Since the state is rebuffing the ESRB rating system, it is assumed the state will determine what constitutes a "violent video game", putting the state in the position of regulating artistic expression, which is where US Constitutional sticklers, the VSDA and the ESA find their beef with the law. However, Governor Schwarzenegger and Assemblyman Leeland Yee (the author of the bill) see it differently.
"The $31 billion videogame industry is not concerned with the health and welfare of our children; they are simply concerned with their own financial interests," said Yee yesterday, in response to the lawsuit.
Yee, who believes the law is safe from constitutional violation, as it was "drafted with the help of constitutional experts", went on to compare his crusade to the work of those who fought for child labor laws and against child abuse:
History has proven in cases of child labor and physical assault on children that we can and should pass laws to protect them. I am a strong believer in the First Amendment and in free speech, but when a game allows a player to virtually commit sexual assault and murder, as a society we must do what we can to protect our children, as we do for alcohol, tobacco, and pornography, among other items. I look forward to working with the Governor and the Attorney General in making sure this law withstands the legal attacks of the video game industry.
Yee has a friend in Governor Schwarzenegger, who issued a supporting statement:
Ten days ago I signed into law legislation that requires violent videogames be clearly labeled and prohibits their sale to children under 18 years old. Many of these games are made for adults and choosing games that are appropriate for kids should be a decision made by their parents.
California's new law will ensure parental involvement in determining which video games are appropriate for their children. I believe strongly that we must give parents the tools to help them protect their children. I will do everything in my power to preserve this new law and I urge the Attorney General to mount a vigorous defense of California's ability to prevent the sale of these games to children.
Funny, I don't remember Arnie ever wanting to help parents protect their children from seeing his R-rated films.