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Microsoft backs Eidos after senator attacks publisher

"Lowers common decency."

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Microsoft has backed Eidos after a US senator declared that its gang warfare title 25 to Life "lowers common decency", while the British publisher has reacted by saying that it believes videogame are a creative form and that the ratings systems in place to govern them should be allowed to do their job.

"25 to Life was developed for a mature audience and has been rated so it will be sold only to the appropriate audiences," Microsoft said in a statement.

Earlier Charles Schumer, senator for New York, came out seeking ban of the game in the New York area, and pleaded with Microsoft and rival platform holder Sony, responsible for the PlayStation 2 console, to prevent its release.

Sony had yet to comment on Mr Schumer's comments at the time of publication, but Microsoft was quick to react this morning, contradicting the senator's implication that the game was designed for and marketed to children:

"The Xbox community is growing to include gamers of all ages - we encourage titles that will appeal to these different groups, whether you love action, sports, racing, or fighting games but we also stand behind, and fully comply with, local and pan-European ratings systems such as PEGI to ensure that this content is enjoyed by the appropriate audiences as well as informing parents about which games are appropriate for which gamers," the publisher said.

An Eidos spokesperson said: "Eidos believes that video games are a creative art form and we produce a wide range of content aimed at various age groups including games specifically targeted for the over-18 player.

"On the issue of who should be allowed to purchase our products, we have a very strict two-tier rating system in the UK to send a clear signal to both customers and retailers as to the appropriate audience for each game. 25 to Life will have a BBFC 18+ rating, which means that it is illegal to sell it to anyone under that age; retailers face a £5,000 fine and up to six months in prison if they do so."

Mr Schumer says 25 to Life "lowers common decency" and that "Little Johnny should be learning how to read, not how to kill cops," before going on to argue that games "aimed and marketed at kids shouldn't desensitise them to death and destruction".

He believes that 25 to Life "denigrates" the value of police forces. "You certainly don't need a degree in criminal justice to understand that when you make sport of behaviour that is dangerous and destructive you reinforce it," he said.

25 to Life, which is due out this August in the USA, has been rated "M" for Mature in the US, where ratings are not yet strictly enforced, but has yet to be rated by European ratings body PEGI, but Eidos says the British Board of Film Classification, which has the power to ban the sale of videogames to people of certain ages, will give it an 18+ rating.

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