Undercover Operation Catches Video Game Retailers Enforcing Ratings

Illustration for article titled Undercover Operation Catches Video Game Retailers Enforcing Ratings

As the Supreme Court considers whether or not selling violent video games to children should be a crime in California, the Federal Trade Commission releases a report showing that game retailers are doing just fine enforcing game ratings without fines and jail time hanging over their heads.

Once a year the FTC recruits a group of 13 to 16-year-olds and sets them loose on America's retail establishment, tasked with attempting to buy movie tickets, DVDs, music, and video games rated outside of their age range. The point is to see how well entertainment retailers are doing at enforcing the guidelines they agreed to enforce when they started selling this stuff in the first place.

How'd things pan out? 33 percent of teens were able to purchase an R-rated movie ticket. R-rated and unrated DVDs were secured by 36 and 47 percent of teens respectively. Parental Advisory-labeled music made it into the hands of more than 60 percent of teens, a large number that can likely be attributed to retailers' surprise that someone was actually purchasing a CD.


And video games? A mere 13 percent of teens made it through the checkout process with a game rated Mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

Illustration for article titled Undercover Operation Catches Video Game Retailers Enforcing Ratings

The percentage is an all-time-low for video game retail, which has held the lowest spot in the chart for three years running.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will take note of these results when considering the final fate of California's video game law.


Visit the Federal Trade Commission website for the full report.

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I was in NerdStop last night to pickup Portal2. Next to me in line was a woman (holding her chihuahua) and she was standing next to a 9 or 10-year-old slightly-obese boy (who I presumed to be her son).

When it was their turn at the counter, the woman said "What game do you want?" and the kid whined "DUH, I just told you! Mortal Kombaaaaat...". Then the NerdStop employee said "Ma'am, this game is rated M for Mature due to graphic violence". She just shook her head and said "Yeah, whatever."

I don't blame the parents for allowing their kids to play violent games, but if your 5th-grade kid is a whiny pork chop who is on the bee-line to a triple-bypass before they reach 40, you have failed as a parent.

I used to nerd a lot as a kid (with my atari/nintendo/c64), but ONLY after I played outside or ran around in the basement with some friends for a few hours after school. I was a goofy klutz too, I was always picked last and I kinda sucked at sports (until my growth spurt in high school). Thanks to that, I stayed fit and learned a lot of social skills that have been a benefit as an adult.

Kudos to the NerdStop employee for saying something about the M-rating though.