You may recall that back in November of 2010, a case came before the US Supreme Court regarding video games. The case was focused on a law, proposed by the government of California, which would make it illegal for stores to sell certain types of games to minors. The crux of the argument for the law centered around the theoretical damage caused by children playing violent video games. On the other side of the argument was the EMA, which claimed that any restriction on what stores could sell to whom based on content would be a violation of the first amendment.
Throughout the case, Supreme Court justices pressed the California deputy attorney general, Zackery Morazzini, on why video games should be considered separate from movies when it came to limiting their sales. At one point, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questioned Morazzini, asking “Why are video games special? Or does your principle extend to all deviant, violent material in whatever form?”
To which Morazzini replied: “The California legislature was presented with substantial evidence that demonstrates that the interactive nature of violent — of violent video games where the minor or the young adult is the aggressor, is the — is the individual acting out this — this obscene level of violence, if you will, is especially harmful to minors.”
It didn’t seem that the justices were very open to California’s attempt to limit the sale of violent video games to minors, but we don’t presently know what their final decision was, as they had until the end of June, 2011 to submit it. That wait is over next week, with the expected final decision likely coming on Monday. Check back then as we’ll have the final ruling, which could be a landmark moment for video games as a form of protected speech.