Game Ratings Bill Becomes New York Law

New York governor David Paterson today signed a proposed game-related bill into state law, one that will establish an advisory council to study the effects of virtual violence.

Taking effect in 2010, the law further requires that "new video game consoles" include "parental lockout features"--something already offered by the current crop of consoles--and that games sold at retail display an Entertainment Software Rating Board content label on their packaging.

At present, most retailers in the United States refuse to stock a game if it does not carry an ESRB content rating on the box. The ESRB and Entertainment Software Association have yet to respond to the news.

Past game-related legislation have used intentionally vague language and attempted to establish its own guidelines instead of embracing those established by the industry, typically resulting in laws that were later found to be unconstitutional.

The bill marks the more conservative of the two pitched to the New York Senate last year. The other would have classified sales of games containing "depraved violence and indecent images" to minors as a class E felonies, and drew industry opposition.