Thursday, February 27, 2014

By Jamaal Ryan

The video game industry has enough of a fight on their hands with the “culture battle” in America. Keeping its head above water in a sea of accusations painting it a parasite of a medium that corrupts our youth to commit violent acts such as shooting school children in an elementary school is an exhausting and arduous exercise.

 But since the Sandy Hook shootings, politicians have raised the stakes, or broadened them, from first amendment violating bills of controlling the sales of video game distribution to now The Tax Reform Act of 2014 excluding video game developers from tax credits, particularly tax credits for R&D.

The WashingtonExaminer reported on the story yesterday, stating that part of the provisions specifies, “Preventing makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit."

In addition, the report points out that the bill sloppily about-faces, claiming that the bill, “stops the practice of using the tax code to pick winners and losers based on political power rather than economic merit.”

Back in May of last year, Reverend Franklin Graham suggested to Joe Biden to tax makers of violent media, including violent video games. In response to the suggestion, Biden stated that there was, “no restriction on the ability to do that, there’s no legal reason why they couldn’t.” Note the wording of “violent media”, so I’ll give some credit to Graham for not singling out video games.

But nonetheless allows for a severe case of the WTF knowing that law makers are willing to go as far as to, and I’ll reiterate the popular term, deem what form of art is appropriate. While the more sensible (but no less insane) political consensus has targeted media as a whole, knowing that this new act is specifically targeting the games industry is gross enough to feel as if some legal line has been crossed.

‘Unfair’ doesn’t even begin to describe this metaphorical piss-in-the-face this is as it is an ill-conceived reaction with the assumption that video games have a scientific correlation with acts of violence. In fact, it’s a big “fuck you” to the Supreme Court which has specified that psychological research was, “ “unpersuasive" and noted that such research contains many methodological flaws.”

I know this is America, but this is down right out of control. 

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