The video game industry won a major victory today in a 7-2 decision by the Supreme Court which ruled that "the state of California cannot ban the rental or sale of violent games to children," The Wall Street Journal reports. Citing First Amendment rights, the ruling upheld a high court's decision to shelve a ban on the sale of the games to minors. "Video games qualify for First Amendment protection," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia in the lead opinion. "Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium."
The decision marks an end to a battle begun in 2005 when California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that would ban the rental or sale of violent games to minors. At the time, relays CNBC, Arnold had argued "that violent games are on the same level as sexual materials, of which the government can restrict sales. In addition to regulating the sale and rental of these games, the California law (which was adopted in 2005, but never took effect) would have imposed a strict labeling requirement on games." Gaming site Kotaku is updating throughout the day with more information.