Game Publishers Oppose DOMA

EA Rainbow
EA Rainbow from

Three game publishers oppose DOMA by signing the amicus curiae (friend of the court).  As the article on The Escapist says, EA’s reasons are both moral and pragmatic, citing both making same-sex couples second classes citizens, and couple that with the beaucratic nightmare that same-sex couples create for companies, along with the problems of crossing state lines and one state honoring a same-sex marriage, and the other not–it’s a mess.  It’s at once heartening to see some companies take a stand against such a clearly biased piece of legislation, but at the same time a little disheartening to that only 3 game industry companies made the effort.  Others that we might have expected have remained silent on the subject.  Still, it’s something.

The 3 publishers join just shy of 300 other US companies who also signed the Amicus curiae to have DOMA repealed.   DOMA’s controversial wording legally defines marriage as between a man and a woman, which as you can imagine makes same sex marriages challenging.  There are only a few states that allow same sex marriages, and many of same-sex opponents site DOMA as reasoning for not allowing same-sex marriages in their states.  Revoking the DOMA would go a long way to promoting true equality under the law in United States.

I know for this gaymer and his gaymer partner, the sooner that this ridiculous piece of legislation dies, the better.






Via: The Escapist

Supreme Court Decision Expected Today

Update: Supreme Court upheld the lower courts ruling in a 7-2 decision.  I’m currently reading the opinion and I’ll post a summary as soon as I’m done.  

Exciting Day!

According to the Huff-Po, SCOTUS is supposed to release their decision on EMA vs. Schwarzenegger.  I’m excited, I wrote a 20 page review of the failed video game legislature for a grad class, so I think I know the result of the ruling, but it’ll be nice to see the actual response.

Originally heard by SCOTUS in November 2010, the legislation tries to make it illegal to sell ‘ultra-violent’ video games to minors.  The bill is riddled with problems, but being unconstitutionally vague to attempting to apply obscenity law to media and violence, which every previous failed legislation has tried and failed to enact.  Check out Joystiq for a quick over-view.

Check the Huff-Po and I’ll update this as soon as I hear the result.

Supreme Court Violent Video Games   via. HuffPo

Because Hearsay and Unfounded Conjecture Justify It….

California, despite being a hotbed of game developers, seems hellbent on alienating those large studios inside the state.  From the SCOTUS case Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, to Senator Lee, and now a repeat attempt by Sen. Joe Baca to add warning labels to games.

According to IndustryGamers, this is Baca’s second attempt at adding warning labels to video games, as the first attempt in 2009 died in the House.  While the exact text of the bill isn’t available yet, it’s fairly safe to assume that it’s pretty similar to the 2009 version.  In that version, the warning would read:

WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.

Because clearly–there is no evidence to the contrary, or that enough of the studies conducted to attempt to link games and violent behavior have shown at best, a correlation, not casual , relationship between the two. I know every new media has to have it’s day as the bane and inevitable cause of the downfall of society, but gaming is going on what, 10 years of oppressive attempts.  California, go find something more beneficial to do than waste tax payer money on pointless legislation.  Personally, I’m getting pretty annoyed with all the conjecture, intentional manipulation of the facts (and omission), purposefully misrepresenting outcomes to push through legislation for no reason other than some antiquate ideal from the 1940s that anything the breaks even minutely from the status quo or makes you slightly uncomfortable must be destroyed.  

Sorry, /endrant 

Via IndustryGamers: U.S. Representative Brings Back Game Warning Labels

SCOTUS CA Video Game Law – Where we stand

Update: 4:31pm EST

Flurry of posts about the proceedings this morning:
The entire transcript from the Supreme Court Website: PDF
Game Politics (strikes me as somewhat biased) take: Games Take Over Supreme Court

And Also from GamePolitics – a round-up of all the other gaming sites posting SCOTUS stuff.  The list from Game Politics (below) is pretty long – this has been a pretty big deal, methinks.


Wall Street Journal


Washington Post

MTV Multiplayer


As such an event is kind of a big deal, I figured I’d take 5minutes out to Post.

As of 1:42pm EST, I can honestly say, I know nothing more than I did the previous 6 months leading up this…ha.
BUT Regardless — for the issue at hand if your unfamiliar, check out Kotaku for a great breakdown or read my previous post – a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (which was never run):

 All You Need To Know About This Week’s Violent Video Game Case In The U.S. Supreme Court

Then, responses from how the different parties thought it went, again also from Kotaku:
Both Sides React To The California Game Law Supreme Court Hearing

I would keep an eye on, as they planning on posting their perspective on how the case went, as they had someone present.  Chances are they will be one of the first to relay the outcome of the case to the rest of us.

Overall Feeling from the Rogue Gamer – Cautiously Optimistic

MMO Player Sues NCsoft … because he couldn’t stop playing

Craig Smallwood, Hawaii resident is suing NCsoft because he was addicted to Lineage II, and over the course of the last 5 years played 20,000 hours of the game (just over 45% of his time according to the cited article here).
Seems silly and pointless and I find it hard to believe that the Judge is willing to take this to trial. He’s cited as ruling, “the court finds that plaintiff has stated a claim for both negligence and gross negligence.” Which again, seems silly.
Part of me wants to go, “Really?! Like, really??” and what the hell, that part wins out. With a collective /sigh and /facepalm with the rest of the MMO players out there, we can take bets on how long before this freeloader trying to make money off of his own shortcomings gets his case thrown out. I’m going to give it to Day 3 of the trial. Just sayin’ …

CNN talks ownership in Virtual Worlds

Second Life Logo

CNN has a brief article about the legality of owning “virtual land.”  The article specifically focuses on Second Life and Linden Lab.  It seems that despite a thriving virtual world community, Second Life the only one that actually gets any coverage.

While the article is kind of meandering and doesn’t really say all that much in the grand scheme, it does mention the lawsuit against Linden Lab from some Second Life users claiming that Linden Labs mislead them, stating that they would own their virtual plots of land, as opposed to the current verbiage in the agreement, which terms the plots of land as a service instead of ownership.

The article is pretty wishy-washy and doesn’t really work to say much of anything — other than that the technology is way ahead of the courts at this point, and most judges are wary of cases like virtual land ownership because they are, by nature, incredibly complicated.

As for my opinion, it’s hard to say.  I’ve never been enamored of Second Life, so the concept of ownership within Second Life is a bit foreign to me, truth be told.  In principal, it makes sense to me that virtual plots of land in the private sector, would have more in common with leasing and renting than true ownership.  There are contractual agreements in place and there are definite rights involved in leasing.  In this case, I see Linden Labs as my landlord and my virtual plot of land as my apartment.  They “own” the space, but they contract with me to let me use the space in whatever means I see fit (within reason).

It’s hard to make a full ownership argument when the piece of virtual land’s existence is based entirely on the hardware of company which could be in reality, half a planet away from where you actually live.  But then, many people put a lot of time in their virtual lands and build businesses around their virtual islands, and thus have a large amount of content created specifically for that virtual land.  It’s like filling my apartment with all of my stuff.

Where this metaphor breaks down is when I move from my apartment, I can take all my stuff with me.  However, it’s not that simple with virtual spaces–yes, you can take bits and pieces and certain aspects of your virtual content with you if you decide to move to a new virtual space, but you lose a significant previously done work in the process.

It’s not hard to understand why the courts are wary of taking these types of cases on – there’s a lot of different moving parts here that not even I (as part of the virtual world community) completely understand, let alone a judge who has little-to-no understanding of even the most basic functions of virtual spaces.

(On a related note, interoperability between virtual communities to better facilitate movement between them is an interesting concept.)