US senators send letter to video game retailers

Senators Joseph Lieberman and Herb Kohl warn retailers about selling M-rated games to children.

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Following the Federal Trade Commission's recent follow-up report on the marketing of violent games to children and another similar report by the National Institute for Media and the Family, US Senators Joseph Lieberman and Herb Kohl have distributed a cautionary letter to 34 retail chains that sell video games. Both reports suggested that children under the age of 17 were able to purchase and rent M-rated games, and the letter is meant to criticize those retail outlets that have chosen to ignore the ESRB's software ratings. The letter does not mention any sort of legal ramifications.

An excerpt from the letter follows:

"We write to express our serious concern about the retail community's lack of action with respect to the enforcement of interactive entertainment ratings. Over the past year, a number of national retail chains have enacted policies to restrict the sale of Mature-rated games to children. However, it appears those policies have often not made it from paper to practice."

The 34 retailers that received the letter were singled-out by the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association and include Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, Best Buy, Circuit City, Media Play, Toys "R" Us, Electronics Boutique, Hastings Entertainment, Wherehouse, The Wiz, and more. Conversely, Wal-Mart, Target, and Sears were heralded by the senators for their continued enforcement of the ESRB's ratings.

"We were very disappointed with Senator Lieberman's presentation,'' said Eric English, Hollywood Video senior VP and general counsel. "He named a couple of retailers as doing a good job, but we think we've been doing a very good job as well. Unfortunately, he made it sound as if everybody but those two or three retailers is doing a poor job."

Source: Reuters

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