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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E. Zachary KnightGot that same recommendation on Twitter. So I guess that is a good sign.09/15/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
Michael ChandraMe, I'm more betting on some form of mod API where servers must run donations/payments through them and they take a cut.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraEspecially since they want it for promoting their phones. Killing user interest is the dumbest move to make.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraGiven how the EULA actively allows for LPs, I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for the backlash of disallowing that.09/15/2014 - 10:31am
Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
ConsterSleaker: how is that a flipside? Sounds to me like that's basically what Notch himself said, except rudely.09/15/2014 - 10:18am
MaskedPixelanteOn the plus side, no more lazy Minecraft LPs, since iirc Microsoft has a strict "no monetization period" policy when it comes to their stuff.09/15/2014 - 10:13am
james_fudgeBut it continues to sell on every platform it is on, so there's that09/15/2014 - 10:09am
james_fudgeOh, well that's another matter :)09/15/2014 - 10:08am
E. Zachary KnightNothing against Notch here. I think it is great that he made something so cool. I just can't understand how it is worth $2.5 bil09/15/2014 - 9:59am
InfophileWhat a world we live in: Becoming a billionaire was the easy way out for Notch.09/15/2014 - 9:42am
james_fudgelots of hate for Notch here. I don't get it. Sorry he made a game everyone loved. What a monster he is!09/15/2014 - 9:37am
SleakerOn the flipside, Notch has been a horrible CEO for Mojang, and the company has grown on sheer inertia, DESPITE being mishandled over and over.09/15/2014 - 9:33am
SleakerI can understand Notch's statements he made to Kotaku about growing bigger than he intended, and getting hate for EULA changes he didn't enact.09/15/2014 - 9:32am
MaskedPixelantehttp://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM Notch's statement about the MS acquisition. He wanted out for a long time and this was the easiest way.09/15/2014 - 9:08am
ConsterEh, I can't blame him.09/15/2014 - 9:01am
 

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