1985年，《Entertainment Establishments Control Law》得到修正，即街机产业的控制将属于警察管辖权范围内，并受到法律的制约。直到那时，日本的街机产业才真正得以复苏，但是它所带来的结果也是利弊相合。虽然它向社会澄清了问题，但同时也给游戏产业染上了负面形象。除此之外，法律还非常保守，不能够快速做出社会改变。从《太空入侵者》在游戏产业中爆发以来的40年，街机用户已经从玩家变成了家庭成员和老人们了。有些街机甚至被当成是老人们休闲娱乐的社区中心。但是我们却很难让这些街机合法生存着。举个例子来说吧，尽管许多老人需要额外的身体支持，但是街机贩售员却被禁止与老顾客进行身体接触。不幸的是，这种情况似乎不可能推动法律的修正或将其从游戏产业中删除。
A History of Control in Japanese Game Industry
by Kenji Ono
Every form of media has been criticized by society, not just videogames. But videogames are a form of entertainment that changes with technology, and technology continues to change. This means that videogames will continue to change and continue to be criticized. You can say that a history of videogames is a history of social criticism:
1.Technical innovation births the videogame platform. This new platform creates new business models. New business models create new game design imperatives for videogames. Game designs target more mature audiences as profitable market segments. The resulting mature game content is criticized by society. New regulations are created to further define what is and is not acceptable. Go back to step 1.
Let me explain it in more depth by way of the history of the Japanese game industry.
#1 Arcade in 1980s
A semiconductor breakthrough in the 1970s allowed a company called TAITO to manufacture cheap and high performance CPUs. TAITO would go on to create agame called “Space Invaders” with it in 1978. It made a huge impact in Japan, but it also created new social problems. A black market for pirated games formed as a new source of income for Japanese yakuza, or gangsters. Arcades were thought of as a hotbed of vice by old generation and society demanded more control.
In 1985, the Entertainment Establishments Control Law was updated and the arcade industry was ruled to be under police jurisdiction by law. The Japanese arcade industry has survived until today under the rule of law, for better and for worse. While it clarified issues for society, it also gave the game industry a bad image. In the addition, laws are very conservative and do not adjust quickly to social change. In the 40 years since Space Invaders rocked the industry, arcade guests have changed from gamers to families and old people. Some arcades are used as a kind of community center for older folks in a town. But it is difficult for these arcades to survive legally. For example, while many of the elderly need extra physical support, arcade clerks are banned from physical contact with their patrons. Unfortunately, there seems to be no moves toward updating the law or removing it from the game industry.
#2 Consoles in 2000s
Happily, consoles shook off the social regulation that plagued arcades in1980s and 1990s. The Japanese economy was crushed in the 1990s, yet the game industry was very active at the time. They defended against new regulation by saying that it might have a negative economic impact on the industry. But technological innovations in photorealistic visuals created new frictions between the game industry and society.
In 2003, GTA 3 was published by CAPCOM in Japan. It was labeled as harmful content by some local governments. The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO), a game rating system similar to the ESRB, had already rated the game,, but it was not enough according to public opinion. The Computer Entertainment Suppliers’ Association (CESA) took it seriously and the game rating system became more strict. In the addition, CESA became more transparent about their values and ratings. It is an example of self control in a society that views the videogame industry’s self control as dubious. The industry is pulled in opposite directions by industry and society, and fair operation is difficult.
#3 Mobile/Social in 2010s
Wireless communication and the Free-to-Play business model combined to create a large mobile/social game market in Japan, expanding quickly throughout 2009 to 2012. Now, the mobile/social market has expanded to the console gaming market. Many developers were challenged to create new game designs, some of which focused on increasing average revenue per user. On the other hand, the genre of kids’ games created new friction. In 2012, the Japanese government opined that a game called “Complete Gacha (lot)” was socially unacceptable due to gambling connections. Social game publishers quickly updated their content. In addition, they created new game industry association, the Japanese Social Game Association, or JASGA. It announced new regulations for social game design and operations.
At that time, there were said to be two groups in government. One group thought that the social game industry was very active and new regulation would slow their growth. The other group thought that the social game industry should be regulated to protect consumers. The social games industry has gotten by with self-regulation, but some don’t think it’s enough. Today, merging CERO and JASGA’s regulation has become a new mission for the game industry.
These days, the game industry faces globalization, meaning that the game industry should consider equally global regulations. I think that the game industry needs some regulation in order to continuously grow its market. Of course, I think self-regulation is much better than rule of law, but I understand that it is a very difficult task. On the other hand, mature or socially criticized game content can spread throughout the world and cause unexpected problems. In addition, games keep changing with technological innovations.
The games industry needs to focus on new self-regulatory systems and that are transparent and well-explained to the world. It is a difficult mission, but we understand that it is our duty to our society and community.(source:igda)