Yesterday Brendan O'Connor spoke at an EB in Adelaide to highlight the importance of an R18+ rating and how it could potentially help parents protect their children from adult video game content. Now reports claim that, in the US, there has been a significant improvement in the enforcement of their equivalent M-Rating at retail - which bodes well for any potential arguments against R18+.
Using secret shoppers, the study found that just 13% of children were able to buy M-Rated games over the counter, compared to 20% in 2009. That's a significant drop but, when you consider that 86% of children were able to pick up M-rated games over the counter in the year 2000, it's clear there is a rapid downward spiral in the amount of children being able to gain access to adult content.
In short, the ESRB system, which is industry regulated, appears to be working.
Wal-mart was the worst performing outlet, allowing 20% of children to purchase M-rated video games, but specialist retailers performed especially well, with Gamestop at 9%. The big surprise was Target, where only 8% of children were able to buy M-Rated content.
"We are extremely pleased to see the Federal Trade Commission confirm not only that the video game industry continues to have the highest rate of enforcement at retail," said ESRB president Patricia Vance," but that it continues to climb higher than before. The strong support that the ESRB ratings have enjoyed from retailers is crucial, underscoring their firm commitment to selling video games responsibly."
We can only hope that such studies can continue to deflect any potential opposition to an R18+ rating being implemented in Australia.