Dogfighting video game deserves to die
My colleague Jon Healey, in his post, "Technology: Should Google censor a dogfighting game?," argues that Kage Games' KG Dogfighting video game, available through Google's Android Marketplace, may be distasteful but that it shouldn't be censored. Even though dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states.
I completely agree that it's the company's 1stAmendment right to sell the game -- and the buyers' right to buy it -- despite the game itself being despicable. There are plenty of despicable video games out there. And I believe critics couldn't sue the company claiming it promotes crime.
But I don't see anything wrong with lobbying Google to stop selling it -- and, at the same time, lobbying the company to stop making the game, as Healey suggests.
As for this statement from Kage -- "What makes the Google Android platform special is that it gives the freedom and responsibility to the individual users to decide what to put on their phones as opposed to the phone carriers and app stores making value judgments on our behalf" -- talk about palaver. Companies make value judgments and taste decisions all the time about what they will and won't sell. The Los Angeles Times won't run ads for sex toys. The broadcast networks won't let TV show characters use curse words or crude slang. Maybe they should let viewers and parents of young viewers decide for themselves what they will or will not watch. Nope; they're deciding for you.
Google's Android Marketplace is not a university of higher learning where professors and students should be free to express their thoughts and ruminate on anything they choose. It's just a commercial conduit to a bunch of games and apps for sale. And if enough consumers are annoyed by what's being sold and can marshal enough pressure on Google to get it to stop selling something, I say go for it.