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Violent Videogames Attract Criticism Again

takes a toll. Teens risk becoming desensitized because their empathy skills and social restraints are not fully developed.

"Wii provides a double whammy," Rich says, "very violent content and physical involvement, which we know is how learning happens."

Not many sound that concerned. "Relative to Grand Theft Auto it's a lot less significant," Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst at Lazard Capital Markets. said of "Manhunt 2." "Grand Theft Auto is the key driver. This is a second-tier title."

The previous game in the series, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," was at the center of a ratings controversy two years ago that sparked a Congressional inquiry.

Rockstar was forced to replace its first edition of "San Andreas" after a hacker discovered a password-protected game inside it that involved a sexual encounter.

It's not clear what effect the controversy had on sales, as the title had already been available for months by the time the hack was discovered. In 2004, the year it was released, "San Andreas" was the top seller with more than 5.1 million copies sold in the U.S., according to market analyst NPD Group.

A committee of the influential physicians' group has proposed video game addiction be listed as a mental disorder in the American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, a guide used by the American Psychiatric Association in diagnosing mental illness.

Such a move would ease the path for insurance coverage of video game addiction.

But even before debate on the subject began, the committee that made the proposal backed away from its position, and instead recommended that the American Psychiatric Association consider the change when it revises its next diagnostic manual in 5 years.

The psychiatrist group has said if the science warrants, it could be considered for inclusion in the next diagnostic manual, which will be published in 2012.


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