There’s Hot-mail on your Vodafone! - What's New?
13 September 2002
Games are everywhere. Every copy of Windows has included games, millions of dollars are made off specialist gaming consoles like Xbox, PS2 and GameCube, and almost every mobile phone today has at least one game. Is it such a necessity? Is life really so mundane that we have to spice it up with games?
For insight into this matter, I would suggest that one would speak to a Greek citizen. As of the end of July, all games were banned in Greece.
In a drastic effort to curb gambling, the Greek government has passed a new law which outlaws electronic games, with penalties including huge fines and jail sentences. The reasoning behind it all is that Greek authorities could not differentiate between an innocent electronic game and an illegal electronic gambling game. So to get rid of the latter type, they must get rid of all electronic gaming.
What this means is that any and all electronic games, used in public or private, are banned - including Game Boy type portable consoles, Playstation type consoles, PC gaming including games packaged with Windows (solitaire, etc), and even games on mobile phones. Anybody found with these games will face hefty fines of 5,000 to 75,000 Euros and/or a jail sentence of between one and twelve months. And if you think that this threat is an idle one, I refer you to the Greek citizen who served time in jail and also paid a fine of 10,000 Euros for getting caught playing a promotional game which was packaged with their DVD video.
This law has serious implications for gaming businesses in the region as well as the telecommunications industry (and mobile manufacturers too!). Almost every mobile phone these days has at least one game in its feature list - meaning that these phones will not sell in Greece. Whether it is worth the major phone manufacturers making “game-less Greek-friendly phones”, we will have to wait and see.
Naturally, there are quite a few organisations in Greece that are rallying against this new law and I personally don’t blame them. It is like trying to prevent alcoholism by banning alcohol, soft drinks, juice and milk simply because they’re all the same colour as an alcoholic beverage where they can’t really tell if you’re drinking an alcoholic beverage or not!
To my mind it’s just crazy, don’t you think?