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FTC: Minors Have Difficulty Purchasing M-Rated Games

Maybe this will remove the bee in certain people's bonnets.

According to recent findings by the Federal Trade Commission, video game retailers "continue to enforce most vigorously the ratings governing age and content that were established by the entertainment media industry."

The worst by far was music CDs, as a great many under the age of 17 seem capable of walking out of a store with that "Parental Advisory" label. Basically, the FTC recruited 13 to 16-year-olds to attempt to buy R-rated movies, R-rated and unrated DVDs, music CDs with the aforementioned warning, and video games rated "M" by the ESRB. Check out the significant difference between CDs and games:

Music CDs- "Retailers of explicit-content music demonstrated slight improvement since 2009 in enforcing the Parental Advisory Label – but still generally failed to prevent sales to minors. Nearly two-thirds of underage shoppers (64 percent) were able to purchase CDs with this label, down from 72 percent in 2009."

Electronic games- "Thirteen percent of underage teenage shoppers were able to buy M-rated video games, a statistically significant improvement from the 20 percent purchase rate in 2009."

There. Happy, anti-game activists? Can you all be quiet now? Most can't get their grubby little mitts on games they shouldn't have and comparatively speaking, the industry does a good job of keeping it that way.

Tags: video games, games industry, game ratings

4/21/2011 10:23:12 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Underdog15
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 10:46:59 AM
Reply

"There. Happy, anti-game activists? Can you all be quiet now?"

Nope. They likely won't know about this stat. They also likely don't care. For as long as Kratos rips things to shreds, Mason 1-shots a fake castro in the forehead, and millions of hit-and-runs go unpunished in San Andreas, they will not rest.

People in general just seem to have a hard on for justifying why games are bad and how mature adults would never play them. Problem is... they are only obviously morons to real gamers... who typically have an unheard voice in contemporary media.

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Nlayer
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 10:53:00 AM
Reply

Wow, its all like it's porn or something now. I wonder how that's going to hurt sales, especially in the music industry.

Doesn't really effect me though since I am of age. But I do feel a tad sorry for the mature teenagers that most of us here were back in the day. Hope they have guardians who care enough to buy the games for them.

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gumbi
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 10:55:16 AM
Reply

And yet somehow these kids still end up with the games and get to play them.

So who do we really have to blame here? It couldn't possibly be the parents for ignoring the warnings and buying the games for their kids anyway... Naaaahhhh that's crazy.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 11:04:01 AM

Yeah, that's just silly impossible.

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TheOldOne
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 10:58:41 AM
Reply

Activists blame violence to video games. I wonder which games were played when the US Civil War, World War 1&2 and racist hate crimes were made.

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kraygen
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 12:08:06 PM

Ye old evil chess, deadly knights, stealing queens, and killing kings, since 1475. lol

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kraygen
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 12:09:57 PM
Reply

Too bad instead of reading this most of these activists will continue to be the problem. Buying their children games without reading the label and then complain when they come home to find their children playing such violent content.

Anti-video gaming activists are a joke.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 1:38:05 PM
Reply

Blame bad parents with little to no parenting skills.

Every time I'm in one of 8 different video game stores(5 GS/EB/& 3 mom & pop stores), I always see them carding anyone that looks young that's holding a "M" game.

But then all the parents I've seen in these stores, buy it for their 8 to 14 year old's anyway.

When I asked why, most of the responses were "It's OK, I'll be watching them.
Well duh, what if you are watching them, it's still rated "M" for a reason.

Plus as we all know, lots of these parents let their kids keep their consoles in their own bedroom, so what parent's going to sit 24/7 in their kid's bedroom watching their offspring???
Yeah, f*cking right....NOT!

NO, what these parent's won't admit too, is using those games as their personal super-nanny, just to keep their kid occupied & out of their hair while they selfishly go about what they want to do, as if they didn't even have children.

They should be setting aside some quality time just for bonding with their kids, & not repelling them away.

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matt99
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 2:11:43 PM

Well any video game can be a babysitter. I think the reason parents keep getting violent games for their kids is out of ignorance, they still think of video games as something meant for kids.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 3:16:56 PM

matt99,
Agreed, any game can wind up being a babysitter.

But, do you know how many moms & dads I've watched buy all these "M" games, just to stop their brat's incessant whining???

Nearly every one of them, and I means "HUNDREDS"!

Hell, it isn't just in gaming stores either.
Just watch in any supermarket when those type of non=parental parents mistakenly go down the candy/cookie/cracker/ice cream aisles.
Same freaking thing, the kid WILL ALWAYS get his/her way, rather than that parent not caving in, and the kid being told "No and that's final".


Last edited by BikerSaint on 4/21/2011 3:19:10 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 1:47:58 PM
Reply

If I were a kid I'd find a way to get em :) They're harmless to smart people.

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kraygen
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 2:30:09 PM

Agreed, when I was 12 and a friend of mine was 9, his parents would get us whatever game we wanted to play and neither of us seem to be harmed by it.

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Fane1024
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 4:38:05 PM

I have to concur. I find all these age restrictions (music, movies, games, etc.) absurd and think it's wrong for retailers to enforce them (First Amendment).

Parents should definitely monitor their kids' activities, but I don't see the harm in access to "bad words" or other verboten material (at least, everything short of porn).

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Underdog15
Friday, April 22, 2011 @ 8:29:40 AM

I dunno fellas... I mean, there are some well adjusted kids with good parents who wouldn't be affected negatively by it, but I'm pretty sure you'd be in the minority.

Just an observation on my own line of work with youth and past work with children... I just want to point out... an 8 year old kid I know who's obsessed with Black Ops... an example:

Drawing assignment was to draw a picture of "flying freely". Some kids drew flying in hot air balloons, others on backs of birds... this kid? In a blackhawk... outfitted with guns... shooting bullets into people and animals. On the playground? He likes to sneak up on people and "knife" them from behind. As a result, he's ill-liked by the other kids and a bit of a bully.

lol, i admit... a little funny. But still.

Anyways, GTA and GOW are games my future 7 year old is never going to be allowed to play. For parents of a like mind, those ratings help parents who know nothing about games make a more informed decision about whether or not it's appropriate for kids. Ratings just ensure that it is still the parents decision.

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Fane1024
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 2:19:20 AM

I support the idea of ratings/warnings. I just don't think there's a valid basis for someone other than parents enforcing them.

I also wouldn't let a kid spend all his or her time killing fake people, but I don't think exposure to "adult" reality is toxic for children.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 4/23/2011 2:22:18 AM

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Alienange
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 3:03:38 PM
Reply

What is wrong with these music sales clerks?

Oh right, CDs don't sell numbers anymore... I guess that means grab sales wherever you can.

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A2K78
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 3:09:41 PM
Reply

The real problem with the ESRB have nothing to do with enforcement of the ratings, but everything to do with the fact that the ESRB ratings are inaccurate and there are tons of evidence which proves it e.g. peer studies, media investigations. It for this reason why I think there really need to be some reform into how the ESRB rates the game.


"There. Happy, anti-game activists? Can you all be quiet now? Most can't get their grubby little mitts on games they shouldn't have and comparatively speaking, the industry does a good job of keeping it that way."

As someone who actually have been playing video games practically all of his life, these "anti-gaming" activist have every right to be concerned about the activities of industry. Why? First of all it actually force some accountablity from the industry and Secondly its just one means of lessening the government's involvment in the industry where it doen't belong.

Now with that in you should actually thank these "anti-gaming" activist because had it not been for them this industry would probably by regulated by the government already.


Last edited by A2K78 on 4/21/2011 3:21:44 PM

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Lairfan
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 5:23:24 PM

Sources please? Oh yeah, that's right, you say that you know all this from "experience" even though you're pulling it all out of your ass. I gotcha.

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CH1N00K
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 3:17:55 PM
Reply

I think I'll start a store that sells nothing but Smokes, Booze, Porn and M rated video games...You can't get in unless you have ID. Then I'll make a huge profit by selling it to parents who think these products are all good to underage children. Anyone interested?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 21, 2011 @ 7:11:31 PM

I'd invest

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xnonsuchx
Friday, April 22, 2011 @ 5:57:41 AM
Reply

The CD/music one is ridiculous to even discuss...it's just an "advisory" and not a "rating" that the others are. I think only Walmart and a few others really enforce it (or refuse to even stock).

I still prefer Frank Zappa's label after the PMRC hearings:

"WARNING/GUARANTEE

This album contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor surpress.

In some socially retarded areas, religious fanatics and ultra-conservative political organizations violate your First Amendment Rights by attempting to censor rock & roll albums. We feel that this is un-Constitutional and un-American.

As an alternative to these government-supported programs (designed to keep you docile and ignorant), Barking Pumpkin is pleased to provide
stimulating digital audio entertainment for those of you who have outgrown -the ordinary-.

The language and concepts contained herein are GUARANTEED NOT TO CAUSE ETERNAL TORMENT IN THE PLACE WHERE THE GUY WITH THE HORNS AND THE POINTED STICK CONDUCTS HIS BUSINESS.

This guarantee is as real as the threats of the video fundamentalists who use attacks on rock music in their attempt to transform America into
a nation of check-mailing nincompoops (in the name of Jesus Christ).

If there is a hell, its fires wait for them, not us."

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Underdog15
Friday, April 22, 2011 @ 8:39:43 AM

What's wrong in establishing ratings and advisories to ensure that anything potentially offensive maintains the decision making to the parents raising their children?

It's not illegal to give R rated things to children. It's illegal to sell to them. I think it's wise to leave that decision making to the parents.

Wouldn't ensuring that R rated and advisory items are available to all children be a violation of that American first amendment thing, taking away parents rights to raise their children as they see fit?

That way, parents who feel their child is well adjusted can make that decision. And a parent who knows their child is affected by media in a noticeable way (as some definitely are!), they know they should shy away from some products until their child matures a little.

I just feel like you haven't really thought this through, and that you are merely lashing out at the extremists of religious groups. You can't just become irresponsible about what children have access to in the name of the first chapter of some 300 year old document. (Not American, so I apologize for my cynicism towards that amendment stuff)

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AnonWTF
Saturday, April 23, 2011 @ 11:46:34 PM
Reply

I swear ratings are annoying

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thj_1980
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 10:12:21 AM
Reply

To be honest here futureshop at the midnight launch let hundreds of teens line up and buy black ops. If they didn't half of their customers would be gone.

ONly about 1% of people are actually crazy enough to immitate a video games.

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Lairfan
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 5:25:26 PM
Reply

They need to study how many kids get their irresponsible parents to buy these games for them anyway. I'm sure the numbers would be quite higher.

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