Activision Blizzard are the latest company to fight the ban on the sale of certain violent games to minors (Schwarzenegger v. EMA). Activision has joined other organisations which include media groups, civic organisations and constitutional scholars who state that California’s 2005 law banning sale or rental of violent video games to minors violated the First Amendment. The California law would prohibit the sale or rental to minors of any video game containing certain expressions, ideas and images.
Activision Blizzard has now independently filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. Activision’s CEO Booby Kotick added:
“Our First Amendment has survived intact for 219 years amid far greater technological, historical and social challenges. The argument that video games present some kind of new ominous threat that requires a wholesale reassessment of one of our nation’s most treasured freedoms and to take that freedom away indiscriminately from an entire group of our population based on nothing but age is beyond absurd. These are the same attacks Americans have witnessed against every previous emerging entertainment medium and genre including books, comics, rock ‘roll, movies, TV and the Internet. In each case, freedom prevailed. We are thrilled to be able to be an important part of this historic effort to protect our Constitution and to ensure that video games remain vibrant form of expression for every gamer in our constituency.”
As the debate rumbles on, a further nine states and Puerto Rico joined to file a brief with the Supreme Court on Friday urging the justices not to uphold the California law. The brief stated “..that California’s law if replicated would waste scarce law enforcement resources and provide support for a Twinkie-style defense argument that ‘the video game made me do it’ for accused criminals.”