The Washington state legislature announced on 1 March that they will seek a bill this term to hold video game companies responsible for any violent acts perpetrated "in any part due to playing video games," according to Seattle's KOMO
(with secondary reporting by Games Are Fun
). We've seen similar rumblings before over the years, of course, so this is merely presumptive at this point. However, the bill is currently in committee in the Washington State House of Representatives; upon approval - which is not at all unlikely - from its committee, it will be brought to the floor of the full House for a vote. (For more, locate a torrent of that one episode of "Conjunction Junction" that everyone's heard of.)
The implications of this Washington bill are potentially far-reaching. After all, two of the big three console manufacturers/first-party developers, Microsoft and Nintendo, find their American headquarters in Redmond. Whether the presence of these juggernauts is a contributing factor to the emergence of the bill is currently and will likely be forever unknown - however, if the developers can be held responsible for the actions of the gamers who play their games, it stands to reason that those who sell the platforms on which the games are played could be next.
Video game censorship and regulation has been an issue ever since games truly broke into the forefront of the American culture, over twenty years ago. So while it's easy to say that this bill is an offshoot of the swing toward conservatism in the last election, it's hard to make that case when the bill arose in the perennially blue state of Washington. Without a easy target for the issue, then, what potential reasons are there to introduce this legislation?