America's Army has always courted controversy, but protesters in San Francisco yesterday declared that it was in violation of international law. Gathering outside UbiSoft's SF headquarters, a not really very impressive throng of about twenty turned up to wave banners and sing impromtu protest songs (although none so clever as mine above) against the Teen rating of America's Army in the US. Game Videos were there, their video of the event below.
The key issue is that America's Army, designed as a recruitment tool for the US Army and funded by the Department of Defence, is allowed to be sold to 13 year olds and above, which the protesters, and ACLU, say is a deliberate attempt to recruit underage Americans into the armed forces.
If you watch past the slightly frightening angry ladies, there's an interview with someone who explains why the game violates UN law, and explains the motivations behind the protests.
The protesters made it clear they are not against violent video games, but purely the recruiting nature of America's Army. According to Xtaster, the campaigners wish for a sticker to be on all boxes, reading:
Warning: The video game America's Army has been developed by the United States Army to recruit children under the age of 17 in violation of the U.N. Optional Protocol and international law. Combat service has been known to cause death, irreparable injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and lifelong feelings of overwhelming guilt.
Xtaster go on to say, stating that it might be pure fiction, that two protesters managed to speak to Ubisoft bossman, Laurent Detoc, and report the following:
They say [he] told them that Ubisoft's publishing of the America's Army game actually did lead to an "internal conflict" within the company, and that an ethics committee was established to deal with these issues.