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Peter Moore on AO-rated games: "You have to draw the line somewhere"

At its E3 press conference, Microsoft promised every game it was showing was coming to the Xbox 360 or PC before the end of the year, making it very easy to be excited about the strong software lineup they showed off at the show. At one of Microsoft's press events, Arstechnica.com had a chance to sit down with Peter Moore, the corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division of Microsoft Corp. This is a very fancy way of saying that Moore is often the public face of the 360.

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TruthHurts3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

i guess.
but doesnt that defeat the purpose of artistic expression?

@everyone

YOU ALL BRING UP GOOD POINTS.

all i have to say is this, when you let people start determining what you can do w/ creativity, it wont stop at what you at first let them stop.

ya know how it goes
give a inch, they`ll take a mile.

MyNutsYourChin3574d ago

There's a fine line between artistic expression and irresponsible expression.

benfinkel3574d ago

Omni - What is the definition of irresponsible expression? The point of free speech is that there is no such thing.

JasonXE3574d ago

you have free speech, doesn't mean you don't have to face the consquences for it.

Ravenator5293574d ago

I know what you are saying but is there really a point for a game like this to be released?

I really believe that this game was created with the sole purpose of "pushing the limits".

It's hard not to sound hypocritical in a situation like this.

As much as I am all about "expression" I also love video games and I am tired of seeing something I love always end up with a "black eye" at the end of the day.

A game like this would only make things worse 10 times over! It's pretty bad when entire countries are banning this game before its even released.

I could live without Manhunt 2.

benfinkel3574d ago

Rave - Remember it's not necessarily about Manhunt 2. That may be the current incarnation, but what we're really taking about here is the concept of squashing speech that is deemed "inappropriate".

Of course MS is a private company and is bound by no law to honor freedom of speech. If they wish to blanket disallow AO material on their system that's their prerogative. You need to ask yourself though if that's not an abuse or failure of a responsibility they have. Just because it's legal for them to do doesn't make it morally right. Google is taking a lot of heat for restricting their results in China to accommodate Chinese laws, why shouldn't companies in America come under the same scrutiny?

MyNutsYourChin3574d ago

While I agree with you that R* is pushing the limits with this game I'm not sure that was their sole purpose.

However, I do understand that continually pushing the limits such as this does negatively influence morality and slowly desensitizes an individuals perception of the difference between "right" and "wrong".

This is why there exists a difference between artisitc expression and irresponsible expression. My definition of irresponsible expression is an opinion based artistic expression that negatively influences an individuals understanding of the difference between right and wrong. This influence also affects the social fabric of the current status quo by allowing for more destructive and negatively impacting views. In the end, the current social structure breaks down and is replaced with a social web that's more tolerant toward violence and other vices humanity has stuggled to eliminate.

Ravenator5293574d ago

I totally see what you are saying. It's such a touchy subject that its hard to say that anyone is right or wrong.

Should they be able to release the game? Of course they should.

Should they release a game like this? IMO, no.

But thats just my opinion. And its totally based on the fact of what it will bring to the industry.

And the sad sad reality is that games like this can't be released without a huge amount of bad press while movies like "Hostile" can be shown in movie theatres with a "R" rating.

And not one damn word will be said about the movie. Why? Cha Ching $$$$$$$$$!

Things won't change until these old coots on the governmental level are ousted with retirement.

This argument will go on for a very long time.

Everyone is bringing good points here.

i Shank u3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

I have a couple things to add.
1. If i can buy porns, brutal gory horror or action movies, and even games like Gears let you chainsaw ppl in half with gore, why does the line get drawn at manhunt, or nudity and sex, in games? there can be nudity and sex and violence in movies but not games?

2. In a free market system, the choices should be there in some way. Stores like wal mart, target, best buy would never carry Adult Games, so they wouldnt be in front of everyones face. like how Porn DVDs are, you dont see them everywhere you go(i live in USA).

The consumer should decide whats available, not the minorities in corporations or governments. + bubbles to everyone for good comments

witchking3574d ago

Let's face it, this is censorship. "They" are censoring us for our own good. And for all of you out there who think you can live without Manhunt 2, the point is, would we be the people we are today if Elvis had been banned, if The Godfather had been banned, if Friday the 13th had been banned, if porn had been banned? Let's face it, it is human nature to push our limits. Otherwise we'd still be in caves smacking a couple of rocks together to make a spark.

The console manufacturers draw this line because 1, they want to appear to the mass market as family-friendly -- you're not going to sell 100 million consoles because you have Ao games -- 2, where does one purchase an Ao game, knowing that retailers won't carry them? You can't buy porn in Wal-mart, Target, etc.... so where does one even purchase an Ao game?

Were I Rockstar, I would publish the game in its initially designed form on the PC. Others have done it... there was a Leisure Suit Larry on the original Xbox that was toned down on the console, while an Ao version was downloadable for the PC. Rockstar could do the same with Manhunt 2... basically allowing the original version into the hands of the PC-friendly crowd. That limits their audience, obviously, but in the spirit of artistic expression, freedom of speech and outrage against censorship, it would be a suitable solution.

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 3574d ago
Syko3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

The corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division of Microsoft Corp.

I'd just be like "I'm the guy in charge of Xbox360 PR". The other way sounds like you're a king in a 3rd world country or something.

Anyways, AO still has the stigma of being the X or NC-17 of the movies, only they wont let as much go as they do in the movies before getting that rating.

THE VIOLATOR3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

Hmmmmmm, this is a tough one. On the one hand, I support Adult gaming... gaming is not just for children anymore, I wish XBL would segregate the 16 & under form 17 & older crowds so me & all my friends could get away from all the noob-brats that have Gamerscore's of "10" & talk trash & have no skills whatsoever. Although, it can be nice occasionally to get them in Ranked matches - easy Achievements !

Also, I support games like Gears of War, Mass Effect, Grand Theft ect. that are NOT for children. (Even though their irresponsible parents let them have 'em anyway - outta be a law).

But, back to the subject, what is an AO game exactly ? I could care less for some porn game (what a joke) & any extreme gore & language beyond say something like The Darkness is just stupid in my book. What's the point ? But, alittle thong or titty here & there is amusing, alittle language is acceptable & realistic, but that's not AO - that should be M. However, I still support Freedom of Speech as well as more Adult driven games for Adults. That shouldn't mean "Porn Games" or Games with ridiculous violence to the point of being psychologically disturbing .... The point is, I don't see Manhunt as AO (from internet trailers), but obscene, grossly violent gore & porn have no place in gaming or your psyche.

Problem is there shouldn't be any TRUE AO games - M should be for Adults & there should not be a level above M obtainable at your local Wallmart, but I can easily see games like Manhunt that should have gotten an M & get shafted & get a AO rating. Thus, slamming the door on something that maybe wasn't as bad as say your 12 year old watching Scarface last Saturday night.

dantesparda3574d ago (Edited 3573d ago )

So basically half you muthfvckas wanna be controlled and told what you can and cant watch/do/play. Or you's wanna be able to tell everyone else what they can and cant watch/play/do. Thank goodness you's werent the founding fathers of America. Unfortunately, we are losing all our rights here too.

You know, you's say that AO games makes people act a certain way. Well then i could argue that video game systems can make people act a certain way, cuz it creates a form of fanboyism, and fanboyism creates hatred amongst the opposing sides, thereby causing, insults, offensive remakes, hate and disrespect towards each other, and its only a matter of time, before somebody get killed over it. So why not ban that too? So i say ban video game systems while we are at it. Cuz look at the negative effects it has or could have on people. I mean these are slippery slopes people, once you give them that, then they move on to the next thing. And before you know it, the whole country/place is just oppressive. Let freedom ring!

@ Omnihilum
You was doing alright, and i was actually agreeing with you until you had to go and take a shot at me, by saying that the grammer/punctuation was bad. Let me tell you something Omni, i dont give-a-fvck whether you reply to me or not cuz you dont mean anything to me. However, to talk sh!t about my grammer/punctuation, when there are many more muthafvckas on this site who have far worst grammer/punctuation than me, is just insulting. Im only going to tell you this once, and once only. I type alot of sh!t most of time, when i respond to these posts, and i dont go back or re-read what i just wrote, because i really do not care to waste my time doing it. So if there are typos or mispelling or inproperly written sh!t, then i wouldnt know, cuz i dont go back and check what i just wrote. So if you cant understand that or "get it", then it is not me who has a problem with "punctuation" but rather you, with your ability to understand that. Can you say "coherence problem"? Now good day, sir!

MyNutsYourChin3574d ago

It flows in the other direction as well. Balance is key to a healthy, secure, and lively society.

As a note, your comment was so foul with poor punctuation and grammer that I am refraining from ever replying to you again until you express yourself in a more coherent way.

DirtyRat3574d ago

He doesn't really have much to say in this interview really, it's all been said before.

benfinkel3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

While I understand his position that they have a due diligence to the content that is available on their console by virtue of their position within the marketplace, I wish he would acknowledge a due diligence to the freedom of speech and expression that they also have by virtue of the same.

I'm not saying they need to allow everything and anything, but instead of a blanket rejection of AO content they could have a policy to take AO content on a case-by-case basis and determine if it's the right material for their console. As it stands he's basically claiming that content intended for adult audiences only has no value in the marketplace. That's a sad position to take in America.

Hey guys - Continue this discussion on my blog http://blog.thegamercollect...
It may be a few minutes before my editor posts it.

HokieFan3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

Well said Ben. I completely agree. Obviously there are certain limits as to what should be put in a video game, but just saying that any AO game shouldn't be available is just not right. Not that it's for consoles, but one example of what should NOT be in a video game is that Virginia Tech massacre recreation game. That's just sick.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Sony has made any statements about AO games on their systems? I would assume that Nintendo has an even more strict policy than the one MS appears to be taking.

benfinkel3574d ago

Hokie - I would argue that even that statement about VT is taking it too far. There have been movies about the columbine attack that have not been "sick". As terrible as a tragedy as it is, that doesn't mean there isn't value in examining what happened. Of course that subject could just as easily (probably more easily) be treated poorly without regard for the context which is why it ought to be a case-by-case basis.

I think my ultimate point, which you seem to get so I'm not being contentious, is that any blanket statement about what speech is "good" versus "bad" is disingenuous to the entire concept of free speech. There are endless examples throughout history of "bad" speech that turned out to be most pivotal in changing society for the better.

And I believe Nintendo also expressed a "No AO" policy when Manhunt 2 was given it's rating.

MyNutsYourChin3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

I enjoyed reading your response. Your intellectual and analytical prowess is apparent. Bubble for you.

However, your statement, "There are endless examples throughout history of "bad" speech that turned out to be most pivotal in changing society for the better" has me concerned. While I agree with you that there are examples where such a situation has changed the country and society for the better (i.e. the african-american movement, the woman's movement, etc.) I need to express my concern that not all "bad" speech will turn out to be a constructive and socially advancing change.

It is our duty as a people, as a culture, and as a nation to highly scrutinize expression so that it is certain such an expression will not topple the very structure that supports this freedom. As I have said above, there is a fine line between artistic expression and irresponsible expression.

EDIT: HokieFan you deserve a bubble for your serious, intellectual, and compassionate comments. Your comment below is a good example of the exploitation and misuse of our freedoms. I agree with your argument.

HokieFan3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

Ben: Maybe the VT shootings are just too personal for me, but I can't imagine a video game where you get to be the killer and you hunt down the victims by name is an appropriate use of our freedom of speech. The game creator was interviewed and clearly created it purely for shock value and to make people angry. He laughed at people's angered responses to his game. Here's a quote from an interview with him about the game:

'You do it for some negative reaction to laugh at. You do if for other people who have the same tastes as you because they get a laugh out of it as much as I do.'

I would 100% support any company's decision to keep this game from coming to their console. If MS allowed it, I would sell my 360.

If you think that a game like that is appropriate, then we clearly just have differing opinions on what type of bad speech would change history for the better. Speaking out against the government can be good, but mocking the memory of 32 young shooting victims is not.

Omni: I agree 100%.

Omni: Thanks! I had already done the same for you and benfinkel. It's nice (and unfortunately rare) to actually have a rational discussion on this site.

benfinkel3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

Omni - Thanks, I try to think out my thoughts before I write.

I believe I understand your position. Unarguably much speech that is considered "bad" turns out be just that; bad. The paradox of freedom however is that in order to maintain the integrity of freedom you need to allow expressions and actions that are harmful to that freedom. There can be no doubt that due process allows many guilty criminals to walk free that could otherwise be restrained, but that is a trade-off that we make in order to offer the freedom to other people who's guilt may not be so clear.

The same is true in this case. We allow the Nazi party to stage protests and demonstrations in our public property, not because we support their views but because we support their right to express those views. For a blurrier example look at the ongoing battle between the Christian majority and the homosexual rights movement. We could argue all day about which one of those sides is right versus wrong. What we would agree on however is that they both deserve the right to argue for their side.

to quote you, I agree that it IS our duty as a culture to scrutinize and evaluate and reevaluate constantly the media we inundate ourselves with. In terms of free speech that does not advance positive social change I think the largest duty resides with the entity positing that expression, and the least duty on any third party involved. I wonder how you would feel about a PA company refusing to allow a gay rights convention to rent their equipment because they morally objected to the speech. How about a catering company refusing to work with a church because they didn't agree with THAT church's ideals? Judging speech is fine, but at what point are you no longer judging and move into the realm of censoring?

Finally, Microsoft also owes that duty to scrutinize the views and ideals being expressed via their platform. Due to their large market share and ability to drastically shape what is and is not being expressed via video games, I would say their duty is much larger than yours or my own may be. The question is, is a blanket restriction of any material that has been rated for adult audiences truly living up to their duty? Because it sounds to me like they are just tossing out material based on very few limited and likely incorrect assumptions. That's not scrutiny, that's censorship. In this particular instance, I would suggest that the harm done by that censoring far outweighs the potential good being done by removing that material from the market.

@Omni again - Thank you for the consideration, although it was hardly necessary. I've been arguing on forums long enough to not be too worked up about not having the last say :)

As for the questions I asked above they were purely rhetoric. I only wanted to highlight the points I was making. I agree, they could devolve entirely into their own arguments.

benfinkel3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

Hokie - I think I may have mis-represented my position. I was speaking in general terms of a video game based on those events, not any one specific game. Of course someone may have made a game that was designed to do nothing more than hurt the victims of the VT shootings, like I said I imagine that would be the easiest thing to do. But to ignore ANY media devoted to those events based on no other facts would be the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand. Completely ignoring it would make it difficult to forward any positive results from those tragic events.

@Hokie again - Yea, I could not imagine one either but, I'm not a game designer or an artist. That's one of the things I admire about good artists, their ability to handle difficult material like that.

Hey guys - Continue this discussion on my blog http://blog.thegamercollect...
It may be a few minutes before my editor posts it.

HokieFan3574d ago

Ben: Sounds like a misunderstanding. Someone DID make a "game that was designed to do nothing more than hurt the victims of the VT shootings"...and that was what I was referring to. I was only speaking to that game, not the topic itself. So, I wouldn't automatically say any game dealing with the VT shootings should be banned...however, I can't ever imagine how a game dealing with that subject being could possibly be appropriate for the Xbox. It might be possible, but I certainly can't imagine it.

MyNutsYourChin3574d ago

I see your bubbles have been depleated. Thus I will try to limit my response to only answering any questions within your argument in order to keep your opinion and last remarks on an equal footing.

Indeed, arguments about right and wrong tend to be highly opinionated and can go long into the night and thus I do not wish to delve into such a dispersive debate.

On the matter of discriminatory services (i.e. PA company, catering company, etc.), I do not think my feelings on the matter would provide an objective and logical argument although I do appreciate your interest.

With that being said, I'll leave the debate intact and open for others to continue if they wish.

witchking3574d ago

The only issue with that is that it says "we know better than the ESRB what our customers want." And in this industry, you don't want to get on the wrong side of the ESRB. Get in a war with them, and you're bound to have to create your own standards body.

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 3574d ago
nobizlikesnowbiz3574d ago

Why is there still the general consensus that there is no market for adult games? The number of adult gamers is probably more than younger gamers.

Just because the "games are for kids" opinion is still floating around, the game industry doesn't think it would be profitable to release AO games? I don't think it's just me when I say that this just seems bogus. Of course there is a market for AO games, all that is needed is that younger kids cant get their hands on them.

AO games could get out of hand, and could no longer be sold in normal retailers, since there would no-doubt be "interactive porn" type games.

Anyways, I'm an adult. I'm all for AO games. There is a huge market for them. Not everyone wants toned-down fuzzy kid-friendly games you know.

sticky doja3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

I am 24 and I would sure like an "interactive porn" or AO game, but at the same time how would you be able to restrict it from children? I wouldn't want my daughter getting ahold of that game and playing it.

@BenzMoney
I agree with you, but....I could censor what my child gets ahold of, but I think Microsoft is worried about that one case that gets out that some idiotic parents that lets their children do whatever, gets ahold of the "porn" game and plays it and winds up acting out what he/she saw on the "game" at school or something and it gets nation wide coverage. While I agree most parents will make sure their children never come across any AO game were it available, Microsoft wouldn't want the bad press of that one set of idiotic parents and what their child did because of it. Either way, bubble for you.

BenzMoney3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

Simple, use the parental controls that are built into your xbox. Hide the game and only take it out when your daughter isn't around. Restrict sales of the media to adults only and restrict their sale in the same manner you restrict other adults only material (ie: magazine or video pornography).

There is no arguement to be made in support of censorship, period. Nothing is a substitute for good parenting.

One of the cornerstones of western society is freedom of speech and freedom in general. Why should anyone have the ability to choose what is or isn't appropriate for an adult to view in the privacy of their own home? Historically this very thing has founded the basis of propaganda behind oppressive regimes.

- See and hear only what "they" want you to see and hear -

That being said, I'm surprised that Microsoft has taken this position. They made their console with complete with "parental controls" to deal with situations exactly like this one. Why circumvent those controls with a unilateral "no AO games, period" blanket statement?

...it's all political manuevering based on advice from legal teams to avoid future headaches from the likes of Jack Thompson and other pro-censorship, repressive and insecure politicians and publicity seekers.

EDIT:

Exactly!! This isn't anything more than an attempt to side-step any potential bad press in the future. There are too many people caught up in blaming media for the ills of society rather than taking a long hard look in the mirror. It's unfortunate, because lately we've been witnessing a trampling of individual rights by the government unlike any other time in recent history! ...having the companies that provide us with media hopping on that bandwagon is disconcerting, if nothing else.

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