Despite its inherent brutality, war has rules. Laws of war have been around in one form or another since Biblical times. They govern the treatment of prisoners of war, the expediency of death on a battlefield. Could they, should they also pertain to the depiction of virtual war in video games?
That's the question the International Committee of the Red Cross found themselves debating last week. Mandated under the Geneva Conventions to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflicts, the committee discussed the notion of whether the Geneva and Hague conventions should be applied to the fictional recreation of war in video games. If they agree those standards should be applied, the committee says they may ask developers to adhere to the rules themselves or "encourage" governments to adopt laws to regulate the video game industry.