaco, same rules same level of fines,ect. If not then do not do it at all.


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Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

the showdown “pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”

Ugh. Why are they still re-iterating this same logical fallacy?

We all know this isn't true, because A. The industry has implemented measures to protect kids, and B. their profits are coming form the vast majority of adults who play these games.

I think it's time they found a new non-argument.

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

Not to mention that every time there's a scandal about violent games, it hurts their reputation and (at least potentially) their bottom line.  While I agree that their primary motivation is profit, they've come around to the fact that the best way to protect their profits is to apply ratings well and do their best to make sure they're understood and enforced.

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

USA Today easily won that duel as James Steyer continues to prove that his worthless group is no different than the Parent Trash Cult as he lied throughout his little opinion piece.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

...the showdown “pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”

I don't see how considering the overwhelming majority of the time, it's not the kids buying the games.

...research which “declared the connection between game violence and aggression nearly as strong as the medical association between cigarettes and lung cancer."

Even if that were true, so what?  No, seriously, so what?

“We simply believe that parents, not retailers, should decide which games are appropriate for their kids to purchase and play."

I take it you think parents are, by and large, far too incompetent to do so without government assistance?

"If parents decide a violent game is OK for their kids, that's one thing."

See, I've never understood this.  If these games are so harmful to children, why are you and your ilk absolutely fine with Mom and Dad allowing them to play such titles?  Why the big to do over the point of sale?  Surely, it's the play, not the purchase that's harmful to minors?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

"I take it you think parents are, by and large, far too incompetent to do so without government assistance?"

I'm sure many of them are, but that's irrelevant.  Unless the parents are actually harming a child, the government has no right to intervene.  (And even then, parents are allowed to do things like deny their children vaccinations -- so long as they don't send them to public school.)

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

Agreed.

Further, I don't see why the gov't has any interest in interfering.  Oh sure, it has a compelling interest in preserving the psychological well being of children but absent any evidence of harm, it just looks like ulterior motive land from where I sit.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

it just looks like ulterior motive land from where I sit.

I'm strongly compelled to question why you're not saying it is. I don't know if you're thinking it, but I'm of the opinion that the only reason it's being pursued in the first place is strictly for political gain. It looks good when you can put "fought to protect children" in a political resume, since it isn't a lie- and at the same time, you don't have to say "using taxpayer money to fund unconstitutional laws and appeals going all the way to the Supreme Court".


I'm actually a bit glad for USA Today- they make it clear that they find content in some video games objectional, but at the same time acknowledge the repurcussions of this cases in a negative outcome.

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

The government doesn't... Politicians do so that they can manipulate the ignorant majority into letting them keep their jobs.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

Essentially Yee is more concerned abotu appealing to the moral crusaders and keeping his seat than he is in actually helping anyone.

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

“pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”
 

Facepalm at this. You can accuse McDonalds of the same for selling crap to children, but I believe junk food is not as spicy as videogames, isn´t?

Steyer, whose organization backed California with an amicus brief of its own, went on to cite American Academy of Pediatrics research to back his choice of sides, research which “declared the connection between game violence and aggression nearly as strong as the medical association between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

Those people shouldn´t be doctors.

“sanity, not censorship,” “We simply believe that parents, not retailers, should decide which games are appropriate for their kids to purchase and play

Being a parent doesn´t give you the right to decide what is sanity or what isn´t. And this is all about censorship. It doesn´t matter how cute you want to dress it.

If parents decide a violent game is OK for their kids, that's one thing. But kids can't judge the impact of violence on their lives. This law is a common sense solution that puts a parent or adult in charge of the decision-making process, instead of an industry just protecting its profits.

What the law basically says is that parents are not responsable of what are their children doing if they play some sort of media that the government doesn´t approve. If there is a real problem with children and violent games as they claim it exists, then the law by itself won´t do anything for nobody.

 

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Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

"Those people shouldn´t be doctors."

Depends on whether that's their analogy or not.

Obviously comparing aggression to cancer is absurd -- the link between aggression and violence is itself overstated.

However, if they simply produced studies -- reliable ones -- showing a correlation between game violence and aggression, and CSM came up with the cancer analogy, then I wouldn't blame the doctors.

I'm still looking forward to additional studies that isolate variables more effectively -- there was a story Wednesday about a study seeking to determine whether competitive games produce the same results as violent ones.  (Anecdotally, I think they do -- as I say in the comments of that article, I've certainly gotten aggressive playing Worms.  But never violent!)

And of course one of my all-time favorite GP articles is an oldie but goodie from 2007 about a study showing a link between violent Bible passages and aggression.

Re: Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

I´ve been looking for those studies on the PDF file, and as always those studies are the same old song about agression, low school performance and even get on discussions with teachers. As you said, it looks like the analogy came from the CMS spokeperson instead from the doctors.

 

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Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Andrew EisenHave gamers ever tried to ban a product? Can you be more specific? I'm not clear what you're getting at.07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Mattsworknamethey should have expected some kind of blow back. But I didn't participate in that specific action07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MattsworknameAndrew Youd have to ask others about that, I actualyl didn't have much beef with them till last year, so I can't speak to there history. I simply feel that gamesutra chose politics over gaming and chose to make enimies of it's prime audiance. For that,07/28/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenI'm still not clear on how Gamasutra was lacking in accountability or what it was lacking in accountability for.07/28/2015 - 8:38pm
MattsworknameAndrew: You and I agree on most of that. I don't diagree that there should ahve been other actions taken. Now, I do want to point something out, casue Im not sure if it's happened. Have gamers ever tried to have a product banned?07/28/2015 - 8:37pm
 

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