US legislators single out violent game makers

Tax Reform Act of 2014 drafters say they're withholding tax credits from violent game devs, but wording covers all software development

American lawmakers aren't constitutionally allowed to block the sale of violent video games, but they're looking at other ways to discourage the industry from creating such titles. The House of Representative's Ways and Means Committee yesterday released its Tax Reform Act of 2014, which it said would make a research and development tax credit permanent except for companies that make violent video games.

The Republican-led Ways and Means Committee's executive summary specifically lists the provision in a section under the heading, "Simplify Code and Lower Rates: Close Lobbyist Loopholes." The summary gives no indication as to what criteria would be used to define a video game as "violent." Even the 979-page draft of the legislation doesn't appear to have any such clause regarding video games. The closest the actual draft comes to addressing the issue is a line altering the tax code to specifically prohibit "any research with respect to computer software" from qualifying for the research credit.

As noted by Washington Examiner columnist Ashe Schow, the violent game provision seems to be at odds with one of the Republicans' stated goals for the Tax Reform Act. As the executive summary claims on the page following its violent game exemption to the R&D tax credit, "The Tax Reform Act of 2014 stops the practice of using the tax code to pick winners and losers based on political power rather than economic merit..." It lists alternative energy credits (which would be eliminated under the proposed legislation) as one way the existing tax code seeks to pick winners.

The Entertainment Software Association released a statement criticizing the move, saying, "This industry, like all software developers who would be impacted under this proposal, invests billions of dollars every year in research and development and this proposal threatens American technological advancement and economic growth. We look forward to continuing to educate policymakers on our societal and economic contributions and the need to preserve and expand this unique industry."

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Latest comments (11)

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
Here we go again. Ask these clowns what their favorite movies are and I'd bet all sorts of war flicks, westerns and cop flicks where people get shot up are all in the top 10. Game makers need to stand up to these idiots and their hypocrisy and make a stand that takes out as many of these losers as possible so they never get re-elected because they're too embarrassed to run.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus4 years ago
Fucking AGAIN!?
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
For the love of Paul will these politicians ever give up this pointless fight against video games. *sigh* Must be an election year.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 28th February 2014 3:23am

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Show all comments (11)
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
It's a red meat issue with the GOP base who tend to be old. They think that games are for children, and therefore by making games, even with sex that would barely earn a TV-pG is wrong. Of course, I'm still trying to figure out why Halo is an M rated fame.

It's just like the Arizona anti gay bill. It's simply designed to score points with bigoted elderly morons and their brainwashed offspring. If you think Sny or Microsoft will allow this to remain you're drazy
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 4 years ago
It's a never ending battle that literally makes no sense. I feel like people just wanted to place blame on something and video games is an easy target.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
Hm. Apparently, this committee is made up of Democrats and Republicans, so it's another case of CLUELESS pols on both sides trolling for votes. There are a few dumb Dems here in NY who are on the anti-games BS and always seem to be looking for something to keep them in office, so screw them too, I say.

And yeah, the ESRB is nuts. EDF 2025 is rated Mature for some reason. Dark Souls II? it's a Teen rated game despite being a great deal more unsettling. WTF?
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
Well, they have kicked a good part of their heavy industry to China, may as well do the same with video-game companies to Canada and Europe. I mean... those that they haven't already.

But now talking seriously; They don't give up, do they?

So... they do not get the R&D tax break... but guidance systems developers, drone developers, missile developers, coded communications developers do...
So the cost of doing business for this companies is going to go up, so you raise the price of games to recoup the profit that goes away on taxes, then your sales may go down because of higher prices, so then you have to reduce your number of employees and send some guys to the unemployment line.
Why are governments insisting on moralizing? If I do not like them, I wont buy them, it is my decision, my freedom. Jeez! I watched a lot of Yogi Bear when I was a kid and never went stealing picnic baskets.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 28th February 2014 10:15am

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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises4 years ago
It sucks that they're trying to punish violent game makers, but this is how democracy works. The party in power gives as much as they can to their supporters, and as little as possible to voting groups that didn't support them.

I really hate tax cuts like these, even when I get them. Like when my government gave me $750 because I bought a home that year, to me that's either half of a mortgage payment or an XBox One and some games. But to my government all of that pandering for votes adds up to real money, and then all of a sudden it can't afford to pay for projects and programs that are actually useful to the country.
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games4 years ago
So would a game like Plants vs. Zombies be considered a violent game?
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Mark Laurel Developer 4 years ago
This is just not surprising specially with NRA lining GOP pockets. Politicians are fine with letting BLIND people own/carry guns, get away with murder in the name of "stand your ground", but research for software?
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
I just wonder why they dont consider it a problem, that parents buy a clearly adult only rated (GTA5) games and then give it to pre-teen kids to play. If a retailer would sell a game like that to kids, they would be fined. I just wonder what reaction would be if a parent would be buying porn and giving it to his/her kid to watch? (Its adults onlyl)

So why not just fine ALL parents? Surely all of them are irresponsible like that...
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