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Video game industry smack down: Activision lawyer to go up against parent advocate Jim Steyer [Updated]

March 17, 2011 |  8:00 am

Update: In a last-minute switcheroo, the lineup has changed to include Jim Steyer, president of Common Sense Media. The original program had listed State Sen. Leland Yee.

Forget Saturday's Ultimate Fighting Championship match between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Jon "Bones" Jones.

The action is going to be at Thursday night's smack down between Activision Blizzard Inc.'s chief public policy officer, George Rose, and Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a parent advocacy group.

The two will face off over the California law banning the sale of violent games to minors, and we're betting that there's going to be plenty of verbal jiu-jitsu to slake the most bloodthirsty of spectators.

In one corner, we have George "The Crusher" Rose, a Harvard-educated lawyer who for years has been the Darth Vader to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick's Emperor Palpatine. Rose's very name strikes terror and dark admiration among the phalanx of Hollywood entertainment lawyers.

George Rose In the opposing corner is Jim "Muhammad Ali" Steyer. As CEO of Common Sense Media, Steyer worked closely with State Sen. Leland Yee to pass a bill that was signed into state law in 2005 banning the sale or rental of violent games to kids under 18.

The law has since been suspended, pending a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court later this spring on whether it violates first amendment guarantees of free speech.

Other states are carefully monitoring the case and the surrounding debate to determine if they should adopt a similar ban.

Thursday's showdown between Steyer and Rose will be held 6 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. For those who can't get ringside seats, the debate is expected to be webcast live here.

-- Alex Pham

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Top Photo: State Sen. Leland Yee. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press.

Bottom Photo: Activision Chief Public Policy Officer George Rose. Credit: Vivendi.

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