Nobody beats America when it comes to the production of violent video games. Oh sure, other countries like Japan try to compete, but nobody does headshots and arterial spray like the good ol’ US of A. This dominance may not last though, as the U.S. government seems to be intent on hampering America’s ability to hang in the competitive killstreaks and fatalities market.
The Tax Reform Act of 2014, a new bill introduced by the Republicans to the House of Representatives, would give hefty tax breaks to companies that develop innovative new technologies. Unfortunately for video game developers, the bill is written in such a way as to specifically prevent “makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit.”
It seems like a weird thing to single out, but then you imagine the shrieking Fox News headlines if they found out government money somehow went to a new horror game or Mortal Kombat title, and it makes a depressing sort of sense.
Of course, like all attempts to impose morality on video games via legislation, this law seems pretty deeply flawed. What exactly constitutes a “violent video game?” Should a game that’s gruesome, but ultimately doesn’t glorify violence, like say The Walking Dead games, be treated harshly, while a headshot-happy shooter that removes most of it’s explicit blood splatter or replaces humans with “cyborgs” gets tax breaks? What about companies that make both violent and non-violent games?
The law hasn’t actually passed yet, but hey, if it does, don’t worry video game industry! You can always open up a few dozen more studios in Vancouver and Montreal.