|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
CONTACT: Dan Hewitt – dhewitt@theESA.com or 202.223.2400
Federal Trade Commission Study Finds Video Game Industry Leads Retail Enforcement of Age Restrictions
New Government Study Affirms Entertainment Sector Leadership
April 20, 2011 – WASHINGTON, DC – Video game retailers are the strictest and most effective in enforcing age rating policies, according to a new study just released today by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC conducted its undercover shopper survey and found that 87% of attempted purchases of Mature-rated games by children under the age of 17 were prevented. This continued improvement and upward trend is at an all-time high for the video game industry and exceeds every other entertainment format, including sales of music with parental-advisory labels, R-rated movie tickets, and R-rated and unrated DVDs. The video game industry is a strong proponent of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), and works vigorously to showcase its effectiveness in ensuring that parents maintain control over the games their children enjoy.
“The ESRB is the gold standard. Our self-regulatory system works and this FTC report validates it as being the best in the entertainment industry,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which is the trade association for U.S. computer and video game publishers. “We have an unparalleled commitment to working with parents, retailers, and stakeholders, and will continue to help ensure that this remarkable level of enforcement remains high.”
The video game industry provides several effective tools for parents. First, the ESRB, which is a non-profit self-regulatory body, independently rates every computer and video game on store shelves. These ratings are prominently displayed on the front of every game. In addition to the age rating, games are assigned content descriptors that give more detail on why a computer or video game received its rating and are displayed on the back of a game’s box. Second, the industry also provides caregivers built-in, password-protected parental controls that limit which types of video games, based on the ESRB-assigned rating, can be played on all new game consoles. Additionally, through the ESRB Retail Council, the industry works closely with retailers to support enforcement of policies that prohibit the sale or rental of M-rated games to children under the age of 17.
“Those who would criticize the industry’s commitments are either ignorant of facts or are actively pursuing a political agenda,” concluded Gallagher. “We look forward to building on this level of success.”
The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the E3 Expo, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com.
***Editor’s Note: To see the full press release from the Federal Trade Commission, please access: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/04/violentkidsent.shtm