WASHINGTON — APRIL 17, 2018 — The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the US video game industry, today applauded California Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) for his leadership in taking steps to empower consumers and parents alike to make informed purchasing decisions.
“I introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2194 because protecting California’s consumers is one of my top priorities. With the rise of new technology and features in the video game industry, including some that require the exchange of money, it is important consumers feel confident in their purchasing decisions,” explained Assemblymember Quirk. “I personally met with leaders of the video game industry, and their regulatory board, about my intent with AB 2194. After extensive research and careful dialogue with gamers and the industry alike, and in being assured of ESRB’s commitment to informing parents and customers in a transparent manner I will not be moving my bill. I look forward to working with, and monitoring, the work the industry does in this arena.”
AB 2194 would have required that all video games sold in California that include the opportunity for players to engage in microtransactions be labeled as such. The US video game industry’s non-profit, self-regulatory body, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), announced in February 2018 that it will begin labeling physical video games that contain in-game offers to purchase digital goods. Further, after discussing concerns raised by Assemblymember Quirk, the ESRB has encouraged game publishers to display the new label on future runs of previously rated and released games and is dedicated to seeing their policies are enforced.
“Assemblyman Quirk’s leadership and actions underscore the valuable role of dialogue between the business community and elected officials,” said Erik V. Huey, senior vice president of government affairs at ESA. “Dr. Quirk raised valid and pointed concerns regarding transparency in the games industry, and the ESRB is dedicated to ensuring consumers are informed and educated. Numerous government authorities and elected officials have praised our industry’s self-regulatory achievements and we look forward to building upon that track record. We are thankful for Dr. Quirk’s input and collaboration.”
“I am proud of the ESRB’s long-standing commitment to providing trusted and familiar rating information for consumers, especially parents,” added Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB. “The new ‘In-Game Purchases’ label, especially when used in combination with parental controls to set spending limits, provide parents with the tools they need to make informed decisions and manage the games their children play.”
The ESRB launched www.parentaltools.org, which educates consumers about ratings, video game labels, and the parental controls available on every video game console.
ESA offers a wide range of services to interactive entertainment software companies, including conducting business and consumer research; providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property, and technology/e-commerce issues; managing a global content protection program; owning and operating E3; and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, visit ESA’s website or follow ESA on Twitter @theESA or @ESAGovAffairs.