In a new report to the US congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has praised the videogame industry for continuing “to have the strongest self-regulatory code" of all the entertainment sectors.
In its seventh report on entertainment industries’ marketing and advertising practices since 2000, the FTC said that the US videogame industry "outpaces" other entertainment sectors in restricting target-marketing of mature-rated products to children, clearly and prominently displaying rating information, and restricting children’s access to mature-rated products at retail. It said that these measures helped to stop 80 per cent of Mature-rated game sales to minors.
The FTC said of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the non-profit organisation that leads the game industry’s self-regulatory programmes: "The Commission commends the ESRB for its new online ratings summaries, which provide a more detailed explanation of the content that factored into a game’s rating. This tool should enhance parental understanding of the ratings and the ratings process."
Earlier this week the ESRB announced that it was launching a free iPhone application designed to give parents instant access to new rating summaries at point of purchase.
Michael Gallagher, CEO of game publisher trade body the Entertainment Software Association, said of the FTC’s report: "The computer and videogame industry leads all others in ensuring its products are marketed appropriately and is the gold standard for others to follow. Today’s FTC report is a strong acknowledgement and validation that industry-led self-regulation efforts are the best way to provide parents and retailers with the resources and support they need to keep our kids’ entertainment experiences suitable."