New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday that the state will begin making a push to prevent sex offenders from access gaming platforms or websites and have already gotten a great deal of support with the industry.
Schneiderman cited a 2008 study that claimed 27 percent of teenagers admitted to playing online with strangers as part of the danger that makes online gaming not just a fun diversion but, as he put it, a potential “21st century crime scene.” While that number may seem frightening to non-gamers, I think most would agree that well over 75% of all gamers have played online with strangers, teenage or otherwise. That is simply the nature of online gaming.
Several big companies are already on board including Microsoft and Apple who have moved to suspend communication privileges for 3,500+ accounts. Also known to be in support of the agreement with a stake in gaming are EA, Blizzard, Warner Bros., and Disney.
A specific case that was cited during the announcement was that of a 19-year old man who admitted earlier this month to luring a 10-year old boy to his home predominately using Xbox LIVE communications as his medium.
Enforcing the agreement, aptly named “Operation: Game Over,” is much easier than one would imagine. In the state of New York, sex offenders must disclose their email address and online accounts at all times. This would make things as easy as someone like Microsoft going through once a week to cross-reference these accounts and suspending communications on those accounts.
There doesn’t seem to be a timeline on when these will take effect or whether they already are taking effect. It is known, though, that there are no programs like this in any other states but there is progress being made on making this system applicable for any state wishing to enforce it.