ESRB Success in Chart Form

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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  1. 0
    Chris Kimberley says:

    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.


    Chris Kimberley

  2. 0
    Monte says:

    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.

  3. 0
    mogbert says:

    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.

  4. 0
    Monte says:

     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. 

  5. 0
    Allan Weallans says:

    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.

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