Video Game Law Blog

July 13, 2005

It may be a dubious honour, but Eidos' '25 to Life"? may have caught up to GTA as the target of choice for concerned lawmakers before it even hits store shelves. A New York Senator is trying to stop the game from reaching stores in September Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on Sony and Microsoft to cancel their licence agreements with Eidos (although as concerned video game lawyers, we would always caution our clients to be careful not to induce any third party to breach its contract), and on retailers not to stock the game.

25 to Life lets gamers choose between playing a police officer or a gangster, and has already been rated Mature (17+) by the ESRB. The game's opponents are concerned about the game's effect on children, but the ESRB rating in theory means that children younger than 17 are not able to purchase or rent it. Once again, this raises one of the most prevalent issues in gaming some games definitely contain content that is not suitable for children, in the same way that some movies do; this does not mean that such games (or movies) should not be made available to adults. Age restrictions are meant to address this issue. The problem, of course, is how to limit access to such games (or movies) only to those above the specified age? Young children often rent and play Mature-rated games, in the same way that young children somehow end up in theatres watching PG or R movies. This is certainly partly an industry issue (improved self-regulation with respect to age ratings is one way of answering concerns such as Sentator Schumer's while still allowing adult-oriented games to be produced and sold), but it is also a cultural issue and a parental issue.

Coverage at

Senator Schumer's press release at