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NY Violent Game Legislation Gains Momentum

BOOM widget 113890The New York State Senate and Assembly have agreed on the terms of a bill that would classify the sale of video games containing "depraved violence and indecent images" to minors as a class E felony, GamePolitics reports. However, lawmakers were unable to pass the proposal before the legislative session ended, postponing the bill's official approval until the next session in July, at which point New York governor Eliot Spitzer is expected to sign it into state law.

Introduced late last month by New York assemblyman Joseph Lentol (pictured left), the proposed legislation also calls for console manufactuers to allow parents to restrict content playback based off ESRB ratings--a feature already present in the current generation of home consoles--and the formation of an advisory council. Known as the Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence, the committee would look into the effectiveness of the ESRB's current rating system and investigate the effects of violent video game.

Lentol's proposal drew criticism from many within the video game industry, including executives from the New York-based development studio Vicarious Visions. CEO and CCO Karthik Bala and president Guha Bala penned an open letter to New York legislators following the details of the proposed legislation, labeling it unconstitutional and unnecessary.

"We know many in our state may not like the content of some video games, and, to be frank, we do not like some of it either," they wrote. "However, a better way to spend our much-needed state resources would be to support public-private statewide partnerships to encourage use of video game ratings and parental controls."