It's common for video games to “come under fire,” so to speak, in the wake of any national tragedy involving guns. Since the December 14th, 2012 shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, politicians, such as United States President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, have taken a look at video games in ways that no politician has yet to do. After meeting with numerous special rights groups and advisers, Joe Biden has agreed with a solution offered by Reverend Franklin Graham that he feels may help curb violent games: taxing them.
Biden has stated there is “no legal reason” why violent video games couldn't be taxed and, while this same tax could apply to movies and music as well, video games would be the first target due to the interactivity of them. Now, before everyone gets up in arms and the comment section devolves into an anti-Biden environment, keep in mind that Biden isn't suggesting that this tax go into action immediately; he merely stated it was a good idea and future research would be necessary to see if violent video games are impacting the youth of the United States.
What kind of impact could this tax have on the PlayStation 4? After all, the PS4 reveal conference was noted as being nothing but violent game after violent game for the most part with only a few exceptions. Watch Dogs, InFamous: Second Son, Killzone and even the Square Enix engine demonstration all relied on violence and guns as a way to solve problems. Yes, there were games like The Witness shown but the majority of publishers prefer to make violent games and those are the games that sell the most; this is unfortunately a fact of the industry. Would a violent game tax change that?
Potentially, yes. Depending on the size of the tax, it might sway people off buying violent games. Depending on your state, taxes range from an extra $3 to $5 per game on average. Would the average consumer be willing to pay another $5 to $10 just for that new violent game? Or would they rather pocket the money to go play something that can tell a gripping story without the need for bloodshed? We may see developers and publisher opt for softer experiences on the PlayStation 4 just to avoid this tax. One of the most common reasons for a smoker to quit is the high prices of cigarettes, due in part to the taxation upon them. We may see many people "quitting" violent video games in the same fashion.
Where would the line be drawn when it comes to violence? Games like Thief are proclaiming you can play through the entire game without harming a soul. Will a game be taxed because it has the potential for violence? What constitutes violence at all? Is it gunplay, or just a fistfight? Would Street Fighter be considered too violent?
These are all important questions that the government must strongly consider before implementing a violent game tax; luckily for us, proper research is being done before any bills are passed. It's likely that we may see such a bill come into fruition during the PlayStation 4, at which point the entire industry may change as a reaction. We'll keep a close eye on the political landscape at PS4 Experts and alert you of any changes that may impact how you view and play PS4 games.
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 5/20/2013