California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a measure aimed at restricting access to violent video games by children. The measure, named Assembly Bill 1793, was brought forward by assemblyman Leland Yee, who originally campaigned for all California-sold video games rated 'M for Mature' to be stocked separately from other titles, on shelves at least five feet from the ground.
The final bill was watered down, though, allegedly in part because of concerns from the governor’s office, and passed by the senate by a 21-14 vote last month. The bill then only required Schwarzenegger to sign it before coming law.
Nevertheless, the IEMA (Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association) has released a statement that, while noting that Yee's intentions were "honorable" and that the bill is improved, addresses continuing concerns about adding legislative pressure to an existing in-place voluntary scheme: "Thousands of retailers in California are now faced with the inevitability of being of being hit with frivolous lawsuits through the state's 17200 Unfair Business Practices statute."
The new law now simply requires all video game stores to post signs and offer brochures explaining the existing game rating system, a relatively low-key and straightforward move compared to the previous proposals by Yee.