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German parliament to consider banning violent games

A group of German politicians have drawn up a new piece of legislation which would strengthen the country's already tough rules on violence in videogames - and could see some titles banned outright.

A group of German politicians have drawn up a new piece of legislation which would strengthen the country's already tough rules on violence in videogames - and could see some titles banned outright.

The new bill has been presented by the states of Bavaria and Lower Saxony and will be debated in parliament next year. It refers to games which feature "cruel violence", including first-person shooters such as Call of Duty 3. According to the Financial Times, the bill could see developers and retailers penalised with prison sentences of up to 12 months.

Germany already has some of the toughest laws in Europe when it comes to videogame censorship. In 2003, following a school shooting, new rules were introduced to restrict violence against human characters, and the German versions of some games feature green blood to reduce the level of gore in the visuals.

The new legislation follows another school shooting last month in the town of Emsdetten, where an 18 year old gunman injured 11 people before shooting himself. According to local media, the gunman was an avid player of PC and Xbox title Counter-Strike.

Following the shooting, a survey found that 72 per cent of respondents attributed such crimes to violence in videogames, and 59 per cent said they would be in favour of a ban.

Speaking to the FT, Deutsche E-Sport Bund boss Frank Sliwka said, "We have among the most drastic censorship rules for games. Now we are being labelled as a breeding ground for unstable, dysfunctional and violent youngsters."

Bavarian interior minister Günther Beckstein commented, "It is absolutely beyond any doubt that such killer games desensities unstable characters to violence and can have a stimulating effect."

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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