Some video games are now coming with a cancer risk warning
By Bob Garcia
Gamers don’t need to be alarmed; it’s just California raising the bar on consumer labels
While video games are generally considered a safe pastime, most gamers are familiar with some potential risks that can arise through this habit. Many learned this the hard way when a report came out claiming that Cyberpunk 2077 could cause seizures in players who didn’t know when enough was enough. However, those situations tend to be atypical. In general, the experience of buying, playing, and generally having a video game, console, or controller in the home should be safe on a day-to-day basis. Many gamers were still surprised after carefully reviewing the packaging of certain video games, which included cancer warnings.
For many, those are some pretty strange labels to hide on the back of a Nintendo Switch game, as users on Reddit discovered. Beyond that, the website provided, which links to an information portal for a California law called Proposition 65, doesn’t provide any quick answers as to why the label is on the game.
For starters, players need to understand what Proposition 65 is and why its label earned a place on the back of their games. As explained on the resource page linked in the warning, Proposition 65 refers to the California Toxic Substances and Safe Drinking Water Compliance Act of 1986, which “requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other harm.”
According to several reports, the warnings have become more common following new regulations adopted in 2018 by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. With low-risk items as a driver, these labels are often more about keeping businesses in compliance in California.
In essence, the Golden State is the most populous state in the US. It is such a large and potentially litigious market that it is safer for Nintendo to ensure that all products they import into the US meet Proposition 65 requirements, even if doing so risks scaring off consumers who are unfamiliar with the warnings.