Videogame Age Rating Tops FTC List (Again)

Videogame Age Rating Tops FTC List (Again)

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A U.S. Federal Trade Commission study has found that the videogame industry's compliance with age ratings continues to lead the pack.

It's not "new" in the sense that this is something the FTC has been saying since 2008, but it will probably come as news to a lot of people who don't keep up with such things and simply assume that the videogame industry is the Great Satan, peddling filth to small children to pad its profit margins. The truth, however, is that the videogame industry continues to enjoy a higher rate of compliance with age ratings than any other entertainment industry.

In a "mystery shopper" program conducted between April and June of 2012, only 13 percent of unaccompanied shoppers aged 13 to 16 were able to buy M-rated videogames; that rate has held steady from 2010 but is still well ahead of the second-place finisher, the movie industry, which refused 24 percent of underage customers who attempted to buy a ticket for an R-rated film.

Individual retailer ratings were generally quite solid, with the exception of Walmart, which allowed 25 percent of underage customers to purchase M-rated games; but GameStop, Kmart and Toys R Us all managed compliance ratings of 90 percent or better, and Target managed an unprecedented 100 percent rate of compliance. That mark is even more impressive, at least from a gamer's standpoint, in light of the fact that Target's performance in all other categories is mediocre at best, although it nonetheless showed significant improvement across the board.

The 2012 FTC study found that 30 percent of underage shoppers were able to purchase unrated or R-rated DVDs, and 47 percent were allowed to purchase music CDs with Parental Advisory Labels. Despite lagging well behind the videogame industry (and some wonkiness in the R-rated movie ticket category), the study revealed a significant improvement in age rating compliance among all entertainment industries. The numbers also lend credence to ESRB President Patricia Vance's warning last month that awareness and use of videogame age ratings may have peaked.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

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Cue Escapist readers engaging in the traditional "See, videogames aren't bad, damn that stupid government and those close-minded people rabble rabble rabble".

It's not that these points are wrong, just that the thread on any given news story or topic relating to this is so predictable and mind-numbing.

I bet those 13% of 13-16 year olds are all bloodthirsty murderers in training though.

As a Target employee I can explain why Target managed 100% compliance. They actually require a legal ID to be scanned in order to complete the purchase, just as with alcohol products or certain drugs. The cashier can't actually override this -- a bar code on the ID must be scanned or the purchase can't be completed (or a supervisor must be bugged for an override). R-rated movies and "parental warning" music don't require such ID scans. As the ESRB rating system is not legally enforced, this is something Target does voluntarily, singling games out. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

The only reason Walmart fails is that Electronics Associates have to do the job of four people. Cashier, Stocking, customer assistance, and cell phone repair. They don't have the time to correctly check IDs.

Funny, this falls completely in line with a paper I just turned in for a college class arguing that there is no need to legislate video game age ratings as the industry does a good job policing itself. Heck, of the three types of entertainment which self-regulate the video game industry does the best job of keeping objectionable material out of the hands of minors.

Now whether the parents are doing their part... Let's just say that if all the parents who demand government intervention were to pay attention to what they were giving to their kids, then MS and Sony would have much lower profits.

I worked as a cashier at Best Buy back in 2004/2005, and we were required to ID anyone who even looked like they might be underage. We didn't have any sort of scanner like the sort Redhawkmillenium up above described at Target, but our supervisors and managers were pretty strict about enforcing it. They constantly instilled fear of "secret shoppers" into us, and made it quite clear that if we were repeatedly caught ignoring the ratings we'd be fired. They weren't bullshitting about that, either.

Redhawkmillenium:
As a Target employee I can explain why Target managed 100% compliance. They actually require a legal ID to be scanned in order to complete the purchase, just as with alcohol products or certain drugs. The cashier can't actually override this -- a bar code on the ID must be scanned or the purchase can't be completed (or a supervisor must be bugged for an override). R-rated movies and "parental warning" music don't require such ID scans. As the ESRB rating system is not legally enforced, this is something Target does voluntarily, singling games out. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Question to ya Redhawk. When you say scan an ID you mean like a driver's license?

Cause this is shit that should be promoted.

As for the story. Makes sense to be. When it comes to buying and selling video games a good deal of big and small stores have a basic rule to ask for ID. Which is ironic considering music and movies don't have this rule for employees. I even remember working for Game Crazy and that was pretty much the one strike and you are out rule. Sell an M rated game to a child and you are fired.

Tenmar:

Redhawkmillenium:
As a Target employee I can explain why Target managed 100% compliance. They actually require a legal ID to be scanned in order to complete the purchase, just as with alcohol products or certain drugs. The cashier can't actually override this -- a bar code on the ID must be scanned or the purchase can't be completed (or a supervisor must be bugged for an override). R-rated movies and "parental warning" music don't require such ID scans. As the ESRB rating system is not legally enforced, this is something Target does voluntarily, singling games out. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Question to ya Redhawk. When you say scan an ID you mean like a driver's license?

Cause this is shit that should be promoted.

(also works at target)
yes any state photo ID will work
driver, or Identification card

direkiller:

(also works at target)
yes any state photo ID will work
driver, or Identification card

But how does it work? I mean do you just look at the ID? Or we talking an actual scan through a machine that can verify with the state that it is a valid ID?

Tenmar:

direkiller:

(also works at target)
yes any state photo ID will work
driver, or Identification card

But how does it work? I mean do you just look at the ID? Or we talking an actual scan through a machine that can verify with the state that it is a valid ID?

Driver Licences have magnetic strips or a scanable section
you swipe/scan say thankyou and continue the transaction as normal
part of the process involves looking at the ID too so if it is a bad fake you can refuse the transaction

As long as there are ways for underage players to get the games anyway, I say good on them. Doing what they think is right. It's ineffectual, but that's the beauty of it.

direkiller:

Tenmar:

direkiller:

(also works at target)
yes any state photo ID will work
driver, or Identification card

But how does it work? I mean do you just look at the ID? Or we talking an actual scan through a machine that can verify with the state that it is a valid ID?

Driver Licences have magnetic strips or a scanable section
you swipe/scan say thankyou and continue the transaction as normal
part of the process involves looking at the ID too so if it is a bad fake you can refuse the transaction

I'm guessing then your system must have some sort of way to pull up the DOB on the card then. Huh, finally glad to see at least some company using that part of the ID. Thanks.

Tenmar:
Question to ya Redhawk. When you say scan an ID you mean like a driver's license?

Cause this is shit that should be promoted.

Yes. As others have said, driver's licenses and other legal ID have a bar code or magnetic strip on them. A Target cash register's hand scanner or credit card scanner can read these and confirm if the ID says the person is over 17 (or 21, in the case of alcohol sales). Not sure exactly how it works, whether it reads a code for the birth date or if it accesses a database to see what the ID says.

I want to say this is a good thing, but I still think that number's a little high. In essence, "doing good, let's do even better next time."

Redhawkmillenium:
As a Target employee I can explain why Target managed 100% compliance. They actually require a legal ID to be scanned in order to complete the purchase, just as with alcohol products or certain drugs. The cashier can't actually override this -- a bar code on the ID must be scanned or the purchase can't be completed (or a supervisor must be bugged for an override). R-rated movies and "parental warning" music don't require such ID scans. As the ESRB rating system is not legally enforced, this is something Target does voluntarily, singling games out. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

a very bad thing. we have the rating system enforced by law here. it is one of them ost ridiculous things ever done.

Strazdas:

Redhawkmillenium:
As a Target employee I can explain why Target managed 100% compliance. They actually require a legal ID to be scanned in order to complete the purchase, just as with alcohol products or certain drugs. The cashier can't actually override this -- a bar code on the ID must be scanned or the purchase can't be completed (or a supervisor must be bugged for an override). R-rated movies and "parental warning" music don't require such ID scans. As the ESRB rating system is not legally enforced, this is something Target does voluntarily, singling games out. I don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

a very bad thing. we have the rating system enforced by law here. it is one of them ost ridiculous things ever done.

To be clear, Target's policy is in no way required by law. Their universal ID'ing for M-rated games is completely voluntary (on their part).

 

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