Windows to block violent, adult games

Microsoft unveils software equivalent to 'V chip'

The next release of Windows will automatically censor games containing adult content or explicit violence, the company said on Friday. Microsoft's plan centres on a software equivalent of the ill-fated 'V chip', much beloved by the US' Clinton administration as a method of combating the availability of violent and adult content to kids. The Windows version of the V chip will be called Game Manager, and will allow parents to prevent their offspring from playing games that have been rated as unsuitable for minors. For the scheme to work, games developers need to code in the rating their titles receive from the US gaming communities' self-appointed watchdog, the Recreational Software Advisory Board, and its opposite number in Europe, the European Leisure Software Publishers Association. Alternatively, said Microsoft, ratings could be maintained in an online database, which Game Manager could query before deciding whether a given game will be allowed to run. No games company has yet to explicitly support Microsoft's scheme, but a number of key players, including Interplay, Mindscape, GT Interactive and Acclaim, did say they the concept merits a closer look. ®

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