Games rated as Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) are set to receive a makeover in their box design, if recent legislation in the State of Virginia passes.
According to Senate Bill 368, which is only currently being considered by the State, and has not yet passed, such Mature-rated games, which account for 16 percent of games sold according to the Entertainment Software Association, must feature an ESRB rating that is “deemed to be clearly and prominently printed on or affixed to the front of the video game's box”.
This in itself is not odd, but in addition, the rating in question must be “...a square with sides not less than three inches long, and with type stating that the video game may be suitable only for persons age 17 or older that is not smaller than twelve-point type.” In many cases, this would mean that the logo would cover as much as one half of the front of the game's box.
The proposed legislation comes in the wake of last month's subcommittee hearing
entitled “What’s in a Game? State Regulation of Violent Video Games and the First Amendment”, which featured a gathering in Washington D.C. of witnesses from both sides of the debate surrounding violence in video games.
The hearing, presided over by Kansas Senator Republican Sam Brownback, focused on the difficulties in getting proposed video game-related legislation signed into law, and continues on from a plethora of individual State-related violent game bills, a number of which have been passed and subsequently injuncted
for First Amendment-related reasons.