Microsoft Gets Smart (Could Get Smarter)

Microsoft is teaming up with Best Buy to encourage parents and caregivers to talk about video game playing and ratings with their kids, Microsoft announced today.

The Get Game Smart website is filled with glowing endorsements about family gaming, a break down of what exactly the Entertainment Software Rating Board's ratings mean, and some neat resources, like a gaming pact and pledge you can fill out with your children.

“I’m a dad, and I know how important it is for parents to get involved with their children’s video gaming and media experiences, not to mention feel equipped to make sure those experiences are as fun and safe as possible,” said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment & Devices Division at Microsoft. “Get Game Smart demonstrates Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to this effort and complements the award-winning Family Settings tools we built into our products like Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. These offerings allow families to get the most enjoyment out of today’s digital entertainment.”

The program also includes a search for Get Game Smart Ambassadors to help educate their peers on making smart video gaming and media choices.

I absolutely love what Microsoft is doing here, but they really need to open this up to other consoles if they expect it to be anything more than a dressed up marketing pitch.

For instance, hopping over to the website's tools and selecting "How to set parental controls" I've given a break down of how to set it up on the Xbox 360 and Games for Windows. All three consoles offer this service, so why not walk people through it?

If Microsoft is really interested in making sure that "parents and caregivers... be aware of — and have access to — resources and tools to manage their children’s digital media use" then maybe they should step up and outside the bounds of Microsoft and provide something useful for all gamers, not just theirs.

Get Gaming Smart