Registered sex offenders of all designations residing in the state of New York will no longer be able to interact with children in some online console and PC games. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office has convinced several platform holders and game companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros. and Disney Interactive Media Group to shut down the communication privileges of registered sex offenders. The New York State AG is calling it "Operation: Game Over" (official press release here).
As well intentioned as this agreement might seem, it is troublesome because an Attorney General from one state has managed to bend some of the biggest players in the games industry to his will instead of allowing the New York State legislature pass a law that deals with the issue. On the other hand there are rules in place about online interactions and registered sex offenders related to Facebook and other Internet activities. Some states require registered sex offenders to turn over all their account information to a state agency or law enforcement.
We can assume that this agreement covers online gaming on the Xbox 360, iOS devices, in World of Warcraft and other Blizzard games, all of Turbine's MMO titles, and Disney's various online games. Sony and Nintendo were not mentioned, but chances are they will join the ranks at some point. Schneiderman described online gaming as the possible "21 century crime scene" if steps aren't taken now to deal with sex offenders. He also said that his office is looking at ways to get this agreement expanded to other states.