Game violence is at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court's attention once more. The high court decided to reassess the the legality of letting states restrict the sales of violent games and listen to California's appeal regarding an overturned state law which did exactly that. Perhaps most surprisingly, this news comes only a week after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing the sale of videos which include illegal acts of animal cruelty.
In 2005, the state of California enacted legislation which fined retailers $1000 for selling grossly violent video games to minors. Six other states followed suit with their own variation of the game regulations, but these laws were considered unconstitutional violations of free speech and ultimately rendered unenforceable by a federal judge. The Supreme Court was expected to ignore the appeal and simply allow the law to expire, but unexpectedly, they've decided to revisit the debate.
What does this mean exactly? We cannot be certain, but the video game industry has fought a long, difficult struggle to maintain protections similar to what books, music and art enjoy. If the Supreme Court rules that states can indeed regulate the sales of violent video games, there is little doubt that many states will enact their own laws, fines and penalties as a result. If the court rules the other way, then the status quo will be upheld and it will be business as usual.