May 13th, 2006

Propeller Heads Know You Like Games, Help Them Figure Out Why

What would you do for a chance to win a $60 Amazon.com gift certificate?

Would you spend twenty minutes filling out an online questionnaire asking your opinion about a specific video game and your intention to play it over the next two weeks and fill out a follow-up survey two weeks later?

If so, you're in luck!

The University of Southern California's Annenberg Studies on Computer Games Group offers gamers the opportunity to do just that The Annenberg group describes itself as "an interdisciplinary research team that seeks to conduct transdisciplinary, systematic and innovative research about the impact of computer game-playing on individuals, groups, and society at large." They are hoping the survey will help them find answers to important entertainment technology questions such as:

Content. What content is portrayed in bestselling computer games and how stereotypical or innovative is the design? Does the preferred content differ in both genders? Are age restrictions for games appropriate?
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Court Observers Predict Demise of California Video Game Law

If published reports are accurate, California's video game law will soon join those of Michigan and Illinois on the scrap heap of history.

Readers may recall that it was GamePolitics which broke the news that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would sign Assembly Speaker Leland Yee's bill into law on October 7th of last year. The video game industry protested on constitutional grounds, and Federal District Court Judge Ronald Whyte issued a preliminary injunction blocking the bill from taking effect on December 22nd.

Final arguments before Judge Whyte were held yesterday in San Jose. According to ABC-7 News, courtroom observers, trying to read the tea leaves during the hearing, felt the industry's First Amendment argument carried the day.

ABC-7 reports that Judge Whyte "appeared to side with the video game industry's position," citing the application of a legal standard known as "strict scrutiny," which offers the broadest free speech protection.

"It appears to me that the strict scrutiny standard does apply," Judge Whyte is reported to have said from the bench.
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