The highly anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 went on sale at the stroke of midnight Tuesday morning. It is already poised to become the biggest thing in entertainment, ever. Over the first 24 hours, the game pulled in an astonishing $310 million in the United States and the UK, selling 4.7 million copies.
CEO Mike Griffith of game maker Activision said in a statement:
"The Call of Duty franchise has become a cultural phenomenon showing the power of video games as an entertainment medium. The shattering of these entertainment records is a testament to the compelling, cinematic and uniquely engaging experience that the Call of Duty brand delivers. Modern Warfare 2 has taken interactive experience to unprecedented heights setting a new standard for entertainment."
The game allows players to be CIA agents working against terrorists. It is extremely violent. It is only supposed to be sold to people older than 17. But as the game gains in popularity, inevitably children younger than that will beg their parents to buy them the game. Which raises the question: Should parents allow their kids to play it?
Appearing on a Fox News debate, Jim Steyer, founder & CEO of Common Sense Media said parents should keep their kids away from the game.
"It's a really violent game. So. the real issue is how old is the person who's playing it? There's no question that certain forms of video game violence can be correlated to aggression in the kids who use them."
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But John Christensen, founder of slashgamer.com countered, "It's pixelated violence. It's not real."
He said retail stores do a good job of keeping adult games away from children, but "kids can definitely pick up the game if parents buy it for them."
But studies say labeling games as "adult" or "mature" only make kids want them more. A statement from the American Association of Pediatrics says:
An important finding for parents, pediatricians and policy-makers is that age and violent-content labels do not prevent young children from playing games with objectionable content. In fact, they have the opposite effect. Study authors suggest that video games should not be forbidden in Europe or the United States because that will only make the games more attractive, and parents should help in selecting appropriate games for their children to play.
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Watch the Fox News debate: