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Tighter regulations on videogame content?

  Industry watchdogs are expecting The Interactive Digital Software Association to propose stricter regulations concerning the marketing and promotion of videogames branded with the dubious 'M' rating. According to the disconcerting report from Gamecenter, the IDSA pointed to, ostensibly, an internal report from the bureau itself. The IDSA denied actually releasing the document, but refused to comment as to whether or not similar announcements would come in the future.

   "Since 1994 the IDSA has had a provision in its advertising code that prohibits the marketing of Mature-rated games to persons for whom they're not rated as appropriate," the company declared in a recent report. IDSA officials wanted to make sure that the gaming public noticed the commendable use of the object pronoun 'whom.' "The monitoring and enforcement provisions for the advertising code were shifted to the ESRB's Advertising Review Counsel in February of 2000. Since the release last year of the FTC report, the IDSA has continued to engage in internal discussions about this issue. However, the document to which you refer was not released by the IDSA, and we have no further comment at this time about the document or our internal discussions."

   While the effects of the measures would be far-reaching if the proposal were to be realized, some are more drastic than others. For example, under the terms of the document, television commercials for titles rated 'M' would be barred from programs that entertain an audience 35% 18 or younger. Furthermore, advertisements for gory or sexually oriented games appearing on Web sites that report traffic of at least 45% of the same demographic would no longer be tolerable. Several software developers have indicated in recent weeks that discussions are currently in progress with the IDSA. Announcements from the firm regarding the issue are expected in the next several weeks.

   Let me be the first to say that, if the IDSA enacts these despotic, fascist restrictions, I will personally eat them.

2/12/2001 Bryan Keers

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