From GamesIndustry.biz this morning comes news from the UK:
"British electronics retailer Dixons has removed Rockstar's Manhunt title from stores, after newspapers and TV news shows reported allegations that the title had influenced a teenager found guilty of the murder of a younger boy."
The article states that the boy was "obsessed" with the game. And while realizing that this is a sensitive subject for the games industry trying to protect our freedom of expression, I remain steadfast in my belief that these ultra-violent titles are, and will continue to be, getting in the hands of a young impressionable audience that probably shouldn't be exposed to such heinous violence.
On July 8, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released their fourth follow-up report to Congress on the marketing of violent movies, music, and games to children:
- As part of an undercover survey of teens shopping for games, the FTC found that 69 percent of unaccompanied shoppers under 17 were able to buy an M-rated game at a retail outlet.
- The FTC found that ads for M-rated games continue to appear in game enthusiast magazines popular with teens.
Last November I wrote an open letter to Rockstar North about this very topic. I knew that young people would be getting their hands on the game and it remains largely unknown what effects these gruesome games have on a younger audience. I urged Rockstar to use their powers for the good of mankind instead of creating another man hunt. What will it take?
News such as this will not go away as long as the games industry continues to develop violent games like Manhunt. The sad thing is there are those that will publish what ever sells—regardless of the effects it has on society—because the only thing that matters in this capitalist world is the bottom line. Freedom of expression is one thing, but at what price should we have to pay for that freedom? Can anyone really be certain that these violent games have no undesirable influence on our youth? I believe it is proven that it just isn't possible to keep these games out of their hands.