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Lionel Laurent

Anxiety About Gaming Should Be Over Money, Not Morals

As virtual worlds get bigger, so does the need for more consumer protection from exploitative practices — especially when it comes to kids’ games.

Always. On.

Always. On.

Photographer: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images Europe

It’s tempting to mark this week’s news of video-game restrictions in China and a U.K. law intended to make the internet safer for children as just another episode in the long, ludicrous history of moral panic in gaming.

Over the decades, depictions of pixelated blood, virtual car-jackings and sex with aliens have sparked all kinds of outrage that would seem quaint today. Arcade classic Space Invaders was once described in the U.K. Parliament as an addictive trigger for “theft, blackmail and vice.”