Survey Shows Americans Want Game Laws

Survey Shows Americans Want Game Laws

A survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation shows that the majority of U.S. citizens believes their government should regulate the sale of violent or mature videogames.

The survey, which involved 1,147 U.S. adults, found that 60 percent felt the sale of violent or mature videogames should be regulated by the government, and 51 percent believed the government should be regulating the actual content of the games. Fifty-four percent of respondents who have children said that children's behavior is affected by mature content.

Even among gamers surveyed, 44 percent said the government should regulate mature content in games, while 55 percent said the sale of mature games should be legislated by the government.

Joe Paluska, director of Hill & Knowlton, a PR consultancy that commissioned the study, said, "While the game industry is forecast to grow faster than the motion picture and recording industries, gaming still under-punches its cultural influence except when it comes to mature content."


"Fifty-four percent of respondents who have children said that children's behavior is affected by mature content."

Sigh, how about being parents?! You can decide what your children get to see and do for the most part so how about setting rules in your own house!

Haha, I just read Tumbler360's comment after getting about half way through mine. But I'll write mine anyway.

Now, this article is fine in the terms of what games should be targeted at which people. But what I don't understand comes from the sentence:

"Fifty-four percent of respondents who have children said that children's behavior is affected by mature content."

Of course, it appears that these 'respondents' are blaming someone else (possibly the government) that their children are being exposed to violence in their homes. But just who has to go out and consider a game for their kids if the kids are not old enough to buy the game? Probably the parent.

I once spoke with a kid from primary school, who happened to be about 9 years, and who was into playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He didn't seem like a violent kid, but that is entirely up to the parent to look over these kind of things.

Back to this topic. If the parent is blaming someone else that their child is being exposed to violence, they need to consider why they bought the game, or why they don't just stop the child playing the game. Have some control.

We the sheeple, in order to form a more perfect eunuchdom, establish obedience, insure domestication, provide for the common excuses, promote the general ignorance, and secure the blessings of irresponsibility to ourselves from our precious, precious offspring, do disdain and piss all over this Constitution of the United States.

Please, show me I'm wrong.

-- Steve

Dear Parents of America,

DO YOUR JOBS. You have a responsibility to lay down the law in your home. Find out what games your kids are playing, and what goes on in the game. Play the game yourself if you have to, or actually learn the ESRB system. It's not rocket science, people.

I am so sick of fourty-year old parents being pushed around by people who aren't even old enough to drink. I'm also tired of said parents blaming something else for a problem whose beginnings lie DIRECTLY with the parent.

Speaking of the '60% adults want government regulation, 51% adults want game content regulation', can we get some perspective? How many people want movies to be government regulated? They've done it before! How many people essentially want the government to become editor-in-chief for every book sold in America? Just to get some context, if you will.

And let's get something else straight. There's several precedents for game laws, namely, they're illegal. It's been struck down at least five times. FIVE TIMES. Unless the Supreme Court says otherwise (and since it's all people who've likely never played games, I'm hoping it doesn't), games are just as protected as movies. I don't see anyone calling for movie content to be government regulated just because the Saw series got released. I don't see anyone calling the MPAA irresponsible for allowing the latest Saw movie to have its rating changed from 'NC-17' to 'R'.

In short, do your jobs, parents. Politicians, keep the hell away from my games. The ESRB already censors enough (Ex: Indigo Prophecy). Everyone else, bone up on what the ESRB actually does. Becuase you'd see that they actually do a half-decent job. They're not perfect, but they haven't got the experience that, say, the MPAA has at rating movies.

A Concerned Citizen

PS: According to this poll, 44% of gamers surveyed said the government should regulate mature content in games. Really? You'd like the government to tell you what you can and cannot play? I think I can hear Jack Thompson laughing if I listen hard enough...

Not surprising, there was a topic about this kind of thing a few weeks ago where this issue was discussed, if I remember right.

I just hope there aren't some politicians out there paying attention and decide they need to bolster their family values image and take up this issue. There are a lot of presidential candidates after all, and the 2008 election year might be a big one.

I think that parents have a right to try to protect their child from bad influences. If they think that their child plays too much WoW, then that is their prerogative. Unfortunately, many parents are hopelessly ignorant when it comes to games, and believe the garbage that is fed to them by the media. I would wager that parents who can't get their kids to stop playing WoW and get into fights with them over it are probably not very good parents. If they weren't fighting over video games, they would be fighting about something else.

I tried to find a copy of the actual study, but couldn't find one. I have my doubts about the distribution of the respondents for the study. 55% want the government to legislate the sale of video games? Yeah right, keep dreaming grandma. Too costly to enforce for no results. Do you think that the kids wont' be able to get the game after you stubbornly refuse to buy it for them because it is too violent? They will go over to the house of some kid who doesn't have insane parents and play it there. Or they can just steal it off the internet and hide it from their parents. If these people think they can't legislate away violent games, they are sorely mistaken.

And what does regulating content mean? Does that mean no boobies? No drugs? No guns? Or is is ok if the guns shoot bibles and crucifixes? No way, you may as well skip right ahead to thoughtcrime.

Pfft if parents would do their job as a i dont know...PARENT this wouldnt be a problem in the first place. Teach them the line between real and fantasy, right and wrong. people are stupid. they just want someone to blame for how bad children are these days. i say we bring back school beating along with spanking. if they wont listen to their parents then by god they will fear them and learn to respect them. Whats so wrong with letting two kids put on boxing gloves and taking the fight out back? You'd NEVER have seen this kind of crap coming from the kids if parents wouldnt be so freaking over protective. the line between abuse and disclipne isnt a fine line. People need to get with it. Kids arent stupid and at a young age learn to maniuplate the way their parents act if they are all full of emotional goo. pfft start pointing fingers at the government to pick up the slack in what is the parents fault to freaking start with. and the children are the lazy ones huh? -.-'

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but in the U.S. you can only buy M rated games at the age of 18, meaning the most probable way these kids are getting games is because their parents are buying them. In that case isn't it the parents fault for what their children watch? Also, as for the government making laws involving video games? Thats rediculous! That would make video games one of the few media outlets the government directly controls. Even the movie rating system used by the MPAA is voluntary. That and what actual evidence is there that children are being affected by violent video games, and I dont mean some parent saying so becuase that is in no way evidence.


Jesus christ....
seriously? why waste money on such things.... if the parents dont want there kids playing theese games then well.... dont buy it for your kids simple... or if you really feel strongly about it dont let your kids play games in the first place. The goverment should not be going and spending millions on regulating games when there are still people living on the streets......
and crime whats gonna harm your kid more a game or a mugger on the street with a knife?

Yellow card for incomprehensibility. Please read the guidelines! - Joe

Wow, y'all are silly. Now that we've gotten the knee-jerk "OMFG PLEASE DO NOT CENSOR MY HOBBY" reaction out of the way, may I suggest we take a step back.

"Fifty-four percent of respondents who have children said that children's behavior is affected by mature content."

Well, okay. Sure, if a kid plays Hitman, don't be surprised if he/she comes to a greater understanding of the nature of stealth and assassination. Big surprise, good simulations mean realism. And gamers want good simulations, much of the time. And this does affect children.

Let's take a look at this from the respondent's side. You are given a paper with a survey on it, and one question reads:

Is children's behavior affected by mature content?

What would you answer? It didn't say adversely affected; it didn't say mature content in things they do not play or watch. It is a simple question which has a number of gaps for inference where it does not truly imply anything but that children, like all people, are seen as being changed, in howsoever small a way, by what they watch and with what they interact.

This is not big news. This question does not even touch upon the idea of parents being involved in children's lives. It does not even address the issue of censorship or ratings systems or regulation. (Mind you, the other questions do touch upon the regulation issue, of course.)

Let's not get all whipped up in a righteous furor over something that is actually pretty mundane. See it for what it is.

1147 people. 195,000 bought the PS3 the first 13 days after launch. Even if all the people polled would have owned a PS3. And bought it during the first 13 days after launch. Anything they would say would be a simple statistical anomaly. Could people please start learning a little basic math skills and stop thinking these "surveys" actually mean anything.

I would like to note that I am just generaly blowing of steam at self important surveyors and that every poster in this topic deserves a big hug for their dead on comments. ^^

While its true that you need proper random sampling techniques in order to know that the results are valid, the fact that you only poll a small fraction of the population doesn't mean that its wrong. Assuming that it was just random phone calls, you can still establish a small margin of error (probably a few % each way).

The reason that this report really does not matter is that we still have the first amendment. Even if 99.9% of people think that games should be regulated, the fact is that part of the reason the SCOTUS exists is to protect people from tyranny of the majority. Similarly, even if congress got together and voted 100% on a measure to make illegal the sale of violent videogames to minors, it would STILL get knocked down by the supreme court. Until congress passes a constitutional amendment to the first amendment, or SCOTUS gets filled with judges with a radically different interpretation of free speech, it doesn't matter how much people want to regulate the market, it simply cannot happen.

Opinion Research Corporation? They're ORCs!

Yes, of course I believe everything some 'organization' says, especially when I don't know who's actually funding them and what their ulterior motives are. Polls are often manipulated and twisted around to produce a desired result, which is usually to 'help' the public 'form an opinion' about a given issue.

The problem is that parents don't want to raise their kids, pure and simple. It's too much of a hassle these days.

The game store near my place has a policy of try it before you buy it. It also has a policy of parent must be present for a child to try it if the game is above T for Teen. Sometimes they won't even let kids in if they are by themselves.

It's a great policy. Now parents can see just what they are buying before they drop the cash for it. While this is a step in the right direction a simple glance at the back of the game can tell a parent all they need to know.

It's sad that the store has to do the job of the parent but that's the world we are living in right now.

And it gets worse.

A news flash for all the idiots that think games should be regulated. Most kids can't afford most console video games in the first place and even if they could most stores won't sell M games to kids.

Guess who buys em.

Come on guess.


When I worked at Walmart I'd have conversations with parents that went like this.

"You know this is an M game right?"
"Yeah...*hands me the money*"
"...An M game for your kid...who is like...what twelve?"
"He's 11, what you waitin' for, I got places to be."
"...An M game where you can have sex with a hooker and beat her to death to get your money back..."
"Just ring it up!"

During christmas time, I had like 8 of those conversations a day...A DAY!

And I can guarantee it's people like this that want the government to regulate games. GUARANTEE!

Asking 1147 people to represent some 300'000'000 people?. Of course that will give you accurate answers (sarcasm). But that is not my sole problem with surveys. The other problem is that the full results are very rarely published so that others can come to their own conclusions. As it happens I just found some very interesting additions to this story. The missing questions from the survey to be precise. And looking at the results you can really see how Hill & Knowlton managed to get a negative result out of the survey. Please note that these numbers are only the missing numbers. I still haven't found the numbers that where originaly released.

Missing stats as a power point presentation.

Yeah, this survey isn't conclusive. Any survey is just bullshit when it claims that "Everyone wants" when not everyone was asked.

Also, I'm American and come here for Yahtzee fuckin' Croshaw. I saw this thing on the side of the page and thought I'd give my input as an American gamer. We try to tell parents to do their jobs! We really do! The American government which handles this sort of thing isn't interested in hearing from the people who are clavicle deep in the gamer society. In America, the sale of violent videogames has gone up, and the crimes commited by the youth has gone down. There is absolutely not grounds for the argument that children are influenced by videogames that they shouldn't have in the first place and is actually illegal for the parent to buy specifically for the child. It's like buying cigarettes for minors.

And real quick, while I'm here, want someone to blame for all these suck ass games? Well, we can only blame the devs, right? Blame them for hiring degrees instead of experience. =D Boy, that felt good. Anyway, have a nice day, folks!

Keep in mind that the only people who show up on these stupid poll results are people who are actually willing to take the time to RESPOND to these stupid polls in the first place. I don't know if you guys read Arianna Huffington, but she found out that with these polls, fewer than 10% of the random people they call are actually willing to answer the questions, most of them hang up the instant they hear the prerecorded voice on the other end.

Lazy damn parents. Your children's behavior wouldn't be affected by games if you taught them about life before you exposed them to guns and violence.

i dont think this has so much to do with the idea of them taking away games or if this is just some thing. its more so to do with the fact that people cant get off the fact that mature games are for mature people only. yeah we all know this isnt really a big thing, a silly random poll really. its the fact that people would go for the idea at all, even in a small amount. the fact that because parents arent doing their jobs it is starting to really effect us gaming people. the idea that we could lose something that we are just getting a taste of is enough to make one get upset. we all wanted and demanded good simulations. a game is another way to experience something that is JUST fantasy. (key word being FANTASY)and now that we get it everyone is bitching because it is bad for the children. well it isnt meant for children eyes in the first place. might as well hand your kid a porno for some background noise while he blows off a cops head and buys a virtual hooker. i mean well you bought him the M rated game, why not get him all the other things hes too young for aswell. and well instead of bitching that you dont know anything about games do some research on it before you buy it. or hell ask the game cleark about it. you dont work at a game shop by not knowing anything about the games on the shelfs. -.-' parents just dont want to have to deal with it is what it comes down to. but honestly if your child is innocent enough to get sucked into the video game world then they shouldnt even know about the games that you dont want them to play.

people pffft.

Didn't bunch of stuffy old white guys write up that one Amendment to keep flagrant jackassery like this from ruining everyone's day?

Seriously, it was over two-hundred years ago...
How are people not getting this?

It is very interesting to me, born under Communism in Eastern Europe, how people in "the land of the free" are so willing to let the government regulate something (the exposure of their children to violent games) that they can easily regulate themselves... Paternalism must be running high.


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