The video game industry supports free expression and opposes any attempt to restrict the First Amendment rights of video game publishers, developers, artists, storytellers and players. These protections help ensure the creativity and innovation of the industry.
The First Amendment has been fundamental to the growth of the video game industry. Free speech protections for video game publishers, developers, artists, storytellers and players have enabled the industry’s groundbreaking experiences in interactive entertainment.
Calls to regulate video game content infringe upon this guaranteed right. The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that video games are protected speech and that any efforts to limit or ban video game content violates the First Amendment in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association & Entertainment Software Association (2011).
At the same time, the video game industry recognizes the importance of providing information and tools for all audiences to make educated, age-appropriate purchasing decisions regarding video games. For more than 25 years, the industry has worked through the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to ensure that consumers—especially parents and caregivers—have the resources, including voluntary ratings, needed to make informed decisions about video games. The effectiveness of these efforts has been praised by the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Related News and Resources
ESA Leadership Desk: Reflecting on the Decade Since the U.S. Supreme Court Recognized First Amendment Protections for Video GamesFeatured Item / Perspectives /
Ten years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision recognizing the application of the First Amendment to video games.
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The Entertainment Software Association issued the following statement in response to legislation (HB3531) introduced this week by Illinois state representative Marcus C. Evans:
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Video games are about more than fun. They make us better thinkers, more creative, more curious, and bring us closer together. Thanks to the passion of video game developers, publishers, and players across the globe, the future of interactive entertainment is brighter than ever before.
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Courts, including the US Supreme Court, have ruled 13 times that computer and video games are protected speech. Efforts by these legislative bodies to ban or limit access to or the sale of games they find objectionable will inevitably run afoul of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
- Policy Filings /
Specifically, ESA seeks to provide information to the Court regarding the expressive nature of video games and to explain to the Court that it should interpret “advertising” and “trade” under Section 51 so as not to cover video games and other expressive works.