ESRB Success in Chart Form

September 16, 2010 -

If you know anyone that thinks that it is easier to get videogames than any other form of media and you don't want to take the time to rattle off a bunch of numbers, then I recommend you look at this simple chart at Ars Technica. This chart shows the percentage of youngsters that have been successful in buying Mature-rated games at retail from 2000 - 2009. That stat line in the chart is contrasted by other stat lines for R-rated movies, music, and DVDs.

What is the shocking conclusion? That video games are harder for children to get than DVDs and music with parental advisory labels. They also have an easier time getting into an R-rated movie, than buying and M-rated game. So where did this data come from? The Federal Trade Commission.

The government - like the State of California - think they can do a better job than what the game industry already does using the ESRB as a guideline, but how can they possibly do better than what the chart shows - according to the FTC?

The truth is that they can't. Show this chart to your mom, your neighbor. Or better yet, email it to your elected officials.

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Comments

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

I think any parents concerned about their kids getting their hands on violent video games need to do a google image search for "free porn".  Personally, I'm more concerned about how easy it is to access that material for free with no age check than a $60-$70 game where the kid is likely to get turned down at retail even if they have the money.

In general I'm less concerned about anything MS, Sony or Nintendo allow on their console than I am about what's right out in the open on the internet.

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Chris Kimberley

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Chris Kimberley

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

This should be a case for the X-Files.  The Truth is out there. 

But sadly will simply be downplayed or flat out ignored as being inconvient. 

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

So its easier to get into a R-rated movie then it is to get an M-rated gamer huh? Interesting info from the FCC.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

Unfortunately the chart's not that simple. How do we account for the shift from 15% to 80% in the past ten years, when the ratings system itself (which came into effect in 1994, so had already had six years of people getting used to it by the beginning of the graph) hasn't changed? One could just as easily argue that the reason retailers are paying more attention to the ratings system now is because of the hysteria from enraged parents and political lobbyists that's surrounded the issue, putting them under pressure.

I don't think we can really conclude from this that the ratings system is working. I really would love to conclude that, but I just can't.

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

You are right. There was a time when the Games Industry needed the pressure to clean up its act, but that pressure does not need to be rule of law. It needs to come from parents and gamers.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

 Actually i would like to add that the rule of law doesn't always increase pressure and may actually ease it. If i recall, the similar studies in the UK where their are laws on regulation showed that game retailers here in the US are doing a better job. Once you make laws, people think it's over and done with and that gov't is taking care of it and thus stop paying as much attention themselves. 

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

If they REALLY wanted to solve the problem, the media could reach 90% of parents with a fairly short media blitz. The biggest problem is a number of parents still don't understand that games=/=for kids. There are kids games, then there are teen games, then there are adult games. Think of them like Candyland, Spin the Bottle, and Hide the Balogna respectively. Or the Hokey Pokey, the Electric Slide, and the Lambada.
Now, I'd like to bring up a ancedote that shows that the problem is not limited to games. I had a grandmother recently complain to me about a movie she rented to show her kids. It starred Jim Carry, and apparently he was dressed on the cover in a tutu. It was rated PG-13 and the kids were between 6 and 8. She didn't look at the rating of the movie, she looked at the cover, and figured it would be OK for kids. When it turned out it wasn't, do you think she accepted the responsibility for failing to check the rating? No, she blamed the movie company for putting a misleading picture on the front. Lack of accountability is a major problem for Americans (it's cool, I'm an American so I can say that). So when they buy an adult game and give it to their eight year old to buy, it must be the game industries fault! And so there "otter be a law!" Here is the irony... this law STILL would not stop hen from stupidly buying the game for their kid.

The only way to fight this is to educate the parents. And for that to work, the parents have to want to learn. Let's face it, a lot won't.

Re: ESRB Success in Chart Form

No the work of parents would increase these numbers. I'm not sure but i think the FTC's numbers are based on studies they conducted to test the enforcement of ratings in retail; the work of parents is completely irrelevant. This is not about how many kids actually DO get their games this way, just how likely they are if they wanted to. As the study in the other article trys to tell us, less than 10% of kids buy M-rated games on their own, and less than 15% do not have permission to do so.

 
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Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Andrew EisenManhunt 2 and Hatred though? Eh, there's an argument to be made for the higher rating.05/28/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew EisenRerating San Andreas was a mistake though. That seemed to be the result of kowtowing to public pressure.05/28/2015 - 3:42pm
Andrew EisenThere wasn't one. It's just a dumb rating.05/28/2015 - 3:42pm
WonderkarpI dont see Moral Panic with a racing game though05/28/2015 - 3:40pm
Matthew Wilson@AE when they tend to misrate games its normally because of moral panic surrounding it.05/28/2015 - 3:38pm
E. Zachary KnightReally awesome short film here. Predator: Dark Ages. Very well done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRD8jAk274I05/28/2015 - 3:36pm
Andrew EisenBut hey, misrating less than five out of thousands of game ain't too bad a track record. No one's perfect.05/28/2015 - 3:32pm
Andrew EisenIt's a racing game. Despite what the ESRB says, there's no gore and it's hard to consider it violent. Yeah, there's supposed to be a driver in the vehicle and they do explode when they crash and there is a slight bloodstain when they do but come on.05/28/2015 - 3:30pm
Wonderkarpnever played it....atleast I dont think. May have rented it once from Blockbuster05/28/2015 - 3:27pm
Andrew EisenAnd I STILL say the ESRB misrated Forsaken 64. There is absolutely no reason that should be rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenI just hope there a children and small animals in the game. Like dogs and cats. And elderly people on walkers and in wheelchairs.05/28/2015 - 3:20pm
Andrew EisenOh you meant "would have gotten an M rating 15 years ago" not "an M15 rating years ago." Oops!05/28/2015 - 3:19pm
Wonderkarpbut whatever. its a moot point. I'm curious if the game allows mods. I'd make the blood confetti with rainbows :P Turn the....is he really a protagonist?.... into Nathan Explosion cause seriously. Brendan Smalls gonna sue somebody05/28/2015 - 3:17pm
WonderkarpI know M is 17, but M can get sold in Walmart or Target, but they wont carry AO05/28/2015 - 3:14pm
 

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