Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) have praised a new ratings supplement announced by the ESRB today. Both senators have been harsh critics of the video game industry in the past, lending extra weight to their support for the inititiative, which the ESRB is calling “rating summaries.”
The summaries, which provide additional detail on game ratings, can be accessed via the ESRB website or through sites which host the ESRB widget (like the one in GP's sidebar). The ESRB's new mobile site allows parents to check the summaries in real-time while making game purchasing decisions. The new rating summaries go into effect today and apply to all games rated after July 1, 2008.
Of the enhancement, ESRB president Patricia Vance said:
Parents can always use more help when making choices as to which games are right for their children. With our new rating summaries, which provide exclusive and unprecedented insight into the nature of the content that triggered a given rating assignment, parents will be that much more empowered in making those choices.
Sen. Clinton said:
This new supplement to the ratings is a real gift for parents as we head into this holiday season. Parents need all the information they can get to make more informed decisions about what’s appropriate for their children. These new rating summaries offer more helpful information than ever before to help parents to get involved and get informed.
While Sen. Lieberman added:
For well over a decade I have called upon the video game industry to inform consumers about the content in video games so they could make the right choices for their children. One result was the creation of the ESRB rating system... The ESRB has now taken consumer education one step further with their new rating summaries, which provide a greater level of detail about game content to help parents be even more prepared to make informed game selections for their children. I applaud the ESRB for taking this proactive step to inform video game consumers.
Also on board are National PTA president Jan Harp Domene and Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family, a frequent game industry critic.
Check out Far Cry 2's ESRB page for an example of the new rating summaries.
GP: This is a smart move by the increasingly proactive ESRB. The rating summaries certainly can't hurt and the backing of Hillary and Lieberman may assist in heading off a pair of bills presently in Congress which seek to bring "truth" to video game ratings.