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The Political Landscape of Game Ratings 19

Posted by Zonk
from the rocky-terrain-twice-the-movement-cost dept.
Via GamePolitics, a Washington Post article about the political landscape surrounding game ratings. Author Mike Musgrove touches on Jack Thompson, Senator Brownback, and interviews ESRB ratings board chair Patricia Vance. From the article: Vance, the head of the ratings board, says the group has conducted surveys showing that there is an 83 percent awareness of the game industry's ratings system among consumers. By comparison, the movie ratings system has about 90 percent awareness, she said. Vance said the video game industry is a target largely because it still suffers from a perception that games are for kids, even though the age of today's average gamer is over 30. 'I think a lot of people who propose this sort of legislation have never purchased a game or don't play them,' she said."
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The Political Landscape of Game Ratings

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  • "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

    Hmm, political landscape... Nothing to see... Yeah, that's about right.
    • In ten years or so the young budding politician will either be a gamer on know one.

      The current batch of politicians have unlikely been a part of the digital age.

      Just remember age has habit of making fools of us all.

  • I honestly don't think that the political problems surrounding content in videogames has anything to do with the average (or assumed average) age of gamers; the real problem is that (inspite of what we gamers think) videogame playing is really not a mainstream activity.

    If you want to understand what I mean, compare videogames to watching Movies/TV and you'll notice how widespread Television and Movie consumption is compared to videogames; I spent a year without watching any television and movies (largely be
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thebdj (768618)
      I honestly don't think that the political problems surrounding content in videogames has anything to do with the average (or assumed average) age of gamers; the real problem is that (inspite of what we gamers think) videogame playing is really not a mainstream activity.

      I believe the average age of the gamers disprove the notion that gaming is not a mainstream activity. Ignore the notion of gaming as arcades and consoles. Think how many people have computers. Now, how many of those people do you think
      • by El Torico (732160)
        The true problem is the age of politicians. It is disgusting to think how old some of them are. It is also bad when you realize this generational gap is a big reason why they are so ignorant of technology.

        I tend to agree with you, but it is risky to overgeneralize. The "generation gap" you refer to isn't always as great as it appears at first glance. For example, Senator Brownback was born in 1956 and Representative McCollum was born in 1954. I suspect that these two are posturing for their constituent

    • by creimer (824291)
      I spent a year without watching any television and movies (largely because of school and social life) and I could hardly talk to people I didn't know because I had never seen the latest TV shows (Smallville and 24 at the time).

      I spent the last 14 years not watching TV and I really don't miss it. The few shows that I do watch (i.e., Battlestar Galactica, South Park and Top Chef) I get through iTunes and I'm currenty in Season 3 of X-Files as I get the DVDs through Netflix. If you read the newspaper (yes,
    • by Alamoth (927972)
      You are slightly inaccurate in your comparison of Movies/TV to Video Games.

      This is from an old Chicago Tribune article:

      "the video game industry rang up more than $9.9 billion in North America in 2004 versus Hollywood's North American box office of $9.4 billion" http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/c hi-0508230159aug23,1,6023554.story?coll=chi-leisur etempo-hed [chicagotribune.com]

      Television does earn more than this, but not by very much. NBC is expecting a revenue of ~$12 Billion USD this year which is only $2 Bil
      • Generating more revinue is not the same as being consumed by more people ...

        Consider that most games cost about $50 and the cost to see a movie at the theater is about $12.50 which means that you would need 4 times as many people to go see a movie than to buy a game to have similar revinue numbers. Now, remember you're comparing Videogames to box office and not the total movie industry which includes rentals and DVD sales and pay-per-view so (all in all) it would not be too unreasonable to assume that 10 ti
    • by Lifelike (937107)
      I don't think it's a product of videogames being mainstream or not, I think the issue is that by their nature videogames are a lot less acessable then TV/movies, and as a result the audience for videogames is a lot more polarized than the audience for TV/movies.

      Here's what I mean.. Videogames are pretty easy to escape in our culture. The barrier to entry is pretty high, a hundred-dollar console that still has a bit of a uncool stigma associated with it, or the need to hunt down an arcade (not exactly as u

  • by kinglink (195330) on Friday October 27, 2006 @01:22PM (#16612412)
    It seems the only people who don't understand the rating systems are sitting in Washington.

    The rating system is pretty solid except for the mindless parent. The problem is the mindless parent will NEVER understand, they don't care enough about their kid to learn about the stuff they play with.

    I saw a parent in a store one day carrying Spongebob, and Rocket power, and GTA:San Andreas, so I'm reaching the counter at the same time, so I kindly ask "you do know that's a mature game" and the guy laughs and says "yeah, Those games are for the kids, but this is for after the kids go to sleep". People know this stuff already, most stores display this stuff pretty promentently already. I think it's time to stop relying on goverment to force stuff that is already done, and to ask parents to properly monitor the kids.

    Over the last 15 years, it seems everything has been "who's fault is it?" when ever someone does something wrong, even 9/11. It's the person who commits the crime. The guys who hijacked the plane, the kids that shot up the school, the man who kidnapped the girls into the house in the amish town. They commited the crime. In the same vein, stop looking for influences from everywhere. It's not the games, it's the parents who allow kids to play games like this. It's the parents who don't ever talk to their kids to see they are disturbed, it's the parents who just basically assume everyone else is going to raise their kids. Hillary Clinton wrote "it takes a village". I'm saying BULLSHIT. They can help but it takes a parent, pure and simple.
    • Excellently stated.

      I agree. Social problems may be influenced by media but they are created or resolved by parents/families.
    • by miasmic (669645)
      True, but I question the idea that such things are "harmful to children". Me and all my school friends used to spend hours watching violent 18 rated war films and gory horror film "video nasties" at one lads house when I was growing up, from as early as the age of 8 or 9 when we were first allowed out unsupervised, and I can't see how it could have ever had any negative effects on us. I think the only effect it had on me was that I grew out of finding such things glamorous and cool at a much younger age th
  • Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by antizeus (47491)
    Nowadays it seems common for legislation that regulates an industry to be written by lobbyists for that industry. That doesn't seem to be the case here. Perhaps the companies that write games aren't making enough campaign contributions. Or maybe cultural artifacts are too valuable as scapegoats for whipping one's base (followers of authoritarian religions, fearful soccer moms, etc) into a frenzy.
    • by El Torico (732160)
      Nowadays it seems common for legislation that regulates an industry to be written by lobbyists for that industry.

      That depends on the "influence" of the industry.

      Perhaps the companies that write games aren't making enough campaign contributions.

      Bingo! Either the business shakes down the government or the government shakes down the business.

  • Awareness of ratings for games should be raised. My mom had bought me Halo PC thinking it was just a regular game. She had no idea what the M stamp on the front meant. Now she regrets ever getting it for me. Anyway, they should start an ad council about it. I think I saw an ad council the other day against game ratings all together though so they might conflict with each other. Then again that could have been completely made up like the other 60% of the internet.
  • I'd be disturbed about the governmental agencies getting their hands on this, given the general climate of misapprehension that video games are a major cause of actual, physical violence (thanks a bunch for jumping on the bandwagon, Hilary [senate.gov] :( ). Without some assurances that the ratings system won't be held over a barrel for any number of spurious motivations, such as the unfortunately credible possibility of lobby groups complaining that fantasy games teach witchcraft and should therefore be kept out of the

  • Microsoft to push parental control New ads promote use of video-game ratings tool

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/288401_msft parents12.html [nwsource.com]

    "A new Microsoft Corp. initiative aims to educate parents about ratings and technological restrictions for video games -- a move that may elevate the company's profile in the national debate over children's access to violent and explicit games.

    Microsoft plans to start the multimillion-dollar campaign, including advertising and a 20-city bus tour, today in

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