PS3 to include parental controls

Sony's upcoming console joins Xbox 360, Revolution in having option to limit access to games based on ESRB rating.

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The next generation of games brings with it some impressive technology, bringing gaming to the next level of realism. The new graphics capabilities allows football jerseys to flop around authentically, cars to accurately depict real-time reflections, and landscapes to have unprecedented detail.

Unfortunately for parents of little ones, the new consoles also have the ability to show blood and gore at all-new levels of realism. More megahertz means more megaviolence. If inappropriate material was a concern of parents with the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, it'll be an even greater concern after parents see what can be portrayed with the new crop of high-powered machines.

To combat the problem of minors playing games deemed unsuitable for them, console manufacturers have begun instituting parental controls in their systems. Both Nintendo and Microsoft have already revealed that their consoles, the forthcoming Revolution and the recently released Xbox 360, respectively, include parental controls. However, both companies play second and third fiddle to gaming giant Sony, whose forthcoming PlayStation 3 is the successor to the top-selling PlayStation 2. The PS2 included parental controls for movies, but not for games.

Concerned parents can breathe a sigh of relief as Sony today announced that the PS3 will also have a method of limiting the play of games or movies based on ratings. Sony has not yet revealed how the system would be implemented in the PS3, but previous parental controls let parents of young gamers "lock out" games and movies that carry M for Mature, T for Teen, and R ratings.

"With the average age of game players now 30, our industry naturally creates content appropriate for a wide range of audiences, just as there are TV shows, films, music, and books for people of all tastes, interests, and values," said Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association.

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