ESA reimbursed for violent video game legal battle

Brings total reimbursement received to $3.1 million

The Entertainment Software Association will receive $950,000 from the state of California for legal fees spent fighting a law on violent video games.

The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of the ESA last June, killing a California law that sought to ban the sales of video games to children, and affording games First Amendment protection.

"Senator Yee and Governor Schwarzenegger wasted more than $1 million in taxpayer funds at a time when Californians could ill afford it," said CEO Michael D. Gallagher.

"However we feel strongly that some of these funds should be used to improve services for California's youth."

The money will come from taxpayers, and brings the total reimbursements received by the ESA over legal fees for fighting video game regulation to $3.1 million.

A percentage of these funds will be donated to a education programme centred around video games.

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Latest comments (8)

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios6 years ago
Hardly showed the US videogame industry in a good light... 'It's our first amendment right to sell violent games to kids!' Rest of the world shakes it's head in disbelief.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Alex, what these legislators fail to recognize is that every major retailer already follows strict store policy to not sell M rated games to people under 17. Criminalizing it just adds an unnecessary level of junk to our already overburdened legal system.

This is nothing more than feather in the cap legislation to make him look good for the parents to vote for him.
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Quaisha Thornton Founder & CEO, GameAvation, LLC6 years ago
Alex, the parents are and should be responsible for how their kids get their hands on violent games. First of all, these games are just games. Fantasy. Just like movies are. It's entertainment that represents how our world is.

Shielding children from violence doesn't work because our race is a violent people. Teaching children about violence and how and when not to use it DOES work. Just like sex. Whether or not you tell your kids about it does not stop them from learning about it doing it. Therefore, the case being brought to ESA was ignorant and proved to be just a self-promotion for votes.
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Bryan Robertson Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto6 years ago
@Alex: More like "it's our first amendment right to be treated the same as other forms of entertainment".
To limit sales of violent games, but not other violent media, singles games out as being somehow being inferior or less worthy of protection.

If other forms of media are protected by the first amendment, then so should games. This is the issue.
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Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios6 years ago
First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So it's a freedom of speech to be allowed to sell violent games to kids? Absolutely ludicrous.

@Quaisha, not allowing say a 3 year old to play MW3 is not 'shielding children from violence'. If you start off from a precept that 'our race is violent' then you're on a hiding to nothing. Comparing learning about violence to learning sex is frankly stupidly flawed arguement.
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@Alex I do know what you mean, but the normalising or enculturating impact of media on individuals is not as I understand it a straight-line thing. For example, it may be more harmful to have normalised the idea that any number of deaths of people who are not-us counts less than a single death of our own; a common theme in narratives of all types, including videogames. What is taught then allows harm on a far greater scale, and a scale whose horrible effects are still yet sold on as (and embraced as) virtuous. One senses an element of cart-before-the-horse. Narratives take those themes because it is culturally useful. We ought oppose them, but we perhaps ought more to oppose the end use of them.

I suspect it is not the depiction simply of violence, but prejudiced and insufficiently unnuanced violence, that does most harm. Think of the movies like Once Were Warriors that attempt to show violence in all its illness. Is that kind of violence bad to show.

The issue with the Californian theory is that it was overly simplistic, badly targeted, and targeted with bias against videogames in particular, arising from all kinds of obfuscation and pseudo-science. In fact, arising not out of any actual desire to deal with harms most probably caused.
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Stefano Ronchi Indie Game Developer 6 years ago
Me personally I love the fact that the judge is all there: "Tax payers money was wasted at a time when they can ill afford it!!"

A million was wasted.

Three millions given in compensation. From tax payers money.

Love it.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 6 years ago
@ Alex
"Hardly showed the US videogame industry in a good light... 'It's our first amendment right to sell violent games to kids!' Rest of the world shakes it's head in disbelief. "


"So it's a freedom of speech to be allowed to sell violent games to kids? Absolutely ludicrous."

You dont appear to fully understand what has happened here and what actually is going on.

First as Jimmy Webb has pointed out there is already a process inplace in every major retailer in the US not just in California to prevent little Jonny or Sue from walking in and buying games with an ESRB M rating.

The law actually did not seek to block the sales of these games to minors, it was in effect a way of banning games because the retailers would not take the risk of having their employees finned and charged with a crime over this. And it is because of this that the first ammendment was envoked in defending games as a protected media just like books and movies.

No one either in the games industry or within the ESA are trying to sell these types of games to minors, yes it happens but who is to blame?
Is it the industry, the retailers? NO!!!
Its the parents who need to do their jobs and pay attention to what little Jonny and Sue are playing on their consoles, phones and computers.
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