Many of the best-selling games of 2018 were rated mature.
Eight of the 20 best-selling video games of 2018 were rated M by the ESRB. Mature games are rated for players 17-years-old and up. The two best-selling games of 2018, "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" (pictured above) were both rated M.
By contrast, only a handful of games receive the Adult Only rating, which is usually reserved for sexually explicit content. Many retailers refuse to carry AO titles in stores, so game developers typically try to avoid the rating at all costs.
The Entertainment Software Association claims the video game tax would violate the constitution.
The Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying group that also oversees the ESRB ratings, stated that Pennsylvania's proposed video game tax is an unconstitutional violation of the first amendment. The group argues that the tax singles out video games based on their content, violating the constitutional free speech rights of the game's publishers.
While the ability to tax violent games is not a matter of settled law, the game industry has one important U.S. Supreme Court decision in its favor. In 2011, a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children under age 18 was struck down in a decision by the Supreme Court. In its decision on Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the court found that video game content was protected as free speech.
The video game industry is also pushing back against the bill's claim that video games lead to real-world violence.
"Numerous authorities – including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court – found that video games do not cause violence," The ESA wrote in a statement.
"We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home.”
So what happens next?
Rep. Quinn, who did no t respond to Business Insider's request for comment, first proposed a bill with a video game tax in October 2018, but the measure fell in the committee phase.
Quinn's latest version of the video game tax, as outlined by House Bill 109 is, currently under review from Pennsylvania's House Finance Committee; the committee will decide whether to refer the bill to the General Assembly for a vote.