US state boots sex offenders off online gaming networks

Microsoft, Sony, Blizzard and EA comply with New York's request.

The US state of New York has banned convicted sex offenders from all gaming networks, including Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Battlenet.

As reported by GameSpot, the state's attorney general, Eric T. Scheiderman, yesterday announced that 3580 online accounts have been closed or had communication privileges cancelled.

Microsoft, Sony, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros., Disney and Apple all cooperated with the purge, which follows on the heels of a recent court case in the state in which a 19-year-old pleaded guilty to abusing a 10-year-old he met on Xbox Live.

New York law demands all convicted sex offenders to hand over any e-mail addresses and online aliases to help limit their access to vulnerable web networks. However, this is the first time it's been invoked in relation to online gaming.

"Our industry welcomes appropriate efforts allowing people of all ages to play games in a safer environment," commented a spokesperson for the Entertainment Software Association.

"Online gameplay with friends is a social experience and we encourage parents to be aware of what games their children are enjoying and with whom they are interacting in the virtual space.

"Through the use of robust parental controls and awareness of the online world, playing games online can be a fulfilling and rich experience."

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