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Switzerland So Neutral It Won't Even Let In Violent Video Games

from the overdoing-it-a-bit dept

An anonymous reader sends in word that Switzerland appears to be following in the footsteps of Venezuela by getting close to banning all violent video games in the country (yes, even for adults). It's not quite there yet -- as the Swiss National Council has basically just given itself the right to put in place such a ban, but is still debating the actual extent of the ban. However, it appears that many expect all video games rated at a mature or adult level will likely be banned. I'm curious why none of the countries that ban such video games are also willing to ban R-rated movies as well.


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  1.  
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    Social Networking Software (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 6:18am

    Slippery Slope

    Who gets to decide what is actually considered violent? If you listen to my grandmother play poppit you would assume she was playing an incrediably violent game. Is it the gore? The Killing? The Fights? In my opinion this is something that should be left up to the individual, the government should not have any part of it.

     

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  2.  
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    Adam (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 6:42am

    To what end?

    Ok, the Swiss want to ban violent video games. Why? What purpose do you hope to serve?

    Any time you make something illegal that a large number of people want to do, you end up hurting. Not helping. See Prohibition.

     

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  3.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 6:50am

    I think this is a good thing for the video game industry. Now they can put stickers on their games: Banned In Europe!

     

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  4.  
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    Michael, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Re: Slippery Slope

    But we are protecting the children! Since you don't agree with this ban, you must want to create violent offenders that harm children! What kind of person are you!

    /sarcasm

    The people that come up with this are clearly not thinking as rationally as you are. It's really just amazing how many people seem to think this kind of thing is a good idea.

     

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  5.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 6:59am

    Re: To what end?

    Not to mention, how can you possibly ban them? Oh, you can stop authorised dealers from selling them, but Switzerland isn't a large country and it's bordered by 4 countries that haven't banned such games. Said borders do not have border controls - you can hop on a train to France, Germany, Austria or Italy, stock up on banned games and be back in a couple of hours. Even that's assuming that the Swiss don't simply download the games.

    With this kind of issue, I always recall my childhood in the UK. The "video nasties" list was basically a shopping list of must-see titles, and I managed to buy pirated copies of nearly all of them - this being the 80s, where VHS was the only real option and I managed to get most of them sent by mail from Cyprus or Greece while under 16 years old! How in God's name can you expect to effectively ban a game with today's technology?

    The only reason for this is a misguided "protect the children" stance, which will be ineffective since it's often parents who are buying the games for their kids in the first place. Nice black market you're creating there, Switzerland, I hope your police enjoy the pointless extra work you're shovelling their way...

     

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  6.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:13am

    The Swiss do make me chuckle... before long they'll be giving every man over 18 a gun to keep at home to defend his country from the hoards of cheese eating, cuckoo clock loving waiting at the border... oh they already do that!

    errr... maybe they'll ban the building of minarets on Mosques... bugger!

    Oh the Swiss... they just mad.

     

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  7.  
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    Hulser (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: To what end?

    How in God's name can you expect to effectively ban a game with today's technology?

    It's precisely because of today's technology that they will be able to ban video games. Sure, Switzerland's borders are porous, but with much of today's DRM requiring a connection (sometimes constant) to the game company servers, there will be pressure on the game companies to restrict access based on country of origin. DRM isn't just a tool for protecting "IP"; it can also be used for censorship. Sure, this restriction can be easily circumvented, but the point is that the ban will have a dramatic effect on the freedoms of the Swiss.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:34am

    WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN...

    that woun't be allowed to play awesome games!

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:48am

    bambi and the 7 dwarfs

    thats what you will be playing should this continue

    DO YOU want your kids to be fruity lil faggits?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:49am

    The reason why they won't ban R rated movies is because the movie industry lobbyists have more money than the game industry lobbyists.

     

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    Music Lover In GA, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:52am

    YES -- We must ban the kids...

    That way I won't get pwned the minute I try to play a multiplayer game. Banning kids will make it fairer for 40 year olds like me....

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:52am

    the irony

    Well, lets look at what's happening here.

    The only argument I can see going for these kinds of bans is "protect the children" i.e. they see violence in a video game and think its okay to do it in real life. In video games, you for example pull a trigger and an enemy is dead.
    What about kiddy cartoons like spongebob etc? Their violence is often much greater. There are explosions and such, and the characters are unharmed in the next scene. That can be interpreted as teaching kids that violence is okay, there are no consequences. Let's blow up that bully who's always picking on me! It's all right, he'll be magically unharmed in a few minutes.

     

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    MBraedley (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    Dammit, you beat me to it!
    And made a joke while you were at it.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 8:20am

    Re: YES -- We must ban the kids...

    .....and the heavens parted and I saw the light.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    "with much of today's DRM requiring a connection (sometimes constant) to the game company servers"

    *PC* games do. Most of the games being targeted will be on consoles which have no such DRM. Sure, you have to hack the console to play a pirated copy, but the Swiss authorities have just provided a great reason to do so.

    Maybe such a tactic will be used in the next generation of consoles, but this is next to useless for the current gen.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    I was listening to a horror podcast the other day, where one of the presenters was remembering the time he rented a copy of Faces Of Death. He was way too young to be doing so at the time, but he couldn't resist the "banned in 37 countries" on the cover :)

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    Oh, and I might as well add - even if such DRM did exist, do you really believe that the copies floating around the P2P networks would have said DRM intact? I somehow doubt it...

     

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    Hulser (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    I acknowledged that the DRM could be circumvented. I hope you're not, but you seem to be implying that censorship is OK as long as it can be circumvented by the technically literate. The danger in this attitude, obviously, is that people don't fight back when they have the chance (when a new law is being proposed) and when they figure out how to lock down the DRM even tighter, it's already too late.

     

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  19.  
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    Hulser (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    *PC* games do. Most of the games being targeted will be on consoles which have no such DRM.

    I'm not a console gamer, but don't most big budget games require some kind of authentication to the central servers? Maybe even just to log into voice chat or to record your achievements? Maybe I'm defining DRM as little more loosely that you are, but I consider this as a form of DRM. Ostensibly, it's adding value to your gaming experience, but there's no denying that this kind of feature also gives quite a bit of control to the game company (or its publisher), the kind of control that can be used to censor a game.

     

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  20.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    Erm, I don't believe I've said a word supporting censorship. At least I hope not, because I sure as hell don't...

    My point was that said censorship is pretty pointless. I was able to circumvent it quite easily while living on an island, under the age of 16 in an era when the only way to distribute material was on a brick-sized piece of plastic that had to pass through customs. You described ways in which technology could be used to try and enforce the bans, I merely pointed out that this would not only be ineffective but also create a thriving black market, on and offline.

    Of course I support efforts to fight said censorship, and hopefully it will fizzle out like the whole "video nasties" thing (most of those movies are now available on DVD in the UK, uncut). Meanwhile, Swiss citizens should fight this every step of the way.

     

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  21.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Re: Slippery Slope

    Agreed. As a kid I always thought it was funny how Mortal Kombat stripped out the blood from the home console versions - as if that changed the fact that the game was about brutally beating/dismembering/impaling/beheading each other. And then you used the cheat code to turn blood back on, but you didn't even really notice or care, it was more for the satisfaction of knowing and using a cheat code.

    Believe it or not, to this day I have never once shot a fireball or done a flying kick at anyone.

     

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  22.  
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    mike allen (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:59am

    how many Swiss

    play second life? nuff said.

     

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  23.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    I can see where you're coming from but no, they're not required to authenticate. You do need to access servers to play games online via official servers and to record achievements, but I think that a lot of gamers would be willing to give up perks if it means the difference between playing the game at all or not (I'm sure that unofficial servers can be set up for online play if needed - they exist for WoW so I assume they will exist for console games).

    It's still DRM, but it's minimal and usually makes no difference to whether you can play the game once the console's hacked. Again, this may change in future generations but there's no way to stop a player using the current gen (and remember, DRM is typically removed from pirated copies of PC games, so it's useless there as well).

     

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  24.  
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    Hulser (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    You do need to access servers to play games online via official servers and to record achievements, but I think that a lot of gamers would be willing to give up perks if it means the difference between playing the game at all or not

    But you're making a distinction between official server and unofficial servers. So, let me qualify my original statement. Today's DRM implemented in many PC and console games requires a connection (sometimes constant) to the game company's official servers in order to play legally. This is what lead me to believe that you were implying that the censorship was OK because it could be circumvented. Or else why even bring up that it can be circumvented? What relevance does this have on the issue of whether it's ethical or just for Switzerland to censor computer games?

     

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  25.  
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    Deborah Hall, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 11:23pm

    Re: Re: To what end?

    I think the police will love this extra little job, compared to most countries, I don't think they have an awful lot to do.
    And, of course it will make way for a rampant 'black ' Market - good for the economy, like the cannabis production...

     

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    Txknight (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 6:03am

    can we just deport the Swedish females? they can have the rest of the country

     

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  27.  
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    bugmenot (profile), Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: To what end?

    Doubt a rampant black market will evolve...

    You have Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein about an hour a way... not hard to buy any game there legally and probably cheaper than it is in Switzerland anyway.

     

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  28.  
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    e zahne, Feb 10th, 2011 @ 3:02pm

    For kids or not for kids

    I work in game design and I think the (flawed) logic here is that video game are for kids, and movies are for adults, thus violent movies are ok, but violent games are not.

     

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  29.  
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    D., Feb 26th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: To what end?

    And we will download them. At the time you wrote your comment, it was already decided that private copies - that is downloading something (video game, movie, song...) for your own enjoyment - were not illegal. Thus, nothing stops us from hopping on the pirate bay and just grab the titles.

    Two years later, and the ban is still not in effect. There's some discussion going on, and for now minors do not have the right to buy games 18+ (PEGI classification).

     

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