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Video Game future could be in the hands of the Governator

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is poised to make a decision that could affect the video game industry in a major way. Sometime in the next few days, Schwarzenegger may either sign or veto a bill prohibiting the sale of violent games to minors. The bill would prohibit the sale of “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel” games to people under the age of 18. The possible penalty for breaching this law would be a fine of $1,000. If he does not veto the bill by Saturday night, it would become law next year.

Michigan and Illinois have passed similar legislation, and politicians in other states have debated, and are still debating, the issue. But passage of the bill by the nation's most populous state - and the home of the entertainment industry and many of the video game industry's biggest players - could be a major blow to the $10 billion a year video game business.

Does this mean that violent video games will disappear from store shelves or that minors won't be able to get their hands on violent titles? Probably not. Even if the bill does become law, it probably won't do much to prevent minors from enjoying the latest Grand Theft Auto Title.

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What it might do is give stores and store owners a little more incentive to pay attention to who is buying what from them. Ultimately, what a minor is or isn't allowed to do is in the hands of the parents. Of course, there isn't a bill being proposed that would allow parents to be fined for doing a bad job. And no one is saying that there should be. That would just be wrong.