Senators on Hand as NIMF Report Card Zings Game Biz for "Ominous Backslide"

December 4, 2007 -

Dr. David Walsh (left) of the National Institute on Media & the Family issued his 12th Annual Video Game Report Card this morning. In doing so he criticized the video game industry for "an ominous backslide on multiple fronts."

Flanked by a pair of U.S. Senators (Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota) as well as  Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Walsh awarded an overall grade of C to the game business. The report card explains:
 

Assessing the performance of the gaming industry this year is a difficult task... Console manufacturers, for the most part, seem to understand the importance of making games safe for kids. Microsoft included a timer feature that allows parents to limit their children’s video game playing time, a praiseworthy innovation...

Some software makers made great games that pushed the edge of the envelope in creativity and storytelling. Others, once again, dredged the well of poor taste, with titles like Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 and Eidos Interactive’s Kane & Lynch: Dead Men.

Some game makers also found creative new ways to market adult games on kids, a disgustingly familiar practice over the years. Too few game makers disclose when illegal versions of their games are stolen from their facilities and leaked on the Internet.


Some explanation of "creative new ways to market adult games on [to?] kids" is needed. That's quite an accusatory statement. What games? What companies? What strategies?

The same applies to the statement about leaked games. Is NIMF referring to the notorious Manhunt 2 leak? If so, that was disclosed immediately - by the people who leaked it. In fact, on those rare occasions when a game is leaked, it's always big news in the online game community. Explain, please, NIMF...

National retailers, who did so well on last year's Report Card, got slammed this time around. Big box stores slipped from an "A" to a "D". Meanwhile, game specialty stores moved in the opposite direction, jumping from last year's "F" to a respectable "B". Rental stores, however, flunked. Such dramatic jumps - in either direction - seem a bit odd.

The general category of "Retailer Policies" earned a C+:
 

We were surprised by this year’s surveys... that showed one out of three retailers does not educate its employees on the ESRB ratings. That’s a significant drop from last year. Even more shocking was that only 30 percent of local retailers provided families with information on the game rating system.


The ESRB also received a C+ but, as expected, NIMF did not let the Manhunt 2 controversy pass unnoticed:
 

The Manhunt 2 rating debacle shows that the ESRB needs to change its procedures to close a gaping loophole that some game publishers are all too eager to slip though. The ESRB rating should be based on all of a game’s content and code, locked or unlocked, blurred or unblurred. A game’s rating will be meaningless unless serious steps are taken to prevent games from being unlocked.


NIMF also took the opportunity to renew its call for a universal media content rating system. The Halo-in-church controversy came in for a mention as well:
 

Libraries, schools, churches and other pubic institutions should follow the game’s rating and only allow games appropriate for the age of the youth. By promoting M-rated games, they are undercutting the ESRB’s rating system and undermining parental credibility and authority.


Also included are the results of a lengthy Harris poll on the role of video games in the lives of children. Read the full Report Card here (26-page pdf)...

Comments

I wish someone would go ahead and publish: Nude Intergalatic Lesbian Conquest: Destroy All Innocent Life on Earth with Chainsaws. For the sole sake of shoving the idea down the throats of these industry critics that VIDEO GAMES, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ARE NOT FOR YOUR SNOT FACED AND OVERPROTECTED CHILDREN.

@ConstantNeophyte:

Replace the parenthesis below with greater than/less than symbols:

(a href="http://gamepolitics.com")Click Here(/a)

That's how.

@ Xlorep DarkHelm

A bit late (had to do some work at work; go figure), but thank you.

[...] Report Cards: Serious Business December 4, 2007 by Delta From: http://gamepolitics.com/2007/12/04/senators-on-hand-as-nimf-report-card-... and: http://gamepolitics.com/2007/12/04/esrb-video-game-report-card-flawed-co... The National Institute on Media and the Family released their annual “Video Game Report Card” which grades the industry and retailers on their overall performance of policing itself against marketing games to children. ThGet More Game Cheats…Tags: pc games pc game cheats video game trailors game news games [...]

The ratings on TV is a joke......if TV14 can not handle lite cussing and the F word sued as a expletive then why is it even used,its a fcking pointless ratings system.

"Too few game makers disclose when illegal versions of their games are stolen from their facilities and leaked on the Internet."

Oh sure, go ahead and blame the modding community! If you ask me, this whole "report card" B.S. is just that!
 
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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
james_fudgeSorry for the downtime today, folks.12/18/2014 - 5:54pm
 

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