THE BUZZ: Sony and Microsoft have blocked have blocked the Xbox Live and PSN accounts of 3,580 registered New York sex offenders in a bid to protect children in online games.
Known as “Operation: Game Over,” the initiative is a joint effort between Sony, Microsoft, Blizzard, EA, Apple and others.
“We must ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims.”
The New York Civil Liberties Union questions the impact of the operation, telling Gamasutra: “While the intent here is admirable, schemes like this one do very little to keep children safe and trample on the right to free speech and expression.”
“And the problem this initiative is trying to solve is almost non-existent. Children are almost always abused by people they know – a friend or family member – not by people they interact with while playing video games online.”
EGM’s TAKE: This is a good move by all companies involved and should perhaps be put into motion worldwide. If you are on that register then you shouldn’t be in contact with children, and the anonymous nature of online games and platforms is the wrong kind of environment to allow them into. This is a simple initiative to protect children in online games, sure it’s not going to put an end to anything happening and you can’t stop everyone, but it’s a solid step in the right direction towards protecting the children in a situation that parents can’t always be clued in to.