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Author Topic: ESRB and live  (Read 1276 times)
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papasmurff
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« on: December 27, 2007, 04:42:12 AM »

Major nelson has some interesting information about how live now handles demos and trailers for M and rating pending titles.  Being that if your account is set to under 18 you aren't able to download these titles.

So my question to the gaming community is should microsoft be doing this?  I mean I work for a game store and love that we actually enforce ESRB.  I don't care how old you are...if you appear to be under the age and I card you and you don't have your ID you aren't getting the game....simple as that...cause I get fired if I sell to someone under age.  And it always AMAZES me that parents don't know some of this.  Here is a typical conversation will play out....

Me:  You know this game is rated M for blood, gore, and sexual content
Parents: No what does that mean
Me:  Depends on the game.  Gears of war for example is a great game.  You use a chain saw to splatter blood all over the screen.  Or explosives to make bodies blow up.  Not something suitable for anyone under 17.
Parents to Kid: I am not buying you that
Kid: But it isn't that bad
Parent: Tough shit....

or

Me: you know this game is rated M for blood, gore, and sexual content
Parent: Yeah my 9 year old is mature enough
Me:  OK if you say so.

Personally, I applaud MS for restricting this content.  I think they need to make it available to 17 year olds...but I know with the way they have the accounts setup that could be tricky to do.....

Here is the link
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kathode
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2007, 04:47:39 AM »

Quote from: papasmurff on December 27, 2007, 04:42:12 AM

Personally, I applaud MS for restricting this content.  I think they need to make it available to 17 year olds...
What?  Are you saying it's good or bad? smile  It's great that they do it, because it means developers that put their content on the service have much less to worry about liability-wise from the ESRB. 
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papasmurff
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2007, 04:51:27 AM »

hahaha...yeah oops....I think it is good what they are doing.  But as shown in Major's coments section, 17 year olds are pissed because of the way MS implemented it.  What I was trying to say is that they are doing the right thing but need to make it avalible to people who can buy the games.
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kronovan
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2007, 07:05:52 AM »

Quote from: papasmurff on December 27, 2007, 04:42:12 AM

Me: you know this game is rated M for blood, gore, and sexual content
Parent: Yeah my 9 year old is mature enough
Me:  OK if you say so.

You're a lot less persistent about this than I am, but I don't work in a game store and can't get flak from Management. When I see a parent renting a 'M' rated game in a video store for a young kid I'm very persistent about warning them about the content. In 90% of the cases the parent isn't at all aware of the ESRB ratings. If the parent blows me off I still diplomatically try at least once more to convince them that they're not making the best decision. I even once had a father that wanted to rent GTA:VC for his 8 year old threaten me.
The way I see it the video game industry already gets enough flak over mature content that it doesn't need parents making bad choices due to their ignorance.
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papasmurff
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2007, 04:32:48 PM »

yeah it is nearly impossible to deal with parents sometimes.  They don't understand the rating and stuff.  Some all you have to say is I don't recommend that you purchase this for a 9 year old and they say ok.  Some parents just don't give a rip, and that is annoying.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2007, 04:42:38 PM »

Is there some MPAA legal barrier to just having game stores put up a sign that says:

E = G
E10+ = PG
T = PG-13
M = R
AO = NC-17
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Larraque
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2007, 05:17:24 PM »

Quote from: papasmurff on December 27, 2007, 04:32:48 PM

yeah it is nearly impossible to deal with parents sometimes.  They don't understand the rating and stuff.  Some all you have to say is I don't recommend that you purchase this for a 9 year old and they say ok.  Some parents just don't give a rip, and that is annoying.

During my christmas eve family party, my wife's uncle or cousin (or something) had his two kids aged 9 and 11 over. My wife and I let them play Rock Band on the 360, and they migrated to the wii.

A couple hours later, I wandered downstairs and was asked by the older one about how to do something in a game - dead rising. Definately not suitable for an 11 year old. Turns out, the parent allows their kids to play these kinds of games. Grand theft auto, God of War :O  - it's all open ground.

I'm not about to over-rule the parent, but I was not impressed.
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kronovan
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2007, 05:47:55 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on December 27, 2007, 04:42:38 PM

Is there some MPAA legal barrier to just having game stores put up a sign that says:

E = G
E10+ = PG
T = PG-13
M = R
AO = NC-17

I'd like to see advertising by the ESRB in any shape or form in stores that rent and sell video games, since there's none where I live. I think a comparison chart between Film and ESRB ratings in stores is good idea too, as the film system is generally better understood.  I'm not sure if even that would make a difference for some of the parents insistent about bringing home M rated games for kids too young. I think when they're aware of the rating and still persist, those parents often just want to play the game themselves.

Anyways in regards to the original thread, I think Microsoft is doing the correct thing. Downloaded content shouldn't be any different than buying a game or receiving a demo disk at a game store. If you wouldn't be allowed to do it at the game store you shouldn't be allowed to dowload it either.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 05:57:03 PM by kronovan » Logged
JCC
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2007, 05:57:00 PM »

I have no problem whatsoever with MS doing something quite logical like this. I do think the attention video games get for sex and violence to be ludicrous. When I was 11, I was playing what passed for violent video games back then (granted it wasn't as realistic as today) and watching plenty of R-rated slasher flicks. (And seriously isn't the primary audience for R-Rated horror flicks under 17 anyway? I know that once I could drive and leave the house when I wanted to, I lost interest in them.) While it's true that I keep a few dead bodies in my closet, I didn't turn out too badly from these violent video games/movies/television shows.

Seriously, I think it's silly to think that a well adjusted 11 year old is going to suffer some psychological harm from playing a Grand Theft Auto game. Kids are more savvy then you think, and with prime time TV getting more violent and racy every year, I think the amount of attention video games get for adult content is just silly. Most of these parents who renting/buying video games also have cable TVs in their kids' bedrooms.
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2007, 06:15:54 PM »

Overheard at Toys R us: "This one says E for everyone. What does that mean?"  icon_lol

I immediately started snickering to myself after hearing that, but a couple days later I was talking to my sister and she seemed confused about some of the ratings as well.

I know they seem obvious to us, I guess for someone seeing it for the first time, it's not as obvious as it seems.
For instance, on the front of a box, it will just have a big 'T', a smaller 'Teen' above it and 'content rated by the ESRB' even smaller below it. There's a bit more information on the back, i.e., violence, blood, etc., but not everyone's going to read the entire box (although, they should). I say they should have right on the front of the box 'Not suitable for children under the age of...) in large enough letters that even those parents that require reading glasses can see without too much trouble.

It's really a shame they couldn't work with the....whoever the movie ratings people are to be able to use the exact same ratings system that's pretty much universally understood by everyone, damn red tape.
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kronovan
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2007, 06:48:15 PM »

Quote from: JCC on December 27, 2007, 05:57:00 PM

Seriously, I think it's silly to think that a well adjusted 11 year old is going to suffer some psychological harm from playing a Grand Theft Auto game. Kids are more savvy then you think, and with prime time TV getting more violent and racy every year, I think the amount of attention video games get for adult content is just silly. Most of these parents who renting/buying video games also have cable TVs in their kids' bedrooms.

I agree with many of the things you've said. I think what's important to emphasize though is the "well adjusted". The fact is there are kids that aren't so "well adjusted" and they really shouldn't be exposed to 'M' games like GTA. The effects such games have on them isn't just isolated to them as the negative impact those kids can introduce into a peer environment is significant. I'm not just talking out of my hat about this, I observed some of these negative impacts 1st hand with with my nephew and his peers when he lived with me for 4 years. I would have had a much different and lenient attitude about these issues 10 years ago.
I also agree that video games get an unfair amount of attention and more should be given to other forms of media. As to TVs and video consoles in kids bedrooms, IMO if you're not comfortable with them being in the most common spaces in your household you shouldn't have them in your household.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2007, 07:02:41 PM »

But even if you believe 11 year olds can handle playing Manhunt and viewing Saw 2 just fine, do you think that all 11 year olds should have free access to purchase them or should the parents be able to make an informed decision on whether or not they're ok with it for their child?
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JCC
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2007, 07:24:36 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on December 27, 2007, 07:02:41 PM

But even if you believe 11 year olds can handle playing Manhunt and viewing Saw 2 just fine, do you think that all 11 year olds should have free access to purchase them or should the parents be able to make an informed decision on whether or not they're ok with it for their child?

Not at all, and I was never advocating that any kid should be able to buy any game. I just go crazy at our government wasting time on shit like this when there are wars to fight, terrorists to catch, roads to pave, etc. etc. There is already a system in place to keep kids from playing violent video games - now it's up to the parents.

As to my tv in a kid's bedroom comment. I think it's easier to control what your kids watch or play in the family room than in their bedrooms.
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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2007, 07:27:10 PM »

Quote from: JCC on December 27, 2007, 07:24:36 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on December 27, 2007, 07:02:41 PM

But even if you believe 11 year olds can handle playing Manhunt and viewing Saw 2 just fine, do you think that all 11 year olds should have free access to purchase them or should the parents be able to make an informed decision on whether or not they're ok with it for their child?

Not at all, and I was never advocating that any kid should be able to buy any game. I just go crazy at our government wasting time on shit like this when there are wars to fight, terrorists to catch, roads to pave, etc. etc. There is already a system in place to keep kids from playing violent video games - now it's up to the parents.
The ESRB is not a government agency, AFAIK.  Or am I misinterpreting your point?

As far as the "well adjusted" argument goes, I don't care how well adjusted some kid is.  They're still very impressionable, and a steady diet of violence and gore is not a good thing for them no matter how it is rationalized.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 07:28:46 PM by Laner » Logged
JCC
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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2007, 07:39:58 PM »

Quote from: Laner on December 27, 2007, 07:27:10 PM

The ESRB is not a government agency, AFAIK.  Or am I misinterpreting your point?

But isn't there some sort of legal enforcement of these ratings for stores? I seem to hear about stores getting fined if they sell M rated games to minors.

Quote
As far as the "well adjusted" argument goes, I don't care how well adjusted some kid is.  They're still very impressionable, and a steady diet of violence and gore is not a good thing for them no matter how it is rationalized.

It's not like I am advocating strapping a kid down and showing him violent content all day. My point is if a kid on the threshold of or well into puberty is going to be traumatized by playing a violent video game, they have other issues that are far more serious than the video game in question. I'm not saying give Manhunt 2 to your 5 year old and let em at it.
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« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2007, 08:43:25 PM »

Quote from: Laner on December 27, 2007, 07:27:10 PM

As far as the "well adjusted" argument goes, I don't care how well adjusted some kid is.  They're still very impressionable, and a steady diet of violence and gore is not a good thing for them no matter how it is rationalized.

The "well adjusted" argument should never be used as a rationalization to allow games for underage kids. There are indeed studies that show even preteens are quite cognitive of the separation between reality and fantasy in violent, visual media -even the Surgeon Generals' study found this- but the fact is there are some kids that can't make that separation. It's also important to realize that there's some mental illnesses that don't manifest until the late teens or young adulthood; not a great thing if someone suddenly suffering from such a condition has been exposed to interactive violence and gore from an early age.
That being said, it's also important to not lose sight of these studies and the "well adjusted" individual arguments. There's some lobby groups/organization that advocate an outright ban on 'M' rated video games based on the false belief that no one's capable of cognitively separating reality from fantasy in such games. Even the teachers federation/union in my own Canadian province officially holds this opinion.
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papasmurff
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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2007, 04:32:33 AM »

I agree with some of the good points here like we don't need agencies protecting us from ourselves, but I think part of the problem is parents now don't regulate their children, they let their children make whatever decision they want. **I know that is a general statement***  I am only 22 but I remember (when I was younger..hahahahaha) my parents would let me make a decision, but they were Informed about what was going on. I think too many parents now are afraid to put there foot down and tell their whiny brat child no.  Parents should be the ones making the decisions not the kids.

I would like to see something done with the rating system.  I know where I work we have signs around the check out area and fliers on the counters explaining the rating system.  I mean it isn't rocket science....E=Everyone. E 10+ everyone 10 and older......come on......
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2007, 05:34:24 AM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on December 27, 2007, 05:17:24 PM

Quote from: papasmurff on December 27, 2007, 04:32:48 PM

yeah it is nearly impossible to deal with parents sometimes.  They don't understand the rating and stuff.  Some all you have to say is I don't recommend that you purchase this for a 9 year old and they say ok.  Some parents just don't give a rip, and that is annoying.

During my christmas eve family party, my wife's uncle or cousin (or something) had his two kids aged 9 and 11 over. My wife and I let them play Rock Band on the 360, and they migrated to the wii.

A couple hours later, I wandered downstairs and was asked by the older one about how to do something in a game - dead rising. Definately not suitable for an 11 year old. Turns out, the parent allows their kids to play these kinds of games. Grand theft auto, God of War :O  - it's all open ground.

I'm not about to over-rule the parent, but I was not impressed.

Like JCC above, I saw plenty of R-rated content at 11, including movies with the equivalent violence of something like Dead Rising or God of War (in fact, I believe that was around the age I saw Day of the Dead).  I was a perfectly normal kid and, as near as I can tell, am currently a well adjusted and productive member of society. I think my parents would have allowed me to play something like Dead Rising or God of War around that age back then and, although I'm admittedly biased, I think I had a fantastic set of parents (who also wouldn't have wanted me going willy nilly through someone elses game collection without permission). 

I wholeheartedly support systems like the MPAA and ESRB that enforce a limit on what content children can obtain without parental approval.  However, as noted by others, each kid is different and it's the parents' responsibility for determining at what age they are mature enough to be exposed to what material and without other evidence to the contrary I'm generally not going to judge them on their parental skills based on what media their children consume.

All that said, I was more than a little disturbed to find that some relatives of my wife's allowed their six year old to play Grand Theft Auto. 
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2007, 05:37:14 AM »

Quote from: JCC on December 27, 2007, 07:39:58 PM

But isn't there some sort of legal enforcement of these ratings for stores? I seem to hear about stores getting fined if they sell M rated games to minors.

Just like with the MPAA, there is no legal enforcement for ESRB ratings (though several state legislatures have attempted unsuccessfully to change this).  As far as fines go, I believe it's a case of the stores entering into a voluntary contractual agreement with the ESA to enforce the ratings, with the contract stipulating any penalties for violation. 
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2007, 06:17:44 PM »

The ESRB isn't legally enforceable, but it's in everyone's best interests to follow their guidelines.  The most important point to realize is that the ratings system was Congressionally-mandated to the games industry.  The industry was given a year to create their own ratings system or Congress would intervene.  So the ESRB was essentially formed from that, and following their guidelines helps keep the government off our back.  The FTC could definitely step in if they found the industry's ratings policies lacking. 
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