Washington State to ban 'violent' game sales

The legal tango between the gaming industry and the government has taken a step in the government's direction. Washington State's senate passed a bill Thursday that would institute a fine of up to $500 to retail employees who sell violent video games to anyone under the age of 17.

The bill passed the Senate 47-7 and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Gary Locke. Rather than targeting games based on their ratings, the bill specifically mentions those that depict violence against law enforcement officials.

Doug Lowenstein, president of the Interactive Digital Software Association (the gaming industry trade group), denounced the bill, saying, "We feel that government-mandated regulations to limit access to entertainment products are both misguided and unconstitutional. No laws restrict the sale of movies, music or books, even though some of these products may not be suitable for children. There is no basis for treating video games any differently than other forms of popular entertainment."

While the IDSA won't comment on its plans, a lawsuit attempting to overturn the bill is likely. And one legal analyst said it might have a good chance of success.

Because it specifically focuses on "games depicting violence against public law enforcement officials" rather than using the established rating system, the bill opens up questions of interpretation.

News source: CNN Money

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