Call of Duty and Battlefield are turning you into a war criminal

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It seems that your favourite games may just be in breach of certain real world laws, specifically the Geneva Convention and Hague protocols. Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, the online millions of players who regularly engage in a few vigorous games of “shoot ‘em up and teabag ‘em when they’re down”, in certain realistic contemporary wartime shooters, has drawn the attention of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL”, read the event’s description by the Red Cross, which took place at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of IHL in videogames. In a side event, participants were asked: ‘What should we do, and what is the most effective method?”

Should the committee decide that those certain conventions apply to gaming, they will make moves to “encourage” governments to adopt specific regulatory laws in videogames and virtual war victims.

“While National Societies shared their experiences and opinions, there is clearly no simple answer. There is, however, an overall consensus and motivation to take action.”

The committee went on to discuss further the “trivialization of international humanitarian law violations”, and work towards “(Reducing) these ‘virtual’, yet very realistic, violations of IHL.”

“One possible course of action could be to encourage game designers/producers to incorporate IHL in the development and design of video games, while another could be to encourage governments to adopt laws and regulations to regulate this ever-growing industry”, the description said.

Kotaku reached out for a further comment  to the ESA, but was told that no details could be given on the “merits or specifics” of the meeting currently, but that the ESA on its commitment towards developers rights and their creative freedom.

So, is there a valid point here, or is this once again a case of unwanted organizations sticking their noses in where they’re not wanted? Who knows, but maybe the near future of online shooter games will require  prisoner of war camps instead of respawn waiting periods.

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Last Updated: December 5, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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