Activision has joined a growing list of media, research and other groups opposing a proposed law that would ban the sale or rental of video games to minors in the state of California. Making a vocal show of support for the industry, the publisher has voiced its opinion on the upcoming Supreme Court case surrounding California's violent video game legislation.
According to the company's statement, the California bill, which would provide government-mandated legal penalties for the sale of violent video games to minors, is "dangerous, unnecessary, and misguided, and could undermine freedom of speech protections under the First Amendment for the entire nation."
Favoring the industry's existing self-regulatory rating and enforcement efforts such as the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has been outspoken on the California law.
"Our First Amendment has survived intact for 219 years amid far greater technological, historical, and social challenges," says Kotick. "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 n' roll, movies, TV and the Internet. In each case, freedom prevailed," Kotick continued. "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."
Calling California's pursuit of its law "tampering with the nation's Constitution and wasting taxpayers' money," Kotick suggested an alternative solution of investing state resources in parental education, while continuing use of the game ratings system, and on how to judge appropriate content.
The proposed law was originally signed by state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. A federal appeals court, however, blocked it, deeming it unconstitutional. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the measure and will hear oral arguments on November 2.