Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
November 25, 2008
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Urges Parents to Check Ratings when Purchasing Video Games as Gifts
~ Majority of games are sold during the holiday shopping season ~
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today urged parents and other consumers to check the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings before purchasing computer or video games as gifts. According to industry statistics, more than 50 percent of computer and video games are sold during the holiday shopping season, making it critical that shoppers ensure the games they give to young people are age- and content-appropriate.
“Though the holiday season is one of the busiest times of year, it is also perhaps the most important time of the year for consumers to make sure they know what they're buying for their loved ones,” said Attorney General McCollum. “The ESRB rating system provides parents and others with age and content information which can be informative tools when purchasing games for family and friends.”
ESRB ratings are designed to provide information about computer and video game content so consumers can make informed purchase decisions. As part of the rating system, rating symbols suggest age appropriateness for the game, and content descriptors indicate elements in a game that may have triggered a particular rating and may be of concern.
“More than 40 percent of Americans expect to purchase a computer or video game this year and a majority of those games are purchased during the holiday shopping season,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “As parents choose titles from the broad range of entertainment choices our industry offers, we urge them to use the ESRB ratings system to ensure the games they purchase for their children are appropriate.”
“As a parent, I know it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to manage the media that our children consume, but video games are actually among the easiest to control," said Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB. "The ESRB ratings are easy to understand, and provide valuable guidance about the age appropriateness and content of video games so parents can determine which games are appropriate for their children. I strongly encourage parents to remember to check the ratings each time they buy or rent a game for their child."
The ESRB recently supplemented its rating system by launching new ratings summaries. The summaries, released for all games rated since July 1, 2008, provide brief, objective descriptions of the content and surrounding context that factored into a video game’s rating assignment. Parents and other interested individuals may access these summaries on the ESRB website, http://www.esrb.org, via a new mobile address, m.esrb.org, or through ESRB’s rating search widget.
The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. More information is available online at: http://www.theESA.com.
The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the ESA. ESRB independently applies and enforces ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles adopted by the industry. More information is available online at: http://www.esrb.org.