Jaffe: Gamers' Rights Efforts are "Pointless and Naive"

Andy Chalk

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Okysho said:
I must have missed that discussion, because I video games are still being bashed... not only that... I don't see anything done to really strongly enforce them. I still hear 8 year olds butchering english on M rated FPS servers
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/103555-Retailers-Turn-Away-80-of-Kids-Trying-to-Buy-M-Rated-Games [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/103555-Retailers-Turn-Away-80-of-Kids-Trying-to-Buy-M-Rated-Games]

Every FTC study since about 2006 has found a higher rate of age-rating compliance with regards to videogame sales than any other entertainment medium on the market.
 

Gunner 51

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Perhaps Mr Jaffe is correct in that Gamer's rights is "pointless." But I can say this - at least they trying, at least they aren't sat on their rear ends like he was.

At least the courts and the politicians now know that Gamers aren't going to let their rights be trampled on.

Keep at it fellas, fight for what you believe in.
 

Okysho

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The Bandit said:
Okysho said:
Andy Chalk said:
Okysho said:
Why aren't the ESRB ratings being enforced?
They are being enforced. We've talked about this before, you know.
I must have missed that discussion, because I video games are still being bashed... not only that... I don't see anything done to really strongly enforce them. I still hear 8 year olds butchering english on M rated FPS servers
I don't know what your last comment has to do with anything, but that's one of the main problems with this case. It's all based around some people's political agenda.

Mature games are not as obscene as porn. The ESRB is enforced to a higher standard than R rated movies. Objective facts that are being ignored to "protect our children."

Here's a subjective opinion: mature rated games aren't harmful. It's cartoon violence. Halo, perhaps the most popular mature rated video game of all time, has cartoon enemies running around making jokes. It's silly.
kobra_ky: Thanks for clearing that up. I didn't realize ESRB ratings were able to be dismissed that easily... it makes me think... Maybe they should be illegal for children, (I mean children 13 and down really) to play those kinds of games... I know they're not quite comparable, but porn is illegal for minors to view. As for the movies, maybe they should be restricted more too. If people don't want their children exposed to media that's that violent, then the restriction should be more universal perhaps.

If it's society that's complaining about it, rather than parents, maybe they need to look a little harder at what they're saying. There are other factors to youth violence other than video games. It's extremists who've put this steryotype on us.

Bandit: I don't know what criteria needs to be met for rating games and movies, but if this is the case, then they ought to be looked at as a more similar medium. True in the game, the power is more in your hands, but there's also more choice in the game medium, a movie you follow the main character on a killing rampage with not repercussions.

Also, if Halo is considered M (I'm 19 I never bothered to look at the ESRB) but they can show cartoons about people killing aliens, then maybe games are being judged too hard. This might be done on purpose because of anti-game extremists. I mean.. they said similar things about D&D too... "satan's game" and all that
 

Okysho

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Andy Chalk said:
Okysho said:
A 12 year old died a couple years ago because his dad took his x-box away. it caused a massive uproar and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) did a special on it. It wasn't very encouraging..
Which 12-year-old is this?
I can't recall his name.. Brandon maybe? He lived out in Barrie, this news hit Ontario pretty hard I know for a fact

edit: in the end we found out that he died of either hyopthermia or falling out of a tree, but the media and the CBC special still focused on the harm of video games
 

Okysho

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Andy Chalk said:
Okysho said:
I must have missed that discussion, because I video games are still being bashed... not only that... I don't see anything done to really strongly enforce them. I still hear 8 year olds butchering english on M rated FPS servers
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/103555-Retailers-Turn-Away-80-of-Kids-Trying-to-Buy-M-Rated-Games [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/103555-Retailers-Turn-Away-80-of-Kids-Trying-to-Buy-M-Rated-Games]

Every FTC study since about 2006 has found a higher rate of age-rating compliance with regards to videogame sales than any other entertainment medium on the market.
many thanks, I'll read this over (wasn't well informed in 06)
 

Unco

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Wolfram01 said:
I must be missing something, but isn't this basically they want to make ESRB law? (I mean, in essense)... so selling M games to minors is a crime. I'm not sure how that really affects much. But I must be missing something deeper on this issue.
Exactly. I don't think this can "ultimately determine the fate of the videogame medium as we know it".
 

rockyoumonkeys

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He's 100% right. Sign your stupid petitions if it makes you feel better, but you aren't making a lick of difference, and at worst you're making the gaming community look like a bunch of whining entitled brats.
 

Anton P. Nym

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Andy Chalk said:
Okysho said:
A 12 year old died a couple years ago because his dad took his x-box away. it caused a massive uproar and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) did a special on it. It wasn't very encouraging..
Which 12-year-old is this?
Brandon Crisp [http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2008-2009/top_gun/]. I tried looking it up here but didn't find an article... it could be that it slipped under your radar. Long story shortened, the kid had his Xbox taken away by his parents because his grades were slipping and he broke promises to cut down on his gaming to focus on homework. The kid ran away and had a fatal accident (a fall from a tree, IIRC) over the Thanksgiving weekend; the body wasn't found for several days.

Sad story, and (again IIRC, and IMO to boot) made worse by the fifth estate's ham-handed antigaming stance.

-- Steve
 

Superhyperactiveman

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ProtoChimp said:
*massive depressed sigh* Unfortunately I agree with him. I genuinely think we don't stand a chance.
You dumbass! Don't talk like that! The strength of men is in their fighting spirit! Whether it's impossible or laughable, great men open up paths of battle! If there's a wall, we break it down! If there's no path, we forge one with our hands! If you want to give up, give up! But don't expect me to lie down and take it. Who the Hell do you think I am!?!
 

Something Amyss

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I wasn't aware the gamer's rights movement was going after the Supreme Court. Everything I've seen, everyone I've talked to, and most of the web comments seem to target creating a better presence in the face of LEGISLATION, not the USSC.
 

Canid117

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HontooNoNeko said:
There is no such thing as a pointless protest if you don't like something and you aren't even willing to speak out against it why do we have free speech in the first place?
If a protest turns violent then it becomes pointless because it supports the position of the other side. We are remaining peaceful and dealing the double blow of saying "Back off our shit" and proving that gamers are not desensitized murder machines.
 

hitheremynameisbob

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bahumat42 said:
the difference being that gaming is not frowned upon because it doesn't hurt anybody, hell anybody under the age of 40 knows that, and a lot of people over 40 probably do as well, its a socially accepted norm, now gaming and spending all your time on the computer different things and the latter is frowned upon because it is unhealthy
And yet the claim that violent games are morally objectionable to "an average member of the community" and the claim that they are harmful to children are both huge parts of the case against games. California has backed off the latter, but the former is still very much in there (it's necessary to make the point that games are "obscene"). Pretty much every previous attempt has also included the "they hurt kids" thing. You need to appreciate that not everyone in this country knows what we know about games - they don't all agree with us, nor are they willing to listen to evidence that might change their minds. There's a reason these laws keep popping up - because it's not as simple as "everyone knows this stuff."

Staskala said:
Oh, so that's the point. I also never got what the reaction of American gamers was all about.
In that case I have to argue that this law not so much affects the industry itself but rather the (perception of) gamers. After all, pornography is a lucrative industry despite being "obscene". The core gamers will continue to play and new/casual gamers are pretty much unaffected, so money will keep coming.
I also have to note that a statement like Mr. Jaffe's is rather naive, of course the group that is affected by this should make their voices heard, whether those voices directly change anything or not.
And I'd refer you to my previous post about the porn industry versus Hollywood. One of those two can regularly make movies with multi-million dollar budgets, and the other can't. You're saying that because the porn industry is still technically profitable that this is "good enough" for games, as well, but when was the last time anyone working in porn made a profound artistic statement that was also a financial success? You can't just say "as long as they make one dollar it's all good" - the more profitable the industry is the more they'll be willing to RISK on projects that aren't necessarily mainstream or the "same old thing". When a business makes more money it can gamble on some less-than-sure things, and this is how innovation takes place. Porn isn't going anywhere new or exciting, but games still can, if the industry continues to grow unfettered by censorship.

EDIT:
As for the link between calling violent games "obscene" and decreased profits - again, refer to my previous posts. I don't know about where you live, but here Walmart, Target, and Best Buy don't carry porn. These retailers move a huge amount of the industry's product, and if they stop carrying games (which they may if doing so exposes them to legal repercussions), then profits will take a substantial hit.

Then there's the issue that you yourself bring up - the image of people who play violent games is further degraded. That means less people will be willing to try them out, especially when you combine that with making them more difficult to find in stores. You're talking about inhibiting growth, and some current players may even quit thanks to the change. It may just be a small dip in profits, but it's there nontheless.
 

Staskala

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hitheremynameisbob said:
And I'd refer you to my previous post about the porn industry versus Hollywood. One of those two can regularly make movies with multi-million dollar budgets, and the other can't. You're saying that because the porn industry is still technically profitable that this is "good enough" for games, as well, but when was the last time anyone working in porn made a profound artistic statement that was also a financial success? You can't just say "as long as they make one dollar it's all good" - the more profitable the industry is the more they'll be willing to RISK on projects that aren't necessarily mainstream or the "same old thing". When a business makes more money it can gamble on some less-than-sure things, and this is how innovation takes place. Porn isn't going anywhere new or exciting, but games still can, if the industry continues to grow unfettered by censorship.
Really?
I think the porn industry is incredibly diverse and constantly exploring new things.
Kidding aside, yes, saying that it won't affect the industry was a little short-sighted, but the comparision with the porn industry is rather exaggarated. The porn industry is having a hard time not because of its negative stigma, but because noone cares about professional porn. There are thousands of sites on the internet where you can watch porn for free, so why would you take on the embarassment of buying a sex tape in a store?
The video game industry won't suffer the same problems just because it recieves a similar stigma. Surely there will be repercussions, but the extent won't change an awful lot. It will scare off new customers to a certain extend, but most new customers use casual games, which will be unaffected, as a gateway anyway.
Still, no repercussions are obviously better than a few, so let's continue to hope for the best.

Any by the way, a lot of art is also considered obscene, so maybe we'll get somewhere after all ;)
hitheremynameisbob said:
EDIT:
As for the link between calling violent games "obscene" and decreased profits - again, refer to my previous posts. I don't know about where you live, but here Walmart, Target, and Best Buy don't carry porn. These retailers move a huge amount of the industry's product, and if they stop carrying games (which they may if doing so exposes them to legal repercussions), then profits will take a substantial hit.

Then there's the issue that you yourself bring up - the image of people who play violent games is further degraded. That means less people will be willing to try them out, especially when you combine that with making them more difficult to find in stores. You're talking about inhibiting growth, and some current players may even quit thanks to the change. It may just be a small dip in profits, but it's there nontheless.
Edit: Even if games are considered obscene or anything retailers will still be allowed to carry them. They'll only have to control kid's IDs whenever they buy something rated M or above. At least it's that way all over the world where a rating system is considered mandatory.

Well, I'm obviously not a supporter of this system, so allow me to also tell you why I think it really sucks:

Cencorship.
Not in the traditional sense of the word (though mandatory ratings often go hand in hand with a "maximum amount of violence"/"so obscene it is now illegal"), but meaning that devs will tweak games to get a lower rating.

Mainstream integration of "more hardcore" (i.e. everything above farmville) games
Should be obvious, if games are considered even more of a niche they won't get far on that front.

Shifting focus of development
A decline of the FPS genre is a likely event, same thing goes for some RPG subgenre.

Hm, that's it already, I can't think of any more arguments against ratings. Though I don't think that these are minor things.
I could say a few more general things (like how Japan has heavily enforced ratings but is doing just fine) on this matter, but I'll just stop for now.
 

Andy Chalk

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Okysho said:
Andy Chalk said:
Okysho said:
A 12 year old died a couple years ago because his dad took his x-box away. it caused a massive uproar and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) did a special on it. It wasn't very encouraging..
Which 12-year-old is this?
I can't recall his name.. Brandon maybe? He lived out in Barrie, this news hit Ontario pretty hard I know for a fact

edit: in the end we found out that he died of either hyopthermia or falling out of a tree, but the media and the CBC special still focused on the harm of video games
That's who I thought you were talking about. Brandon Crisp. He didn't die because his dad took his Xbox away. He died because he fell out of a tree, which he'd climbed because he had an argument with his parents. Happens all the time, for a thousand different reasons. There was really no gaming angle to it at all, aside from what his parents whipped up in the media.

I think I see what you're saying, but it just illustrates why we have to keep hammering our points to ensure the facts get out. Which is why Jaffe is off the mark. Rolling over and hoping for the best isn't good enough.

Oh, and here:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/the-needles/5839-The-Big-Lie-of-Brandon-Crisp [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/the-needles/5839-The-Big-Lie-of-Brandon-Crisp]

;)
 

Jodah

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Okysho said:
Andy Chalk said:
Okysho said:
Why aren't the ESRB ratings being enforced?
They are being enforced. We've talked about this before, you know.
I must have missed that discussion, because I video games are still being bashed... not only that... I don't see anything done to really strongly enforce them. I still hear 8 year olds butchering english on M rated FPS servers
The problem is two fold. First is that the whiny runts cry until their parents buy them the game. Said parents then ***** when they realize what they bought for their demon spawn and blame the game publishers rather then owning up to their own failings.

The second issue is that, while ratings are enforced for the most part, they are not 100%. Some kids can still obtain the games due to lazy or neglectful sales persons. The part that irritates me about this is that making it law will not change this situation. It is still possible for under aged people to buy alcohol or tobacco, and those are illegal practices. Honestly, until I started growing a beard I had a harder time buying M rated games then I did alcohol.