A new Federal Trade Commission undercover shopper survey published today found that United States game retailers continue to be the most compliant with enforcing age-based ratings. According to the group's data, only 13 percent of underage secret shoppers were able to purchase M-rated games in 2012. This figure is unchanged since the last study was published in 2010.
Meanwhile, 24 percent of underage shoppers were able to buy tickets to R-rated movies (down from 33 percent in 2010), while 30 percent of underage shoppers were able to purchase R-rated DVDs (down from 38 percent in 2010). The least compliant group was the music CDs contingent, which allowed 47 percent of underage shoppers to buy albums with explicit content.
The FTC conducted the study by asking groups of 13- to 16-year-olds to attempt to purchase R-rated movie tickets, R-rated DVDs, music CDs with warnings of explicit content, and games rated M for Mature while unaccompanied by a parent. The study was conducted between April and June 2012 at national and regional chain stores and theaters across the US.
Entertainment Software Rating Board president Patricia Vance commented on the study in a statement provided to GameSpot.
"We applaud video game retailers for once again demonstrating our industry's ongoing commitment to parents. Enforcement of video game sales policies continues to be substantially higher than that for any other entertainment industry," she said. "This success is due in part to retail partnership programs like the ESRB Retail Council, through which we regularly conduct our own mystery shops to help retailers maintain a high level of store policy enforcement. We will continue these responsible efforts with unwavering dedication to serving parents."