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Hypnotron

Norwegian Retailer Pulls Violent Games In Wake Of Attack

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[url="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/36185/Report_Norwegian_Retailer_Pulls_Violent_Games_In_Wake_Of_Attack.php"]http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/36185/Report_Norwegian_Retailer_Pulls_Violent_Games_In_Wake_Of_Attack.php[/url]



from gamasutra article



"Media reports indicate retailer Coop Norway will cease to carry 51 gaming and toy brands following attacks that killed 77 in a government building and youth camp.

Danish site Gamers Globe reports ([url="http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=da&tl=en&u=http://www.gamers-globe.dk/nyhed/2011/07/29/coop-fjerner-videospil-fra-butikker-i-norge"]translation[/url]) that the removal includes first-person shooters [i]Homefront[/i], [i]Sniper Ghost Warrior[/i], [i]Counter-Strike Source[/i], and the [i]Call of Duty[/i] series, as well as popular MMO [i]World of Warcraft[/i]."
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It was highlighted in the news that he played a "war game" and that they thought it was a factor that had driven him into doing these horrible things. That war game turned out to be World of Warcraft ... One of my uni lecturers was interviewed on the radio and the first thing he said was, "World of Warcraft is not a war game" as well as that these events had not changed his opinion about this game. Apparently hard to comprehend when there's "war" in the name, eh?


Thoughts goes to the victims and those affected in the aftermath of these events.
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Related thought experiment - make a list of games that are not about murder.

1. FreeCell
2. Minesweeper
3. um....

Even Minecraft in normal mode is about weapons and killing.

[quote]World of Warcraft is not a war game[/quote]

Think about people playing it. Go to a forum and look at pvp threads: "red = dead", chanted over and over. There are gamers who know what this means, but for majority of population, it's downright scary. 12 year olds making such indiscriminate statements does come through as worrying.

Or an alternate example - what if the same kid had a notebook drawings full of nothing but decapitated rodents. And that's he'd be in a group of like-minded that does nothing but draws and exchanges pictures like that. It's virtual, it harms nobody, it has no effect, they aren't really harming real animals and it's even practicing drawing skills.

Wouldn't it come across as a bit creepy and troubling.
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First of all I haven't seen "red = dead" in a very long time and it's most certainly not chanted. But if you do read it, yes, it can come across as a bit over the top, but do you think they actually read these forums? I doubt they made the effort to check when the title described a world where you craft war, let alone get suspicious about the language as a whole when half of the words they could understand because it's game-specific/gaming vocabulary.

EDIT: Yes I do dislike the media's way of approaching this case as a whole. I acknowledge them as a crucial way to get information out to the people. I cannot, however, help but to get insanely annoyed with them when they are interviewing survivors from Utøya right after the event and asking, "You're shaking, how do you feel?" I hope that makes sense.
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[quote name='Rodimus' timestamp='1312038718' post='4842541']
First of all I haven't seen "red = dead" in a very long time and it's most certainly not chanted. But if you do read it, yes, it can come across as a bit over the top, but do you think they actually read these forums?
[/quote]

Well, I've seen it all the time during playing WoW when people discussed player-killing. I think they meant that "people of the opposite faction are kill-on-site" but most probably have no idea that it has a political meaning originally..
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Aimless action, as usual.

France and Germany are probably the best populations to prove how irrational and absurd the allegions of violence in games and movies causing violence in real life are (being direct neighbours with a long common history, sharing Elass as a "mixed" region, and probably being less alien to each other than most other pairs of countries).
Still, what's considered suitable for children of age 12 in France is usually first censored and then rated either 16+ or 18+ in Germany. This extends even to movies that were explicitly targetted at "family+kid", such as for example Adèle Blanc-Sec. Which, frankly, is typical for us Nazis. We just can't allow someone to decide for himself, we have to control what you see, what you do, and what you think.

Yet, despite of the censoring, there is more capital crime and there are more amok runs in Germany than in France.
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[quote name='SymLinked' timestamp='1312043931' post='4842557']
Well, I've seen it all the time during playing WoW when people discussed player-killing. I think they meant that "people of the opposite faction are kill-on-site" but most probably have no idea that it has a political meaning originally..
[/quote]

You need to find a new guild, man [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/huh.gif[/img]
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[quote name='Drathis' timestamp='1312035107' post='4842530']
They said they would retaliate with more democracy and freedom... Good job.
[/quote]

This is a retailer, a commercial entity., not a policy nor does it have any more to do with democracy than the banker's right to 25% bonus increase.


And it is effectively a freedom of choice. In the same way Wal Mart doesn't carry sexual toys (or does it?), while they likely carry contraceptives and condoms.

Society accepts what is acceptable and games, sooner or later, will become subject to availability, which will likely reduce the general offering, just like certain products are limited to certain types of retailers.


A knee-jerk reaction here would be instant ban on sales of such games enforced by government. And a retailer pulling out is a good step into direction of self-regulation. It can serve as example in industry and weakens the need towards government policies.

The moral ground here is much more important due to increased digital distribution. If stores stop selling boxed products it has no effect on availability. But if a policy is established, it will apply to everything and could trivially apply to digital downloads as well.
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[quote name='Antheus' timestamp='1312053185' post='4842604']
[quote name='Drathis' timestamp='1312035107' post='4842530']
They said they would retaliate with more democracy and freedom... Good job.
[/quote]

This is a retailer, a commercial entity., not a policy nor does it have any more to do with democracy than the banker's right to 25% bonus increase.


And it is effectively a freedom of choice. In the same way Wal Mart doesn't carry sexual toys (or does it?), while they likely carry contraceptives and condoms.

Society accepts what is acceptable and games, sooner or later, will become subject to availability, which will likely reduce the general offering, just like certain products are limited to certain types of retailers.


A knee-jerk reaction here would be instant ban on sales of such games enforced by government. And a retailer pulling out is a good step into direction of self-regulation. It can serve as example in industry and weakens the need towards government policies.

The moral ground here is much more important due to increased digital distribution. If stores stop selling boxed products it has no effect on availability. But if a policy is established, it will apply to everything and could trivially apply to digital downloads as well.
[/quote]

It's a commercial entity retaliating with something totally different than democracy and freedom. This is happening in Norway after those words were said. The words have no meaning now. I don't care if it wasn't the government, it's still the Norwegian people doing this.
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[quote name='Drathis' timestamp='1312056456' post='4842618']
[quote name='Antheus' timestamp='1312053185' post='4842604']
[quote name='Drathis' timestamp='1312035107' post='4842530']
They said they would retaliate with more democracy and freedom... Good job.
[/quote]

This is a retailer, a commercial entity., not a policy nor does it have any more to do with democracy than the banker's right to 25% bonus increase.


And it is effectively a freedom of choice. In the same way Wal Mart doesn't carry sexual toys (or does it?), while they likely carry contraceptives and condoms.

Society accepts what is acceptable and games, sooner or later, will become subject to availability, which will likely reduce the general offering, just like certain products are limited to certain types of retailers.


A knee-jerk reaction here would be instant ban on sales of such games enforced by government. And a retailer pulling out is a good step into direction of self-regulation. It can serve as example in industry and weakens the need towards government policies.

The moral ground here is much more important due to increased digital distribution. If stores stop selling boxed products it has no effect on availability. But if a policy is established, it will apply to everything and could trivially apply to digital downloads as well.
[/quote]

It's a commercial entity retaliating with something totally different than democracy and freedom. This is happening in Norway after those words were said. The words have no meaning now. I don't care if it wasn't the government, it's still the Norwegian people doing this.
[/quote]

I wouldn't judge a nation based on the actions of one corporation, especially not a corporation like Coop which hardly even sells computer games, they primarily sell food (Its only in their larger stores that they have some other products aswell and even in those their selection of games tend to be extremely limited)
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[quote name='Drathis' timestamp='1312056456' post='4842618']

It's a commercial entity retaliating with something totally different than democracy and freedom. This is happening in Norway after those words were said. The words have no meaning now. I don't care if it wasn't the government, it's still the Norwegian people doing this.
[/quote]

Towards the end of 90s I worked in aviation, mostly developing custom software for development of paragliders and ultralights and such. During that time, paragliding was in boom. Everyone was doing it. People without their own could rent on the spot.

Accident rate was X%. But with very large number of people doing it, the absolute numbers rose exponentially (due to exponential number of people).

So, EU steps in and slaps all kinds of regulation on *manufacture* of parachutes. It wasn't technical problems, inexperienced people multiplied by mass caused accidents.

In under a year, hundreds of manufacturers had to close shop - the cost and effort needed to obtain the certification was simply too much for them. What was left was effectively one single manufacturer.

Over the next two years paragliding stopped being a fad and numbers decreased, leading to low accident rates. So, big success.


Meanwhile, the pros in the industry stuck with manufacturers they knew were good. Not because of regulation, but because they had to choose who they will risk their life for. So, the handful, instead of producing certified products, instead went into "for personal use" which avoided that problem. The serious market was already self-regulating and has remained such.


It's important to understand the impact of policy vs. self-regulation, regardless of why the latter happens. Game sales fall under publishing and that is big business. Lobbysts will use anything since there is potentially a lot of money at stake, just like with music licensing or the movie ratings.

In this given example, market will decide if it supports it. But what one definitely doesn't want is governments to get involved, because nothing good will come out of that.
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[quote name='Antheus' timestamp='1312061078' post='4842638']
[quote name='Drathis' timestamp='1312056456' post='4842618']
It's a commercial entity retaliating with something totally different than democracy and freedom. This is happening in Norway after those words were said. The words have no meaning now. I don't care if it wasn't the government, it's still the Norwegian people doing this.
[/quote]

Towards the end of 90s I worked in aviation, mostly developing custom software for development of paragliders and ultralights and such. During that time, paragliding was in boom. Everyone was doing it. People without their own could rent on the spot.

Accident rate was X%. But with very large number of people doing it, the absolute numbers rose exponentially (due to exponential number of people).

So, EU steps in and slaps all kinds of regulation on *manufacture* of parachutes. It wasn't technical problems, inexperienced people multiplied by mass caused accidents.

In under a year, hundreds of manufacturers had to close shop - the cost and effort needed to obtain the certification was simply too much for them. What was left was effectively one single manufacturer.

Over the next two years paragliding stopped being a fad and numbers decreased, leading to low accident rates. So, big success.


Meanwhile, the pros in the industry stuck with manufacturers they knew were good. Not because of regulation, but because they had to choose who they will risk their life for. So, the handful, instead of producing certified products, instead went into "for personal use" which avoided that problem. The serious market was already self-regulating and has remained such.


It's important to understand the impact of policy vs. self-regulation, regardless of why the latter happens. Game sales fall under publishing and that is big business. Lobbysts will use anything since there is potentially a lot of money at stake, just like with music licensing or the movie ratings.

In this given example, market will decide if it supports it. But what one definitely doesn't want is governments to get involved, because nothing good will come out of that.
[/quote]
This was totally not the point. I get what government regulation is and it doesn't always work, no need for analogies here. I'm disappointed because this is a knee jerk reaction by Norwegians, even though it wasn't the government.
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If it's true that video games represent only a tiny fraction of their total sales, you could be very cynical about it and see this as a commercial entity taking advantage of a horrible tragedy to get free publicity and to build an image as a family friendly and 'responsible' company. But I rather not think that way.
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If it is just a retailer, treating a few decision makers in a private company as representative of Norway isn't that different from treating a certain individual with a shotgun as representative of Norway.

Don't forget that a corporation isn't anything other than people, lead by a smaller number of people, with some kind of legal charter. An individual somewhere made this decision.

So we now have two facts about Norway; a few individuals did ridiculous things (murder, make you have to go to a different shop to buy some entertainment products) that ideally aren't congruous with their culture.
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[quote name='Drathis' timestamp='1312095089' post='4842766']
I'm disappointed because this is a knee jerk reaction by Norwegians, even though it wasn't the government.
[/quote]
From what I've heard, some game shops have pulled out some games, and other have not. Some retail owner said he received a call from an employer that there were customers raging and shouting about supporting the incident by keeping WoW on the shelves. I don't think it's the Norwegian gov or retailers, but some random population making a fuss.
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