Thought Your Grades Were Bad? Check Out the Video Game Industry Report Card

Thought Your Grades Were Bad? Check Out the Video Game Industry Report Card


The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) has released its tenth annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card. Unfortunately, the video game industry doesn’t seem to be headed towards the honor roll anytime soon. Check it out.

Ratings Education: C+

Retailers’ Policies: B

Retailers’ Enforcement: D-

Ratings Accuracy: F

Arcade Surver: B-

Industry’s 10-Year Cumulative Grade: D+

As you could guess, many of the issues that the NIMF has with the ESRB is the unending issues that seem to come up with violence in video games. And we all must concur that the Grand Theft Auto Hot Coffee Scandal this year didn’t improve the grade.

The NIMF came to their conclusion by conducting phone surveys with parents about their knowledge of the ratings system. Only forty percent said they new what the ratings meant and fifty-three percent said they’ve used the ratings to stop their children from purchasing a game.

The NIMF feels that the biggest failure was ratings accuracy. They argue that mature video games in the late 1990s featured mostly violence, but now M-rated games feature violence, profanity, and sexual content and the ratings have not changed accordingly. We would argue that, although this may be true, the same principle could be applied to the movie industry. R-rated movies today feature more violence, profanity, and nudity than in the late 90s. The ratings system has not changed, but the content of movies has. The same seems to apply to TV. The amount of sexual themes, profanity, and violence in shows like CSI, Will and Grace, and Friends have increased significantly from shows that were popular in the late 1990s like Fresh Prince and Home Improvement.

“We were disappointed to learn that NIMF continues to unevenly weight the results of their sting operations (judging the effectiveness of retailer enforcement stemming the sale of Mature-rated games to minors),” commented Hal Halpin, the president of the Interactive Entertainment Merchant’s Association. “The fact that they weight their conclusions by individual stores rather than by actual real-world market value is significant, both to the statistics as well as to the practical realities of sales. Not weighting the data evenly by market share may well account for the NIMF sting results quite literally swinging wildly back and forth over the past five years. We have repeatedly requested that the National Institute on Media and the Family disclose their methodology so that we may better understand how they cull their results and been denied year after year.”

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