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Violent video games and industry regulation

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In 2011, Massachusetts launched the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute to foster partnerships between video game companies and academic institutions in order to grow the state’s video game industry. Last month, the PAX East conference drew thousands of game enthusiasts into the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for a weekend-long celebration video games and gaming culture.

Now, as the nation’s politicians wrangle over gun control legislation following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the role of violent video games has found its way into the national debate. From an innovation perspective, this debate over the responsibility of video games poses serious concern to the Massachusetts video game industry that is still getting on its feet.

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A common theme during the video game debate is how much (if any) regulation does the video game industry need and how to implement it. And what could regulation mean to the local game companies who are in the business of creating and selling fantasies? In this edition of The Exchange, we ask: Is it necessary to regulate the video game industry?

Alexander Sliwinski, news editor of Joystiq.com, argues that the video game industry is frequently scapegoated in the debate over violence in media even though the industry is ahead of the curve in terms of self-regulation.

Margaret Weigel, a Boston-based based multimedia producer and researcher specializing in technology, education, and games, says regulation of the video game industry is needed , but almost impossible to implement.

Weigh in on The Exchange: Let us know what you think of violent video game regulation at hive@boston.com or on Twitter at @HiveBoston.

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