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TOP MUSIC & GAMES STORIES (Dec. 19): Penn. Task Force Warns Against Videogame Ban; Home Games Hot Sellers; NDA Move...

Posted On: 12/19/2008

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Pennsylvania Task Force Warns Against Videogame Ban

HARRISBURG, PA -- Years of federal court judgments that have shot down states' bans on certain videogames may have finally had a deterrent effect.

This month, the Pennsylvania Task Force on Violent Interactive Video Games issued its recommendations to the state legislature. The key finding: "The General Assembly must avoid enacting restrictive legislations [sic] similar to those that have been invalidated by the Federal courts."

The taskforce also recommended that the state fund consumer education about videogames and mandate "more objective" research on the effects game playing has on young people.

Comprised of experts from various fields - including First Amendment attorneys and a professor of psychology - Pennsylvania's taskforce proved remarkably even- handed in its views on violent themes in various media.

The 69-page report included this statement: "Western culture has frequently dwelt on violence from its origins in Homer's epic poetry and Greek drama down to such later media as the novel and the opera. Movies, popular music and television all deal routinely with depictions of violent acts. If measures are taken to address the effects of violent media, it is important that no particular form of media is unfairly discriminated against."

It remains to be seen whether Keystone State lawmakers will follow the advice of the taskforce. Legislators in other states have received similar warnings, only to pass bans on access to controversial games for minors anyway. Such bans often prove politically popular with parents, even if they are costly to defend and result in judicial nullification.

So far, every such law has been challenged by the games industry on First Amendment grounds, and has subsequently been invalidated by federal courts.

It's Official: Despite Recession, Home Videogames Are Hot Sellers

NEW YORK CITY -- Home videogame sales continue to boom despite the economic recession, with retailers moving $2.9 billion worth of hardware, games and accessories in November, according to market research organization NPD Group.

On "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving known for its significant retail sales volume, Microsoft broke all previous one-day sales records, with 25% higher sales of Xbox 360 consoles.

Year-to-date sales are up 22% from 2007 to $16 billion, NPD said. With many Christmas sales yet to be made, the Entertainment Software Association estimates that the industry's final 2008 revenues will beat last year's figures by 30%. ESA also pointed out that a game is purchased every nine seconds in The U.S.

Analysts said consumers pay about $60 for a product that is typically used for 100 hours - fun for about 60¢ an hour - making videogames the best electronic entertainment value this side of "free."

NPD survey data said consumers plan to maintain spending on home videogames at levels more robust than any other entertainment category.

National Dart Association Completes Relocation

INDIANAPOLIS-- The National Dart Association said it has completed its move into new headquarters here. The new address is 9100 Purdue Rd., Ste. 200, Indianapolis, IN 46268. The phone number is unchanged, (800) 808-9884, and the website is located at ndadarts.com.

Formed by and for vending operators to promote the sport of electronic darting, the NDA consists of some 300 members and 250,000 players worldwide. The NDA and its annual Team Dart tournament is sponsored by the Amusement and Music Operators Association, and dart machine makers Arachnid Inc., Cyberdine d.o.o., Medalist Corp., NSM-Löwen Entertainment and Shelti Inc