It seems that the various democratic governments around the world have begun to take an interest in the well being of their citizens. I’m sure most of you are aware of China’s World of Warcraft curfew. There’s about 1.5 million players in China alone, although I would guess 1.4 million play as their full time job .
The big news comes last week. Both online gaming giants Counterstrike and Everquest have had their distribution banned from Brazil. As far as I understand, LAN centers and players with existing copies are allowed to keep them. But it is a federal offense for those 2 games to be sold in Brazil either via retail or online.
The federal judge who imposed the ban stated the games were “…[a] subversion of public order, were an attack against the democratic state and the law and against public security.”
So far, World of Warcraft has escaped the banhammer. Seeing as WoW is not showing any signs of slowing down in terms of growth, sales, or subscribers it would be reasonable to expect that the Brazillian government has WoW on their crosshairs. We’ve already seen 1 government take legislative action on WoW. For Brazil to do something like this, it sets a pretty large precedent.
I’ve taken a few political science courses and from what I remember, Governments exist to determine “who gets what, when and how” (Lasswell). You’d suspect that they’d have bigger fish to fry other than games. Can you think of the possible criminal implications? No more will Brazillian drug lords be smuggling cocaine, marijuana or other drugs. The real money now will be in titles such as Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict. Instead of cash crop farmers, we might see a rise in piracy!
As a law student, one of the fundamental principles we learn is that a crime is what is defined by society (I’ve condensed months of learning into 1 sentence). Gamers will always be gamers and they will want to play what’s up there. We’re consumers after all. Wouldn’t it suck if we had to go into a dark alley somewhere just to get Starcraft 2? It’s almost like the government is playing the role of a parent by deciding what kids can or cannot play.
Canada may have had it’s share of murderers, but thank goodness nothing like this will be in force up here.