ESRB to NIMF: Flunk You!

Ratings board gives an "F" to National Institute on Media and the Family's criticisms from last week.

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Last week the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) was lambasted by the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) in the parent watchdog group's annual game industry report card. NIMF gave the industry a "D-plus," citing increases in sex and violence in games. The NIMF labeled the ESRB system as "beyond repair" and called for an "Independent Universal Ratings System."

At the time, the ESRB issued a response blasting the NIMF's methodology in conducting its examination of the industry and defending itself from the group's criticisms. Apparently not content to leave it at that, the ESRB responded to the report again today.

"In recent years, the report card concept has become increasingly arbitrary, simple-minded, and silly, more of a headline-grabbing tool than a parent-helping tool, and NIMF's 2005 report card continues that disappointing tradition," said ESRB president Patricia Vance in a release giving the NIMF report card an "F" for "inaccuracies, incomplete and misleading statements, omission of material facts, and flawed research."

"For years, ESRB respected the work of NIMF," Vance continued, "recognizing it as a serious-minded watchdog group sincerely interested in helping parents make smart media decisions, and for this reason we have previously sought to engage them in a cooperative and productive dialogue. But this year NIMF made clear that its real agenda is to undermine parent trust in the ESRB. We will not allow NIMF to mislead parents about the accuracy and effectiveness of ESRB ratings. Accordingly, and reluctantly, we have little choice but to publicly challenge NIMF's numerous inaccurate and misleading claims."

For the litany of complaints the board has with the NIMF's report card, check out the full release on the company's Web site.

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