This Friday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Common Sense Video Game Bill into law. The bill, being pushed in states across the country by a group called Common Sense Media, restricts the sale and rental of ultra-violent video games to minors. It is essentially a government-mandated enforcement of the (currently voluntary) ESRB rating system. Enforcement efforts can lead to fines for retailers that sell or rent mature rated games to minors. California joins Illinois and Michigan, who have also signed similar bills into law.
“We applaud Governor Schwarzenegger for signing this landmark legislation,” said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. “Even though he’s a major figure in the entertainment industry, he’s a father first. In that role, the Governor understands that ultra-violent and sexually violent media content is harmful to kids’ development.”
This issue is a controversial one, especially for gamers. Sales demographic show that the core audience for video games is still gamers 18 to 35, so it is unclear what effect, if any, this new law will have on retail game sales.
“Graphic and sexually-charged media violence needs to be seen for what it is — a threat as dangerous to our kids as tobacco use or underage drinking,” said Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media.