How long until free to play and in-app purchases are regulated?

This is going to be a relatively short post, because two other writers have already a lot of my work for me. Step 1: read Rob Fahey’s editorial on Gamesindustry.biz: “How to control free-to-play spending?” Step 2: read this Wall Street Journal feature: “Mom, please feed my apps!” Step 3: let’s have a quick chat…

Is Australia getting grown up about age ratings?

This is a guest post by Lachlan Kingsford, an Australian games scholar and the brains behind Nerdy Gentleman.  I asked him to tell us a bit about the latest state of play regarding Australian games classification, which I’ve written about previously. There is something rotten with the state of gaming in Australia. Unlike other entertainment… Continue reading Is Australia getting grown up about age ratings?

The US violent games case: Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v EMA, AKA the Californian ‘violent’ games law case, AKA Arnie vs all gamers, everywhere.  The law, if upheld, would have given lawmakers the ability to ban certain games and place stringent requirements on others. However, the US Supreme Court struck down the… Continue reading The US violent games case: Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus

Analysis: are age ratings coming to social and mobile games?

Are we seeing the start of a trend towards governments extending their games classification rules to mobile and social games?  If so, this is going to cause some serious friction with the games industry. Examples: in August, the Australian Labour Party promised (if re-elected – which now looks highly likely) to apply its notoriously restrictive games classification laws to… Continue reading Analysis: are age ratings coming to social and mobile games?

EA courts controversy with Medal of Honor ‘Taliban’ playability

News has emerged that the next Medal of Honor game, EA’s wannabe answer to Acti’s Modern Warfare, will permit gamers to play as the Taliban in multiplayer mode. At which point, various people (including me) raise an eyebrow and conclude that this is quite deliberately intended as a media stunt (as was Modern Warfare 2’s infamous… Continue reading EA courts controversy with Medal of Honor ‘Taliban’ playability

FarmViller player runs up £900 debt, could be sued by mother?

The Guardian reports “a mother has warned of the risk of children spending hundreds of pounds on ‘free’ online games available through Facebook after her 12-year-old son ran up bills of more than £900 without her knowledge“.  This raises interesting issues about the extent to which she could recover her losses: in a nutshell, only if… Continue reading FarmViller player runs up £900 debt, could be sued by mother?

Opinion: games and the Byron Progress Review

In 2007, Tania Byron was asked by the UK government to conduct an “independent review looking at the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games“.  This became the Byron Review in 2008, which made a number of proposals to better protect children online.  In… Continue reading Opinion: games and the Byron Progress Review

Games censorship and classification in 2010, part 1

At the end of last year, I wrote a retrospective on games classification and censorship across in the world in 2009, which – perhaps unsuprisingly – showed a totally inconsistent worldwide approach with different countries adopting hostile or progressive approaches to the regulation of games, virtually all of which was justified by reference to the… Continue reading Games censorship and classification in 2010, part 1

Venezuala bans violent videogames and toys

Venezuala has apparently passed a law banning “video and war games and toys prompting violence to help improve child education and prevent misconduct“. According to the Prensa Latina site (via Slashdot and TorstenFo), the new law “imposes a fine and 2-5 years in prison on the import, production, distribution, sale, hiring and use of video games… Continue reading Venezuala bans violent videogames and toys