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German states mull violent game ban

Kyle Orland

The Financial Times reports that the German states of Bavaria and Lower Saxony have drafted legislation the would lead to fines and jail time for developers, distributors and even players of games that involve "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters." The proposed laws, which would affect nearly 19 million Germans, come in response to a recent school shooting by a masked, 18-year-old German Counter-Strike fan that has turned public sentiment in the country against violent games.

Bavarian Interior Minister Gunther Beckstein is leading the effort to pass the legislation, arguing "it is absolutely beyond any doubt that such killer games desensitise [sic] unstable characters and can have a stimulating effect." Despite complaints by German gamers, 59 percent of Germans at large support such a ban, according to a poll cited by the Financial Times.

Germany has a long history of tough restrictions on violent games from Doom to Gears of War, and an outright ban would likely affect high-profile PS3 launch games like Resistance: Fall of Man and Call of Duty 3.

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