Research conducted by the Federal Trade Commission shows that that retailers are following ESRB ratings more than any other form or rating system.
It's harder for minors to buy videogames rated M by the ESRB than get into R rated movies at theaters or buy R rated DVDs or Parental Advisory music. Research conducted by the FTC over the last ten years shows that retailer compliance with the ESRB system is at an all time high.
Secret shoppers audits conducted between 2000 and 2009 showed a steady rise in the number of underage shoppers turned away when they attempted to buy M rated games until it hit 80% in 2007, where it has remained ever since. By contrast, 70% of minors were turned away from R rated movies at theaters, 45% were stopped from buying R rated DVDs, and just 35% were prevented from buying PA CDs.
The ESA is sending out the FTC figures as a counterpoint to the findings of Common Sense Media, which suggested that nearly three-quarters of adults want videogames regulated by law. The FTC figures suggest that despite the assertions of groups like Common Sense Media, videogames are already very well regulated.
It's hard to know to know whether these figures will really make all that much difference, as it's a little too easy to talk around them. They certainly show that minors usually can't buy M rated games themselves, but they don't do anything to stop the idea that parents don't understand ESRB ratings and will buy M rated games for their kids.
Source: Ars Technica