ESA launching national game ratings education campaign

Entertainment Software Association backing public education campaign to further inform American parents on game ratings.

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The Entertainment Software Association today announced a new national public education campaign aimed at further informing American parents about game ratings.

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The focus of the new campaign will be a string of public service announcements that call on parents to familiarize themselves with the Entertainment Software Rating Board rating system. The PSAs will also encourage them to make use of existing console parental control options.

"No one knows better than parents when it comes to making decisions about which games their children should and should not play," said US Senator John Thune (R-SD) in a statement. "The video game industry makes games for people of all ages, but that doesn't mean all games are appropriate for everyone."

As part of the new education initiative, the ESA will work with game retailers to use their physical stores and online presence to educate customers about ESRB ratings. In addition, the group said it will team with lawmakers to extend the ESRB ratings system to games for smartphone, tablets, and social games.

The program also has the support of US representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

"I commend the video game industry for recognizing the importance of educating and engaging parents about the ratings and other resources and for leading a national program that will ensure the decision-making power remains where it should be--with parents," she said in a statement.

Video games have been a much-discussed topic in the wake of the December schoolhouse massacre in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead. The topic has been debated at the state, federal, and even executive level.

President Barack Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to conduct further studies on the relationship between virtual violence and real-world violence.

In addition, vice president Joe Biden met with various members of the gaming industry in January to discuss the link between violent video games and gun violence as part of a wider task force looking into gun control measures.

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