It was really lucky for game developers that the Supreme Court turned down a Californian Video Game Law. According to this law it was a crime to sell violent video games to minors and the punishment for doing so would be a hefty fine. The law was challenged on many levels and finally the Supreme Court wrote it down on the accounts of it undermining the freedom of choice and expression.
But what if this law had gone through and was implemented? What would it mean to Video Game Developers and Game Testers? How would it affect the cost of production and overall profits of a game? It is not a secret that minors are a large consumer base of this industry and account for a large volume of annual sales in many different video game categories. If this law was implemented, even just in California, it would result in huge losses for game developers, especially those who production action games that contain scenes of violence, like first person shooters. These violent action games are among the most popular kind among teenage video game players. After all, very few teenagers these days would be interested in playing Pokemon or Mario Kart. Furthermore, this may have an effect of increasing piracy, since even if a game is completely banned in a certain location, it will not deter those who want to play it. Since it would hard to obtain it legitimately, many gamers would simply resort to downloading it through illegal channels, which is something that is already contributing to some rather large losses in both the general software and video game industries.
Another scenario would be for developing separate game versions for California if they want to sell the game in the State which would require large investments in game quality assurance to assure that they obey the law. Many publishers would not be interested in that but for those who would be it would require siginificant efforts which can sometimes be close to developing an entirely new game by itself. There is also no guarantee that a non-violent version of the game would sell so well. After all, who would play Grand Theft Auto if you couldn’t shoot or beat people up in the game?
It was a sigh of relief for many developers and game publishers who were left with a dilemma to choose between lesser profits or huge investments in Game Programming. However the law itself exploited and abolished many other laws. One such accusation was that the state cannot choose what the parents want or may want for their kids, which is what this law was dictating when it comes to video games. Although game developers, testers and the QA team always develops a game with the rules in mind, the California Government has shown that it isn’t satisfied with it nor with the rating system that rates the games according to age appropriate content.
Gina Kraft is a video and mobile game enthusiast. Gina is very interested in the process of Game Programming. She thinks that game quality assurance are very important in the mobile industry and that all video game publishers should invest in Game Testers.