Game Industry Gets High Marks For Age Enforcement Of M-Rated Games

by Matt Helgeson on Apr 20, 2011 at 02:42 PM

Though the game industry has frequently come under criticism by watchdog groups and politicians, a Federal Trade Commission study released today praised the industry's efforts of enforcing restrictions on ESRB M-rated games at retail outlets.

The study was conducted by using "secret shoppers" hired by the FTC to see if stores would sell M-rated games to children under 17. The results of the study were impressive: 87 percent of all attempted purchases of ESRB M-rated titles by secret shoppers under 17 were turned away by store employees.

According to the LA Times, over 64 percent of children trying to buy stickered music were successful, 38 percent of those trying to buy R-rated DVDs were successful, and 33 percent of those trying to buy a ticket to an R-rated movie at a theater were successful. This is contrast to the mere 13 percent success rate underage buyers of M-rated video games experienced.

This is the best showing by the game industry to date, and demonstrates much better results than the other entertainment industries that were a part of the study, including music with explicit lyrics stickers, R-rated movie tickets, and R-rated and unrated DVDs.

Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher said, “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. 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.”

Hopefully studies like this will help temper efforts to censor the sale of video games by legislative means.