EMA Head: Video Game Laws “Shock My Conscience”

If you think the video game idustry is feeling the political pressure, you’re right.

Bo Andersen, president of the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), the trade organization which represents many game retailers and game renters, talked about the legislative heat with editor James Brightman of GameDaily Biz.

While Andersen discussed other topics, including the recent VSDA-IEMA merger which spawned the EMA, GP, of course, is focused on the political side of Andersen’s remarks.

The EMA boss said his organization is working with elected officials, "but this area presents a great challenge. The solution is as simple as it is obvious: increase parental awareness of and utilization of the ESRB video game ratings and enhance retail ratings education and enforcement."

"The problem for legislators is that is a longer-term, more labor-intensive solution. They want something more immediate. It’s my personal belief that this issue will lose its resonance as a political issue only when we can demonstrate, based on surveys by the Federal Trade Commission, that retailers are enforcing the Mature rating the vast majority of time. To my mind, "the vast majority" means 85% or higher enforcement."

Andersen said there was "no doubt" that video games are being singled out for political attack.

"In my view," he added, "it is a generational disconnect. The vast majority of people over age 40 – and that includes most legislators – are unfamiliar with today’s video game products…  Too often, all they hear about are the extremes… what they get from sensational news reports and a few, admittedly disturbing, clips from games, and it shocks them. So their first reaction is, ‘There ought to be a law!’"

"Legislators have singled out the game industry unfairly," Andersen continued. "The censorship laws they have introduced and passed are so repugnant to this nation’s history that they shock my conscience."

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