Undercover Operation Catches Game Retailers Enforcing Ratings

As the Supreme Court considers whether or not selling violent video games to children should be a crime in California, the Federal Trade Commission releases a report showing that game retailers are doing just fine enforcing game ratings without fines and jail time hanging over their heads.

Once a year the FTC recruits a group of 13 to 16 year olds and sets them loose on America's retail establishment, tasked with attempting to buy movie tickets, DVDs, music and video games rated outside of their age range. The point is to see how well entertainment retailers are doing at enforcing the guidelines they agreed to enforce when they started selling this stuff in the first place.

How'd things pan out? 33 per cent of teens were able to purchase an R-rated movie ticket. R-rated and unrated DVDs were secured by 36 and 47 per cent of teens respectively. Parental Advisory-labeled music made it into the hands of more than 60 per cent of teens, a large number that can likely be attributed to retailers' surprise that someone was actually purchasing a CD.

And video games? A mere 13 per cent of teens made it through the checkout process with a game rated Mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

The percentage is an all-time-low for video game retail, which has held the lowest spot in the chart for three years running.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will take note of these results when considering the final fate of California's video game law.


    It's almost like having an R rating mostly prevents 13-16 year olds from buying R rated games!
    What a crazy world we live in.

      Who would have thought hey?

    While this is good to see, the main way these kids get to these M+ rated titles is via their moronic parents.

    I worked in a video game retailer and Dick Smith years ago and tried to enforce the ratings when selling games. Most parents actively ignored my advice. The usual response is, "oh well all his friends play it." or "he has the first one of this game/he's played it before.". I couldn't not sell it to the parents, if they wanted it, I had to sell it.

    Great. I saw a porn mag when I was 9, didn't mean my mom was buying them at the shops for me.

    There should be a review on the parenting practices of the parents who complain about video games and "the children".

      Are the ESRB ratings not guidelines? I know there are plenty of ignorant parents, but I played plenty of games that were rated too highly for me and turned out just fine. Not all 15 year olds have the same mental and emotional maturity - same applies to most age groups. As long as the parent is making an informed decision and knows their child's limits, then I see no huge problem with it.

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