Ted Price Speaks Out On Possible Censorship

Ted Price posted an insightful blog at the Insomniac Games website speaking against a law that could possibly restrict access to video games, going further than the current industry imposed ratings system that already exists in the US.

"It’s very important to note that no other form of media has to contend with this kind of restriction," states Price. "It’s not illegal for those under 17 to attend a R rated movie, to read a Stephen King book or to listen to Howard Stern. But if the Supreme Court rules against the game industry, it could be illegal for someone under 18 to buy Resistance if the game is deemed inappropriate for minors under the new law. And as content creators, if there is a chance that our games will appear in an “Adults Only” section of game stores we will have to restrict what we create to avoid going out of business. To me such a situation is tantamount to government censorship."

Ted Price goes on, asking the press to help raise awareness on issues that affect gaming as an industry and an art form.

"What I’d love to see are more game news outlets focusing on big issues like this," says Ted. "Game sites can encourage gamers to take a stand and tell their representatives that games deserve the same protection as other art forms. We have the strength of hundreds of millions on our side. We need to take advantage of our numbers to make it crystal clear to our government that a law like this cannot stand.

"And one article doesn’t do it. Those who are reporting the news should be treating this case with the gravity it deserves – giving us frequent updates, interviewing those involved, opining on the outcome and explaining the consequences of a decision that goes against gamers."

We in Australia are no strangers to such issues. The R18+ rating in Australia has gone quiet recently, but the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General will be meeting in December and the ratings system, as it applies to gaming, will be on the agenda. We're currently looking at ways to help everyone get involved in ensuring the correct outcome.

Watch this space.


Comments

    I don't particularly feel much sympathy. Things like GTA are NOT designed for children. I'm a teacher and I always feel awkward where I'm walking around a classroom and overhere the year 4 kids talking about how in Fallout they could beat people's heads in and have their eyeballs and brains and such go flying or other games such as L4D2.

    They shouldn't be playing them.

      To be perfectly honest, I think that the parent's are to blame... I mean, no GAME or EB employee sells M15+ games to a 10y/o, they know that they can be held liable for it.

      If the parents are so careless with their children's welfare, then perhaps they should not be parents...

      Have you tried discussing your feelings on the matter with the parents? I think that they should know how those games are effecting their childs behaviour, so hopefully they will change their ways...

        Seems clear to me that the parents aren't doing their job. Retailers might also be looking the other way.

        I'm all for anything that prevents minors from getting access to restricted material. As long as I can get mine.

    I think he's being a bit disingenuous when he says it's not unlawful for somebody under 17 to attend an R rated movie over there. While he's correct in that it's not unlawful, the fact is that the cinemas generally won't let them in anyway. The R rating over there specifies that under-17 year olds are only allowed in if accompanied by an adult (kind of like the MA15+ rating here).

    The difference is that self-regulation in the games industry hasn't worked because too many retailers don't enforce the ratings.

    There's certainly no need for separate "Adults Only" sections in stores, they just need to refuse to sell the R rated games to people under the appropriate age unless they are accompanied by an adult - just like the movies.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - most of the rest of the developed world have legally enforcible ratings systems and it hasn't harmed the industry in the slightest. As long as adults are free to choose for themselves what they play (and what their kids play) then there's nothing wrong with enforcible adults-only ratings.

    It's interesting that this article likens this debate in America with the R rating debate here in Australia, because they're actually very similar. Except while gamers and the industry are all campaigning FOR a legally enforcible R rating here in Australia, we're somehow supposed to oppose the same thing in the USA?

    @ Mic I agree they shouldn't be but the games don't leap into the kids hands, It's the people who buy them that are at fault.

    I am a firm supporter of appropriate ratings for games (go R18+ rating!) and feel that the need for a proper adult rating is important for gaming, in fact when it comes to age appropriateness games should be assessed on the exact same criteria as movies/tv/books etc.

    As per Mic's comments, if you create an adult game then what is the issue of having games stores set up to ensure that they are only sold to adults. The problem of course comes from excessive/special criteria being applied to games due to their "interactive" nature.

    So to the Oz Classification Board, the US Supreme Court and all other regulatory bodies, please let us adults have adult games. Who knows, equitable rating systems across all media may just help a bit more to encourage innovation and experimentation in our favourite form of entertainment!

    TBH, if something is RATED R, as in RESTRICTED to 18 and up, then a law that stops people under the age of 18 is ok. As long as the rating system is the same, then meh. The game is R for a reason, not to make it look cool.

    Methinks there might be an ulterior motive... perhaps the publishers of 'restrictable' violent games KNOW that a large part of their audience are hormonally-charged tweens and teens.

    Otherwise, what's the difference?

    Ted's argument seems a bit disingenuous. His creativity is already limited by the ESRB. If the ESRB rates his game AO, then many retailers won't carry it. Therefore he is likely to develop games to fit those ratings. Why is developing games to fit a government rating any worse?

    And as a consumer, I'd prefer to have an accountable ratings body rather than have them handled by an unaccountable industry association.

    And this is why I don't trust old people with modern day issues...

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