Oblivious to a Federal Trade Commission report released this week that said that only 13 percent of under-age secret shoppers it deployed (as part of a Secret Shopper Survey program in 2012) were able to buy video games from national retailers (see the story here) New Jersey Assemblyman Sean T.
On this week's show we go live on Google + for a lengthy (video) discussion on the "RPG Camp" Kickstarter controversy, the results of the FTC's latest Secret Shopper Survey to test ratings enforcement at retail, Sega's decision to stop pulling Shining Force videos from YouTube and a whole lot more. Download Episode 46 now: SuperPAC Episode 46 (1 hour, 34 minutes) 240.0 MB.
The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) today applauded the efforts of retailers in the United States for continuing to show record levels of enforcement of video game and DVD ratings. The praise comes in response to the results of a Federal Trade Commission survey released today. That survey found that video game retailers turned away unaccompanied 13- to 16-year-olds who attempted to purchase Mature-rated games 87 percent of the time and turned away under-aged children who attempted to purchase R-rated or unrated DVDs 70 percent of the time.
Kotaku is reporting that Queensland has finally joined other states in Australia in officially approving an R18+ ratings classification for videogames after a false start earlier in the day when a press release was accidently released announcing that the R18+ rating had been approved by the government. All that needs to be done is for the governor of Queensland to sign it for the new ratings to be in force - expect that to take at least another couple of weeks.
GameSpot is reporting that NetherRealm Studios' Mortal Kombat has finally received a ratings classification in Australia. Two years ago the game was refused classification in the region twice due to its graphic and bloody contents, but thanks to the new R18+ adult rating classification in the region games like Mortal Kombat won't be (hopefully) banned for sale going forward.
An investigation conducted by UK gaming publication Computer & Video Games shows that some online retailers are not doing their best to keep under-age children from buying mature-rated video games online. The investigative report (which includes some video) shows a person purchasing three games online without any age verification checks blocking his purchase. The UK-based retailers found to be lacking in this area include Amazon UK, HMV and Zavvi.
Entertainment reviews aggregation site Metacritic has published its 2012 publisher rankings, ranking Electronic Arts at the top of the list, followed by Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Capcom. The rankings use each publisher's game scores to determine the order.
EA was helped by Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Mass Effect; Microsoft came in second with the help of Mark of the Ninja; followed by Sony with Journey; Nintendo with Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii; and Capcom with Okami HD and Dragon's Dogma - both for PS3.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released OpenArena, an "adults only" multiplayer first person shooter based on the Quake III engine. Available now for Raspberry Pi systems, the game runs on a modified version of the engine that powers Quake III - id tech 3, and the gameplay has been heavily modified to work on the system. The copyrighted material from Quake III has also been removed to make the game truly open sourced. Obviously there are still some outstanding bugs in the software.
Australia's second game to receive an R18+ games ratings classification is Ubisoft's Spartacus Legends, according to Player Attack. Spartacus Legends is a free-to-play action game to be released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. It's based on the gritty and gory Starz original gladiator drama Spartacus.
The Washington Times (thanks to PHX Corp for pointing this out) notes that the President is not looking for more regulations on video games and movies (through research announced today through the CDC), but wants the respective industries to provide parents with more tools so they can make more informed decisions about the content their children are consuming.
When the NRA-branded iOS app NRA: Practice Range launched earlier this week (nearly on the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting that took place in Newtown Connecticut on December 14, 2012) it carried a rating of ages 4+.
The very first game to be classified under the new Australian video games ratings classification of R18+ is Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge for Wii U. Prior to the new rating - which went into effect officially on January 1, 2013 - games with the kind of content that Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge contains would be refused classification and would effectively be prohibited from being sold in the country.
Drawing conclusions based on a lack of evidence is not mutually exclusive to politicians in America and in Europe, as evidenced in this Peninsula report. According to the publication, one politician in the Philippines is indirectly blaming video and arcade games for the recent rash of shootings in the country.
As we reported earlier today, Australia now has an R18+ rating for its video games.
But will the extra rating change anything? The government still has the ability to refuse classification. Will particularly violent titles be released under the new adult rating or will they just get banned anyway?
On January 1, the Australian R18+ classification for video games went into effect. Prior to that, Australia remained one of the few developed countries not to have a classification equivalent to a "mature" game rating. In the past, games that had content that was considered too mature for the country's MA15+ category would often be refused classification - effectively games at this level were banned for sale in the region.
According to new research from UK video game industry trade group UKIE, 24 percent of parents are unlikely to check the ratings of the video games they buy for their children during the holiday shopping season. UKIE says that only two out of five parents said that they buy games with a suitable age rating, while 43 percent said they checked ratings but didn't necessarily followed the PEGI guidelines.
The Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE published a new report today containing detailed consumer information about gaming habits, broader media interests, online gameplay, gaming in a family context and the PEGI age rating system in Europe. The data comes from an online survey of around 15,000 respondents from 16 European countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Apparently taking cues from 'Cinemax' or 'Showtime After Dark,' Eurogamer has discovered that the European Wii U eShop prohibits all consumers from accessing mature-rated games and content during the daytime hours.
GameSpot is reporting that the government of Queensland, Australia will not sell games marked with the new R18+ rating in the state until sometime after February 7, 2013.
It looks like the follow-up to the Zombie-themed action-RPG Dead Island won't be coming to Germany. In a recent interview with PCGamesN, Dead Island: Riptide creative producer Sebastian Reichert said this was due to the country's strict guidelines on the sale of violent media.
At a gathering of politicians and industry types this week in Washington D.C., Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said that the industry needs a universal ratings system for games across all conceivable platforms and in all territories around the world. He made his comments to a gathering that included the FCC Commissioner and Chairman, according to a Polygon report.
Microsoft has changed its position on selling games rated "18" in the UK (under the PEGI system) via the Windows 8 marketplace. Previously the platform owner had made the decision by comparing the "adult" category used by the ESRB in North America - a category reserved for games with very strong sexual content or extreme violence.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) announced what they are calling a "streamlined, no-cost service for assigning ratings to all digitally delivered games." The ESRB's new "Digital Rating Service" gives developers and publishers access to a "brief but detailed online questionnaire" to define a product's content, age-appropriateness, interactive elements, and platforms.