In the United States, secret shopper surveys conducted by the Federal Trade Commission offer a pretty clear idea of how well the video game industry is doing at enforcing ESRB ratings.
But, how often are mature games sold to minors in the U.K.?
No one really knows.
Unlike in the United States, in the UK, BBFC ratings are backed by force of law. But, according to Spong, the British government doesn’t collect data concerning inappropriate game sales to minors. When questioned about the number of retailers selling video games or DVDs to underage customers over the years, U.K. Labour government minister Vernon Coaker said:
Information on the number of recorded offences of retailers selling video games or DVDs to underage customers is not collected centrally. This is a summary offence and is not included in the police recorded crime statistics.
While Coaker was able to obtain data on “the number of police cautions issued, the number of fines imposed and the average fine,” these figures include both DVD and video game sales.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen.