Violence in video games has been a hot topic in the United States of America, where politicians (President Trump among them) have suggested that games cause mass shootings. However, the USA isn’t the only country debating the effect of violent video games, as Brazil’s politicians have entered the conversation, too.
According to Brazilian publication UOL (translated with Google Translate), Federal Deputy Junior Bozzella (PSL-SP) has put forward a new bill (1577/2019) that would criminalize violent video games. The bill would introduce a change to the country’s penal code to punish people with three to six months of jail time or a fine if the person “for their own account or for others, develops, imports, sells, transfers, lends, makes available or leases applications or electronic games that incite violence and crime.” The punishment could be tripled if the offense involves mass media or the Internet.
In a statement, the deputy blamed the “trivialization” of violence is because young people are playing violent video games. The statement also said that games are to blame for the “formation of violent and disturbed citizens.”
Brazil isn’t the only country in the world to have created bills or laws like this. In India, battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was accused of turning children into psychopaths. Officials in the India state of Gujarat said that the game is leading to a “violent attitude” in the region’s youth and banned people from playing the game. 10 PUBG Mobile players have been arrested in the area, which highlights just how far some areas are willing to go to prevent violent video games from being played.
This is despite the fact that multiple studies have shown that violent video games do not increase violence in people. Studies have also concluded that people aren’t experiencing long-term emotional desensitization.
There is still a long way to go for this violent video games bill to be turned into a law. The bill hasn’t been debated yet, and Brazil’s politicians haven’t had a chance to vote on it. However, if it is successful, the effects on Brazil’s gaming industry could be devastating. Brazil’s games industry has always been at a disadvantage due to how much new games and consoles cost in the region (the PS4 was $1,800 at launch) and a ban on violent video games will only negatively affect that more.