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XBox (Games) Microsoft Games

A Right To Bear Virtual Arms? 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the preserving-xbox-live's-pristine-reputation dept.
theodp writes "In the world of virtual goods, reports GeekWire's Todd Bishop, it looks like there's no such thing as a Second Amendment. According to a forum post by an Epic Games community manager, a new policy will remove 'gun-like' items from Microsoft's Xbox Live Avatar Marketplace on January 1. The policy reportedly applies to accessories for the avatars that represent Xbox Live users, not to games themselves, and owners of virtual weaponry like the Gears of War 3 Avatar Lancer purchased before the policy goes into effect will be permitted to continue to wield them."
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A Right To Bear Virtual Arms?

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  • Walled Garden (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday December 26, 2011 @04:38PM (#38496946)
    And people wonder why I hate the walled garden approach to gaming... You can blow people away, but you can't say fuck... Idiots.
    • by houghi (78078) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:32PM (#38497278)

      No female nipples either. They are apparently not suitable for young children.

    • Re:Walled Garden (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:02PM (#38497474)

      You can't say "fuck"? Are you kidding? You can say anything you want on XBLA. You're constantly accosted by ten year olds in Call of Duty throwing out every racist, homophobic, repulsive and offensive comment possible and there's no option but to either use it or don't use it. However, yes, it's bullshit. Why should a grown ass middle aged gamer have their experience nerfed to the point that it's appropriate for a six year old child? They have CATEGORIES that you select when you sign up for an account. There is a FAMILY section. If you are a child or you have children, select FAMILY. Then, Microsoft needs to actually pay attention to that fucking option (because they don't seem to use the Family/Pro/Casual/Underground/etc option for fucking ANYTHING).

      • You know you can mute individual players, right?
        • by g0bshiTe (596213)
          In any game this is always the argument for some 10 year old swearing his ass off while tea-bagging you at the same time.

          It does get old having to mute the everyone in the world.

          How about a system that can detect the pitch of someones voice to guess their age.
          "I'm sorry, but our tests indicate your balls haven't dropped yet, as such you will no longer be able to play this game, in the meantime here are some offerings we think you will enjoy."
      • by Unipuma (532655)

        (because they don't seem to use the Family/Pro/Casual/Underground/etc option for fucking ANYTHING).

        Rest assured, they are using it to sell to marketing.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Why should a grown ass middle aged gamer have their experience nerfed to the point that it's appropriate for a six year old child?

        Because Microsoft knows that if they should put in controls that prevent six year olds from seeing the gun items on avatars, eventually they will fail and then there will be a lawsuit. But if they just ban the items altogether, this isn't going to happen. And since statistically nobody is going to cancel their Xbox Live accounts over this, since they need them to play the games you've invested in online, there is no reason to do anything else. Honestly, it's like you're three or something, the "why" is so p

    • Bad analogy... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917) on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:49PM (#38497840)
      First, the US Constitution affirms the rights of individuals against government interference.

      Secondly, a private organization, such as MS, can tell their employees not to carry arms into the workplace, and it's perfectly OK.

      Finally, if an argument is being made that there are "virtual arms," then one must refer to the "virtual Constitution." Seems to me that's the contract/TOS. I suspect it allows them to do what they want, and the user's option is to cancel their subscription. Really, does someone think they have rights when playing in MS's garden? Seems to me that it's only privileges, as provided by the contract.
    • This is a really really stupid decision when you consider that the number of american households reporting gun ownership rose from 41-47% from last year to this year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2011 @04:43PM (#38496990)

    There are many real world places that won't allow you to enter with a gun. They are not in violation of the 2nd amendment, neither is this. Being a virtual environment has nothing to do with it.

    • That was my first thought - you are generally allowed to keep a firearm in your home but you can't take it with you wherever you please regardless of permits. Xbox Live could be analagous to a mall or other large, privately owned public space - if the mall bans guns then the second amendment can't stop them. If Xbox Live somehow banned you from having gun avatars on your own personal machine while not connected to Live, that would be closer to a second amendment issue. However, because we're talking bits
      • by EdIII (1114411)

        Can you imagine the delicious irony of complaining that you can't arm your virtual bear avatar?

        You want a vicious looking brute with armor and advanced weaponry and they keep telling you to put up a Care Bear. Think of the children.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:27PM (#38497236) Homepage Journal

      >>There are many real world places that won't allow you to enter with a gun.

      Yes, it's called "California."

      http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/10/local/la-me-brown-guns-20111011 [latimes.com]

      >>They are not in violation of the 2nd amendment

      Yes, it is.

      I ANAL though.

      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        Yes, it's called "California."

        Not to mention most of the rest of the world.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Monday December 26, 2011 @06:37PM (#38497722)

        Disclaimer: IANAL either, but I'm a bit knowledgeable on the topic.

        There were two major supreme court cases regarding the Second Amendment in the last few years.

        The first was District of Columbia v. Heller [wikipedia.org]. The second was McDonald v. Chicago [wikipedia.org]. What do these mean?

        As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, the right of an individual to keep and bear arms on their own property (home, land, etc.) is recognized and cannot ever be taken away. This means things like Chicago, San Francisco, and DC's gun ban laws are/were unconstitutional.

        We have unfortunately not yet addressed concealed carry or open carry on a nationwide level. I really hope that it happens soon. I live in New Jersey which is almost as bad as California when it comes to gun laws. I've known people who were shot, raped, etc. and completely incapable of defending themselves because of our shitty laws.

        Again, IANAL, but "bear" arms presumably means, you know, to actually carry them. (That is, in fact, the definition [wiktionary.org] of the transitive.) Although the SCOTUS has yet to decide on this issue, it's pretty clear cut to me that we ought to be able to carry guns basically anywhere per the constitution.

        Before anyone talks about the potential ruination of society, keep in mind that there are more than a few [wordpress.com] countries in the world where this very thing happens and their society hasn't fallen apart because everybody is armed. Handing someone a gun doesn't instantly make them an idiot.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > I've known people who were shot, raped, etc. and completely incapable of defending themselves because of our shitty laws

          To be fair, you are still completely unable to defend yourself when you owe a gun.
          The USA is probably the only place in the world where people are stupid enough to believe the lobby and think a gun makes you safe.
          Actually, it is hightly unlikely that you are gonna be agressed when you carry the gun and even if it's the case it's unlokely that you are gonna be able to use it. Which pro

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I am still astounded by the fact that despite the vast amount of studies and statistics published during the last fifty years, some americans are totally unable to understand this basic fact.

            between 2008 and 2009, as gun sales soared, the number of murders in our country decreased 7.2 percent. [nraila.org]

            ...Virtually never are murderers the ordinary, law-abiding people against whom gun bans are aimed. Almost without exception, murderers are extreme aberrants with lifelong histories of crime, substance abuse, psychopathology, mental retardation and/or irrational violence against those around them, as well as other hazardous behavior, e.g., automobile and gun accidents." -- Don B. Kates, writing on statist

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          Handing someone a gun doesn't instantly make them an idiot.

          But handing an idiot a gun doesn't instantly make them sane. Let's work on fixing the laws so that people like Jared Loughner can't get guns. Once we're no longer providing lethal, long range weapons to crazies and felons, then we can work on easing up the restrictions on the responsible citizens.

          And before you even respond with the two biggest cliches:

          1) "Outlaw guns and only outlaws have guns." The fact that some bad guys get guns doesn't mean we should make it easy for them.
          2) "If people were allowed

        • by dkf (304284)

          Again, IANAL, but "bear" arms presumably means, you know, to actually carry them. (That is, in fact, the definition of the transitive.) Although the SCOTUS has yet to decide on this issue, it's pretty clear cut to me that we ought to be able to carry guns basically anywhere per the constitution.

          Yes, but you definitely don't have the right to go onto private property without invitation. If the owner of that property says "You may only enter my property if you are unarmed" then you have to leave you weapon behind in order to enter legally. It's your choice whether you do that, or to stay off their property and armed (or to break the law by trespassing, in which case you'd better be ready to deal with the consequences).

          • by swillden (191260)

            Again, IANAL, but "bear" arms presumably means, you know, to actually carry them. (That is, in fact, the definition of the transitive.) Although the SCOTUS has yet to decide on this issue, it's pretty clear cut to me that we ought to be able to carry guns basically anywhere per the constitution.

            Yes, but you definitely don't have the right to go onto private property without invitation. If the owner of that property says "You may only enter my property if you are unarmed" then you have to leave you weapon behind in order to enter legally. It's your choice whether you do that, or to stay off their property and armed (or to break the law by trespassing, in which case you'd better be ready to deal with the consequences).

            You are correct, but remember that there is a substantial amount of private property which is open to the public, and there are extensive limitations on what the owners of such property can restrict. In legal terms, any place of business that opens its doors to the general public is called a "public accommodation", and it may not exclude any person on the basis of their membership in a protected class, per federal law. In addition to that, many states further limit the authority of public accommodation o

      • by msauve (701917) on Monday December 26, 2011 @10:47PM (#38499636)
        ""For law enforcement officers and community members, any type of weapon being carried, openly or concealed, could appear as a threat to their well-being and is regarded as a public safety threat,'' Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Monday."

        Please tell me that LA County sheriff deputies no longer carry firearms, in accordance with the sheriff's beliefs.

        Somehow, I suspect this is a case of "the rules apply to other people, not us."
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It's true, a firearm COULD be a threat to the well-being of a cop, especially when carried by a true patriot witnessing police malfeasance. It's the same reason California used to have a law enshrining the right to carry firearms in any public place -- they had the intent of serving the people -- and it's the same reason that law has been replaced with a variety of laws banning the carrying of firearms in California for most people in most cases, and especially where it is most important, like in parks (occ

      • by six025 (714064)

        I ANAL though.

        Yes, but are you a lawyer? That seems more appropriate to the discussion ...

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          this is new internet slang you can use in the bed room. Now you can ask a woman if she's a lawyer, if she says 'No' as in I ANAL then you can plunge right in. Give it a try on your next encounter.

      • by Bucky24 (1943328)
        Interesting... I hadn't actually considered that the "right to bear arms" means the right to bear them in public as well...
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Monday December 26, 2011 @04:54PM (#38497062)

    What's the point of that decision? A kid seeing a virtual gun is going to bring about the apocalypse?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Even weirder - Microsoft is still going to sell, and even make, games where you not only carry guns, but use them (sometimes quite violently). This is basically removing them from their out-of-game avatars.

      Imagine if Nintendo pulled out the Charlie Chaplin mustache from their Miis (under the assumption that too many people were confusing it for the near-identical but far-more-evil Hitler 'stache), while still allowing hundreds of WW2 games to be made. That's the kind of stupidity we're looking at right now.

      • by geniice (1336589)

        It isn't stupidity its marketing. Games have a self selected audience. People who don't like virtual guns won't buy games that feature them whatever you do so you do but the remaining market is large enough to make profit. Thus you make games with virtual guns and market them as such. The Xbox live Avatar system needs to be as acceptable to as many people as possible since the theoretical market is everyone with an Xbox 360. As a result you get the Avatar market equivalent of Garfield.

        • Re:Why? (Score:4, Funny)

          by EdIII (1114411) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:39PM (#38497322)

          As a result you get the Avatar market equivalent of Garfield

          So you advocate narcissistic overeating fat cats as suitable for children! How dare you, sir. How dare you.

        • I believe the real problem is oversensitive idiots and the desire to cater to them.

        • It isn't stupidity its marketing

          Brilliant marketing, at that.

          We all know that none (or, at least, few enough that the number falls into the realm of 'noise') of the people complaining about this are going to stop buying Xbox games/paying for XBL Gold because of it, so by pandering to the (as described elsewhere in the subthread) 'oversensitive idiots', they're counting on a net win.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I believe but have no reference stating that California used to have a rule saying that you had to put all to-go alcohol purchases into a bag, perhaps to try to keep children from seeing that adults were buying booze or something. My local Safeway went from really anal about making sure your booze was in a bag to not caring, but my Grocery Outlet seems to still be bagging.

  • by Rix (54095) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:09PM (#38497136)

    Don't be surprised when an international audience (like the internet) laughs at you for it.

    • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:15PM (#38497162) Homepage Journal

      Don't be surprised when an international audience (like the internet) laughs at you for it.

      They may laugh at us in between crises, but when things go wrong, they are more than happy to see the Cowboy Yanks show up to save them.

      LK

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mashiki (184564)

        Funny enough, even Canadians are getting to the point where the right to bare arms is becoming a point in culture. We've scrapped the long arm(rifle) registry just this past october, and there's been long but steady increase in the number of people getting restricted licenses.

      • by jjohnson (62583)

        Really? This crap gets moderated insightful, when my post mentioning the last two countries to have the Cowboy Yanks show up "to save them" gets -1 Troll?

        Fine, I'll rephrase: "Still getting Thank You cards from Vietnam?"

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:19PM (#38497188)
      Considering the protests in the UK and Australia now, I think a lot of places have stopped laughing.
    • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:27PM (#38497238)

      This would be the same "international audience" that we periodically have to save from some other part of the "international audience" because nobody but the Americans and the bad guys are comfortable around weapons. Right?

      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        This would be the same "international audience" that we periodically have to save from some other part of the "international audience"

        Only if they have oil

      • by kiwimate (458274)

        Pretty tired of seeing this nonsense that the U.S. is the only country on the planet that helps other people being repeated.

        Firstly, I do hope you realize that very rarely does the U.S. get engaged in something unilaterally. They are usually part of an international force, with many other nations participating.

        Look up places like Timor, MINURSO [un.org] in the Western Sahara, MONUSCO [un.org] in the Congo, etc., etc. Read the history of WWII. Look up the number of times other countries have offered to help the U.S. and eithe

        • Pretty tired of seeing this nonsense that the U.S. is the only country on the planet that helps other people being repeated. (snip 12 more lines of tangential wharrgarbl)

          Looks like you meant this reply for a different thread, or perhaps a different story altogether.

      • by Nemyst (1383049)

        Iraq and Afghanistan totally needed to be saved. The populace just loves Americans now.

    • by Pi1grim (1956208)

      Don't see anything to laugh about, and it is quite sad to see that some countries have forfeited this right in exchange for an illusion of security.

    • So if someone in your country wants to own something you disagree with, then its okay for you to prevent them from owning it? Remind me, what's that called again?

      It's a right that everyone has. Plenty of jackasses around the world say the same thing about other rights, weather it is free speech in China (free speech disrupts social harmony just like guns only kill) or Saudi Arabia (women driving opens them up to social corruption just like guns only kill) or even here in the US with prohibition (cannabis

    • by dbc (135354)

      As an American with a Swiss grandfather, I beg to differ.

  • by brusk (135896) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:29PM (#38497258)

    It's not a law. It's not the government restricting what you can do in a virtual environment, and even if it were a law, that would be a First, not Second, Amendment issue. This is no different from a store having a policy of not selling guns. Or more precisely, of a flea market setting a policy that its vendors cannot sell guns (or candy or wooden nickels or whatever else they want). What would the alternative be? Should Microsoft be forced to sell guns on Xbox Live? That would be a clear First Amendment violation.

  • If you want to bear virtual arms, you must have a virtual permit to bear arms...
    Further more, it should be possible to distinguish fake virtual arms from real virtual arms, so you can see who (and what) you have in front of you.

    But the best thing is I'm virtually bullet proof :)

  • ffs. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Monday December 26, 2011 @05:48PM (#38497380)

    its a game. the only rights you have within the realms of a virtual environment are those provided by the terms of service.

    I don't care how many hours you put in to perfecting your online avatar in your mothers basement, its still just a game.

  • by Tom (822)

    The 2nd has actual implications and matters.

    This isn't "virtual arms" we are talking about, it is virtual fashion accessoirs. Virtual arms would be something that can do virtual damage. The "virtual" equivalent of the 2nd would be the right to own DDoS tools or something.

    Just because it is a virtual something that looks like a firearm doesn't make it the virtual equivalent of one. If you can't shoot someone with it, even virtually, it is not a firearm. It's something that looks like one. But the 2nd doesn't

    • by PPH (736903)

      So the issue would be better stated as gamers not having a First Amendment right to adorn their Avatars with gun-like fashion accessories.

  • So what will gamers use to battle each other, spitwads and rubber bands?
  • So, is pizza a vegetable, or an implement of death [wkrn.com]?

    Taylor said the school system has made it clear that if her son eats his pizza into the shape of a gun again and there is a similar occurrence, he will be suspended.

  • Oh shit, my avatar is in need of an AR15/M16/M4 or some other evil black rifle - I tried looking a while back and couldn't find one and just figured MS banned them to protect teh childrenz from images of firearms. Anyone know where I can get one before its too late?
  • So your XBL avatar won't be displayed with anything resembling a gun (unless you're grandfathered, which means virtual guns will still be all over XBL)...but you can still use virtual guns inside the games themselves to shoot enemies in the face, right?

    Makes sense, MS. Got to protect the chilluns.

  • currently avatars are accessible in-game in some games. MS impose a limit of E or E10+ rating on those games. Having those lancers appearing in those games can have some issues.

  • Seriously. There are such significant bigger issues to worry about in the world other then some geek feeling slighted because they can't buy their avatar a weapon. Is this not the definition of vapid?

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