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The Courts Government Entertainment Games News

Minnesota Pays Video Game Industry $65K In Fees 142

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-let-the-door-hit-you dept.
I Said More Ham writes "Minnesota's attorney general will drop the state's efforts to fine underage buyers of violent videogames after a high court struck down a state law as unconstitutional. The Entertainment Software Association, one of the plaintiffs in the case, announced Monday that the state paid $65,000 in attorney's fees and expenses."
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Minnesota Pays Video Game Industry $65K In Fees

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  • by NMBLNG (1289254) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:31PM (#24009233)
    So, what's the point of having those ratings in the first place? Aside from letting people know if a game is gruesome or not, there's no real repercussions of young kids getting a hold of 'mature' games.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:35PM (#24009277)

    Uh, why do movies have ratings?

  • by maglor_83 (856254) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:37PM (#24009305)

    So that parents can have some idea of the content in the games they buy their children. And stores can implement policies preventing the sale of violent games to minors independent of the government.

  • by Vectronic (1221470) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:38PM (#24009317)

    ooh ooh...my turn...

    Why does food have listed ingredients?

  • by m0rph3us0 (549631) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:39PM (#24009335)

    To provide the customer an objective analysis of things they or the party they are purchasing for may find offensive in the game before purchasing the game in an effort to reduce returns or unsatisfactory feelings arising from the purchase.

  • by Adambomb (118938) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:40PM (#24009351) Journal

    So, what's the point of having those ratings in the first place? Aside from letting people know if a game is gruesome or not, there's no real repercussions of young kids getting a hold of 'mature' games.

    Well, highlighted IS the reason for the rating system. Although the "people" in question are supposed to be the parents who are supposed to,you know , be parenting their children.

    If children are buying these games without parental supervision, then they are already being trusted by their parents to have enough assets available to them to be able to do so. If their children are able to obtain the funds without their parents knowing, then they should be able to realize this when unknown 40$ games appear around the house.

    Busy or not, theres correlatable signs to be able to track your childrens actions. And as a parent, no cry of correlation isnt causation will fly as you don't need a warrant to check their room.

    Do apologize if you're wrong though.

  • by shadylookin (1209874) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:59PM (#24009591)
    To give parents who don't have time to play video games a general idea of the type of content in them so they can make a somewhat informed decision about whether they want their children to play the game. If nothing else it certainly wasn't made so the government could fine children $25 unconstitutionally.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:08PM (#24009675)

    Realize where that money comes from they're now paying, and what it was being used for in the first place.

    Such things affect everyone, no matter how much he doesn't care about games. Or whatever other trivial matter that should be handled by people individually is being made a public issue.

    Nannystates aren't just interfering with your privacy and free decision, they also cost a ton of money that could be spent better.

  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:15PM (#24009733)
    Considering that the "Entertainment Software Association" was listed as one plaintiff, it seems that this case was not levied in reality against the "buyers" but against the "sellers" of the software. Well, not actually even the sellers, but people associated with the selling and manufacture.

    I am just a silly Slashie, but it seems to be like trying to sue the Motion Picture Association of America [mpaa.org] for when some kids sneak into cinema to watch an M rated movie if they are a few months shy of the age limit. Maybe sue Paramount because some teenage girls ducked in and saw Johnny Depp in Pirates III?

    *slap forehead*
  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:18PM (#24009755) Homepage Journal

    Realize where that money comes from they're now paying, and what it was being used for in the first place.

    Such things affect everyone, no matter how much he doesn't care about games. Or whatever other trivial matter that should be handled by people individually is being made a public issue.

    Nannystates aren't just interfering with your privacy and free decision, they also cost a ton of money that could be spent better.

    Actually, the money was spent very efficiently. It gave Pawlenty national exposure as the good guy fighting evil and protecting the children. And at a very convenient time, just when McCain sewed up the nomination and it became obvious that he might need a more straight party line guy as his VP.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:28PM (#24009859)

    I'm sure terrorists think children make fantastic targets. So even they are "thinking of the children".

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:29PM (#24009863) Homepage

    Why not lock up the parents who allow their offspring to possess "mature" material.

    Enforcement of parenting skills would go a lot further than trying to ban everything in sight.

    I wonder if the religious do-gooders who started this suit will have to foot the bill personally.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:34PM (#24009915)

    ...there's no real repercussions of young kids getting a hold of 'mature' games.

    Just because there are no legal repercussions, doesn't mean there are no repercussions. Likewise, if your kids watch an X rated movie, the police don't bust them, but you might ground them. It's the job of the parents to raise kids, not the police.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:37PM (#24009955) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be just as easy for the parents to do a little research on the game to figure out of it was right for their kids? OK, it probably wouldn't be just as easy, but the parents could make a much better judgement call if they downloaded the demo, or just went to a few review sites to see what the game was like. Instead of trusting the ratings blindly.
  • by spydabyte (1032538) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:43PM (#24010011)
    What kind of law is that? One of morale judgment? I'm not going to get started into laws, but the parents are not doing anything illegal. They're making the decision we, the United States, have decided to give them once they have lived for 18 years. We've stated that once you've been alive for 18 years then you are physically and mentally mature enough to understand the situation you make your conscious decision in.

    Whether or not that's correct or not is a whole other ball game.
  • by Thugthrasher (935401) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:08PM (#24010211)
    That would be a best case scenario. But if you are a parent, and you have 3 children all aged of 12-18 (mine did at one point about 15 years ago, not the mention the 10 year old they had at that point) and the children are all interested in different things, it becomes a nightmare to try to keep track of every individual thing they want. Now, if one of the children is interested in video games, the parent should probably try to keep some handle on what the more popular games out there are, so they can easily make calls if the kid asks "Can I have this game?" However, if kid suddenly asks for "Obscure Game X" the parent might not be able to make an easy call while at the store...it's quite convenient if there are ratings in that situation. If the game is rated "E for everyone" or "T for teen" then the parent should be safe assuming it is an acceptable game for their 15 year old child. However, if the game is rated "M for mature," the parent can THEN say "Well, not right now, let me look into it a bit and I'll decide for you." Again, these are close to ideal parents in this case, but just an example of how ratings are useful, even if there isn't a law governing how games are sold based on ratings.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:11PM (#24010233)

    So the only thing ratings do is allow parents to determine whether a film is suitable for their kids?

    Sounds good, let's keep it that way.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:24PM (#24010327)

    It ain't that easy.

    Do you remember the Quake ad? Unfortunately I can't find that picture online, but it depicted one of those "ideal families", mommy, daddy, two kids, gathered around the computer, all smiling, the only thing that was missing was some sort of halo around them to make it a poster for some religious group.

    Now imagine someone buying Quake based on that ad.

    But even aside of ads, it isn't easy to find real information about a game online. If anything, you get opinions, praise and slander alike, but really little info what it's about. You also can't say that you go by producer, there is no studio that produces "only" a certain kind of games. Playing it yourself may also yield no sensible information within a few hours, or at least can't rule out that sooner or later you run into something you don't want your kids to see.

    Not to mention that there are few parents who actually play well enough to get far...

    So I do see ratings as a good thing to give parents guidelines. What's important, though, is to also note why a game got a certain rating. Why has a game a certain rating? Violence? Sex? Drug use? Language? I think I'm not alone when I say that a PG13 (language) is not the same for me as a PG13 (violence). I laugh at the former, you hear worse on the average schoolyard. I would at least take a look at the latter.

    But what stands is that the final arbiter when it comes to what a kid can or can't see is the parents. No state, no government, no "opinion group", no lobbyist, no organisation, no company.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:34PM (#24010427)

    Who the heck are you to tell me how to raise my kids and what I may or may not show them?

  • by kitsunewarlock (971818) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:35PM (#24010439) Journal
    Because allergins can lead to severe medical problems?
  • by jmac1492 (1036880) on Monday June 30, 2008 @10:29PM (#24010827)
    Of course they can. But it's not illegal to sell someone milk, even if they are lactose intolerant. It's the person's responsibility to know they can't handle milk.
    I can just hear you asking, "But wait! Kids don't realize that their allergens are bad for them. We currently handle selling video games EXACTLY how we handle selling milk: Making the kids PARENTS responsible for preventing them from getting their hands on things that their parents think are bad for them.
  • by KGIII (973947) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:07PM (#24011131) Journal
    Holding parents responsible? Pfft! We can't do THAT now can we?
  • by KGIII (973947) on Monday June 30, 2008 @11:19PM (#24011231) Journal
    Sex is well defined so I'm gonna call you an idiot. Please don't be offended. Really you're just ignorant and, for that, I don't blame you. "Digital penetration" is one such example where coitus did not occur but is still a violation of various laws. For instance, to take what you said, "Well, she was 4 and we "didn't have sex" so it isn't illegal." (Sorry to pick on you and I'm pretty sure you're probably not a child molester but good luck telling the folks after they've read your last post.)
  • Re:Correct... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @01:36AM (#24012153)

    And do you know what solves the horror movie stuff?

    Going hunting for deer.

    When you put either buckshot or a razer-tipped arrow down its gut and watch it writhe in pain before its last breath, you know what terror and horror is... And you were the one that caused it. Chainsaws and fingernail freddy dont scare me. To me, they're boring. Instead, when you shoot arrows or bullets, or catch and skin a fish, you know what life is and how to snuff it out.

    I did it when I was 12. I killed animals 3x the size of myself. And watching a deer writhe in pain before you take your pistol (you ALWAYS carry a pistol, even if you have a rifle) and shoot it in the head just does something... Either you like it or abhor it. I could do it if that meant eating or not, but I choose not to.

  • by xalorous (883991) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:35AM (#24012467) Journal

    Which is exactly the point. Ultimately parents are responsible for their children, and they should be held accountable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:48AM (#24012537)

    3hrs of the lawyers time?

  • Money well spent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ghostalker474 (1022885) <Ghostalker@gPOLL ... om minus painter> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:38AM (#24013103)
    I'm sure the residents of Minnesota are thrilled where their tax dollars are going.
  • by Lunarsight (1053230) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @06:22AM (#24013537) Homepage

    Of course they can. But it's not illegal to sell someone milk, even if they are lactose intolerant. It's the person's responsibility to know they can't handle milk.
    I can just hear you asking, "But wait! Kids don't realize that their allergens are bad for them. We currently handle selling video games EXACTLY how we handle selling milk: Making the kids PARENTS responsible for preventing them from getting their hands on things that their parents think are bad for them.

    Therein lies the problem - there are a lot of 'not responsible' parents out there.

    I play Grand Theft Auto IV online via X-Box Live, and a lot of the people playing sound WAY too young to be playing it.

    Ironically enough, it's often the high-pitched ones that sound like they're barely out of grade school that are the biggest troublemakers. Some of them cuss more foully than the adults do! (It's not to say the adults won't shoot you dead, but they're typically more polite about it.)

    If a parent thinks their kid is mature enough to handle a game like this, then I'm okay with them buying it on their behalf. But I'll level with you - I don't think many parents know their kids half as well as they think they do, and some don't even make the effort to 'know' them at all.

  • by loafula (1080631) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @08:23AM (#24014147)

    If a parent thinks their kid is mature enough to handle a game like this, then I'm okay with them buying it on their behalf. But I'll level with you - I don't think many parents know their kids half as well as they think they do, and some don't even make the effort to 'know' them at all.

    Then these kids have far more to worry about than video games.

  • by CauseWithoutARebel (1312969) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @10:33AM (#24015655) Journal

    There's a causal link between decreased motor and mental faculties and alcohol, and between cigarette smoke and various diseases. Hence the prohibition on selling them to people who, in theory, are unable to make an appropriate decision regarding the use of those products because they haven't reached the ages of 18 and 21 where magical fairy-thinking kicks in and you suddenly gain 50 IQ points so that...

    OK, wait... tangent there...

    Anyway, the whole argument here is that the state couldn't prove a causal link between violent video games and violent behavior, which was the argument they used to justify the law.

    I have been deputized by the analogy police so you're under arrest. No slashdot for you for three days!

    What's more interesting is the ruling that video games are protected speech, effectively making it impossible for the state to restrict them at all.

    I wonder why gouging eyes out and decapitation is "protected speech" but crude language isn't... in theory, you could publicly display a game of Manhunt.... but you'd have to censor the swearing.

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