The Entertainment Software Association, which usually fires back at gaming restriction legislation, is backing a gaming bill that was passed in Maryland. Why, you may ask?
From what I can tell, the bill (called HB707) prevents “displaying or exhibiting” video games with obscene material. In this case, “obscene” means “sexual conduct” and not violence, which has been covered in past gaming bills that were shot down by the courts.
Well, it probably wouldn’t look too good for the industry if the ESA stood up and said it should be OK for kids to get games loaded with sexual content. Plus, as the posting on GamePolitics points out, the shield of the First Amendment doesn’t quite extend to obscene material. So, no legal battle.
The Gamasutra posting on the same bill has a comment of support from ESA head man Doug Lowenstein:
“The ESA has always been supportive of the inclusion of video games to ‘harmful to minor’ statues that meet the Supreme Courts obscenity standards. We believe that video games should be treated in the same way that books and movies are treated under the law.”
Remember, the key is violence in games. That’s when the ESA mixes it up with legislators.