In our estimation, the ESRB has done an excellent job over the years. But due to recent Congressional investigations into potentially harmful media content, there is now a call to have one universal ratings system for movies, TV, and video games.

This according to a Bloomberg report , where it says the FCC will consider a universal rating system, the ESA has stated in the past that the FCC has no jurisdiction over the game industry, and ESA senior vice president for communications and industry affairs Rich Taylor said the ESRB is "considered by parents, family advocates, the Federal Trade Commission, and elected officials as the gold standard in providing caregivers with the information they need to make the right choices for their families." He's clearly not a big advocate of this new universal system, which he says would "confuse consumers, violate the Constitution's first amendment, and are a solution in search of a problem." We have to agree with him because we believe the MPAA is actually more at fault in this matter than the ESRB; in looking at how movies and games are rated, we think games are rated on a much stricter scale. It's downright amazing that some PG-13 movies weren't rated R, but you'll almost never find a T-rated video game that will piss off parents or other anti-game activists. So we say, just leave the ESRB alone. They're doing their job.

We're not entirely sure if a universal ratings system would "confuse" consumers – once they got used to it, of course – but we still agree with Taylor. If it ain't broke…don't damn fix it.

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sunspider13
sunspider13
11 years ago

Umm yeah…FCC keep your government hands off my fun. The ESRB does a great job at rating games and it's up to the parents to know what they are buying their children and the rating system we have now does just that.


Last edited by sunspider13 on 8/28/2009 9:59:43 PM

OtisFeelgood
OtisFeelgood
11 years ago

I second that.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

You do know that the rule of law is what separates the United States from the likes of Somalia right? The FCC is charged with supervising the communications industry, including entertainment. That includes TV and movies, so why not games as well? How is ensuring that games with R rated material get an R rating going to qualify as the government having their hands on your fun?

Good god, people are so quick to react with the typical knee-jerk reaction. They can't even stop to think about the idea and evaluate it, before spewing the predictable reactionary response to any suggestion that government might try to apply a rule to something.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 8/28/2009 11:32:16 PM

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

“Always love your country — but never trust your government!"
-Bob Novak

@highlander

Dude are you American? If you are you should very well know we can't trust our politicians further than we can throw 'em. I agree that we gotta keep their money greased hands off our favorite industry. Ben's right if it ain't broke don't fix it!

There is nothing more patriotic than to have your Reticle of Scrutiny permanently afixed on government.


Last edited by Wage SLAVES on 8/29/2009 2:09:46 AM

sunspider13
sunspider13
11 years ago

@Highlander
No I don't think this is a knee jerk reaction as you put it. I do agree that the government has the best intentions at heart, namely to serve the public. However in my eyes streamlining the rating system, as the article points out, will not only confuse the public, but imo is just one step away from regulation. Heck even the FTC has said that the ESRB rating system is 'the gold standard'.

I'm assuming you know how the ESRB comes up with the ratings so I won't bore you with that. I much rather trust impartial parents to give their unbiased opinions on a game than some government employed lackey with an agenda trying to make a name for themselves.

Ok sorry for the rant, but when you mix government with videogames I don't think the end result will be better for us fans. Just my two cents.


Last edited by sunspider13 on 8/29/2009 3:01:59 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

@SunSpider. Here's the thing. The FTC is charged with economics, so the fact that they think the ESRB rating system is a good one is fine, but since their area of responsibility is economics and industry, but not entertainment or communications, their opinion is less interesting to me than that of the FCC which is the equivalent of the FTC only actually responsible for communications including entertainment.

@WageSlave
Keep your "reticule of scrutiny fixed on government"? keep "their (government's) money greased hands" out of our industry? Are you serious? Please stop and think about this for a moment. You are basically saying that we should apply all our scrutiny to our politicians, the ones we democratically elect every 4 years, but not the captains and generals of industry, who were elected by no one, and are answerable to very, very few if any. You talk about money greased hands, and yet who is it in the last 5 years that has screwed the economy to the floor? Was it the government, or was it the privately run finance industry? Madoff – was he a member of the government? He sure as hell had money greased hands, greased with the money of millions of victims.

I'm so sick of people who throw their full weight of mistrust at the government and show what amounts to blind faith in industry. Industry exists to exploit consumers and basically extract money from consumers for the profit of the corporation. Government exists to serve the people and everything it does is in one way or another for the country. If you don't like the bums in charge of the company, you're hosed, they're in charge and you're not. With government you re-elect them regularly, so if you don't like them, don't vote for them. Don't anyone try to question my patriotism or understanding of civics. I sometimes try to imagine how the founding fathers of the US would react to current times in the US, and I think that they would turn away in shame, which to me at least is a true tragedy.

I'm done with this thread.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 8/29/2009 3:24:11 AM

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

@ Highlander

You my friend don't know a thing about socialism.

"Democracy is the road to Socialism,"
–Karl Marx–

Every day in school I recall this…

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"

We are supposed to be a Republic.

Do you really believe ONE man (Madoff) ran this thing by himself? What about the Banker Bailout? Pretty fascist in my book, no? How much of that 23.7 trillion did you get?

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aY0tX8UysIaM


Last edited by Wage SLAVES on 8/29/2009 3:48:07 AM

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

You know, in all honesty, the FCC would be FAR better than the _Civilian_ authority that's currently in use for Music and Movies. At least the FCC are appointed by the government and therefore, we can hold THEM responsible for their faux-pas…whereas, the MPAA/RIAA are a civilian organization made up of the most powerful music/movie producing organizations in the world, not to mention Priests, and are under the direct supervision of no governmental agency. 'This Film is Not yet Rated'. Pretty much sums it up.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Government doesnt have our best interests at heart. Government doesn't do anything well except fight wars. Stay the fak out of my life. Yes industry exploits consumers, so that means te government doesn't? Give me a break. If government was all caring we wouldn't be debating sending our elderly to an early grave with obamacare to save a few bucks. Blind faith in government leads to tyranny.


Last edited by Jawknee on 8/29/2009 12:56:54 PM

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

"Government exists to serve the people"

that's the problem high, they aren't serving the people they are serving them sevles and their special interest groups like the labor unions and trial lawyers. this government seeks more and more control over our lives with each passing day. If you don't see that you need to wake up. You accuse us of having blind faith in industry, it's not blind, I trust my fellow American more then I trust my government. Private industry seeks to make a profit, they have a reason to cater to me. If they do a poor job then I go some where else. Government on The other hand doesn't have any incentive to be honest. They screw us over, their response is "let then eat cake". Seems your the one with a blind faith. Your an intellegent person Highlander, this should be clear as day. Governmet has the worst track record of making peoples lives better by getting involved in private matters. There's not a single thing in the private sector that they haven't ruined or made more expensive by getting involved. Government only does two things well. Fight wars and waste our money. Â

Byakko2009
Byakko2009
11 years ago

Jawknee gets your facts straight before you start calling Obamacare a death panel. Check out http://www.healthcarereformmyths.org/

And please, stop getting your news from Fox and Rush Limbaugh.

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
11 years ago

Look, i love my government, ive trusted it since the day i was born, i'd still like to, but with Obama, thats impossible, hes so concerned with controlling our lives, and hes not even the one doing it, hes just a pawn in a bigger cover up.

SHADOW
SHADOW
11 years ago

Alright you guys I know what road this goes down. If you want to discuss politics: Take it to the forums. I'm leaving up all of the comments for now but if this discussion continues down this road I'm going to start deleting them. Keep it on topic here, this is not the place to discuss health care reform.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Yeah! What Shadow said, you guys aren't allowed to rent here anymore! Woops, looks like I already contributed to the BS. It's hard not to 😀

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

@wageslaves & Jawknee
You are both so very wrong. I cannot even begin to tell you how wrong you are. It saddens me that you are so utterly incorrect, and yet you are totally convinced of your correctness. Why your minds are so very closed tight I do not know. One point I must reply to. WageSlave talked of the pledge of allegiance and the republic of the US as if somehow being a republic was incompatible with socialism. Socialism is an economic system, not a form of government. There are plenty of socialist republics. A republic is a form of government with an elected leader rather than a monarch.

Neither of you understand what socialism is, nor do I think either of you has any experience with real socialism. I have, I've lived under a socialist government, and in socialist countries. Real socialism my friends, is not even remotely like what we have in the US, or Canada, or the UK. Not…even…remotely.

Good day to you.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Sorry Byakko, but Besty Marky (D-CO) already confirmed it. There will indeed be rationing.

Higlander, I admit, I never have lived under socialism, it sounds good in theory, but human nature prevents it from working without losing freedom.

DaNgerSteVe
DaNgerSteVe
11 years ago

they dont need to changed anything, ITS THE DAM parents fault for letting their 8-15 year olds buying them a rated M game when they shouldnt get it

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

Whoops


Last edited by Mornelithe on 8/29/2009 11:16:59 AM

Cpt_Geez
Cpt_Geez
11 years ago

A universal rating system is a bad idea, the system we have now is prefectly fine.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Why is it a bad idea?

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

It's bad because the FCC are driven by money. Pay them enough, they will make changes. Look to Clear Channel, for example. Disgusting company.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

A publicly funded government department is driven by money, but a for profit, commercially driven industry body isn't? You've got that backwards my friend.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

You have misunderstood my post. Please, read it again and then slap your forehead like a monkey would. 😉

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

The FCC is far less driven by money than current ratings groups that we have in place in the US.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

That's nice but it still doesn't mean much. They are driven by money and that point cannot be diminished. Saying that one serial killer eats the eyes and ears of his/her prey first, to shield them from fully experiencing the sights and sounds of their demise, doesn't make him/her one that wouldn't be as punishable by law.

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

Again Fluffernutter, I urge you to actually research this issue, before just jumping in headlong with absolutely no idea what I'm referring to. First and foremost, hate to break it to you, everyone's out for money. If such a thing is a crime, then every person in the world, is guilty.

The MPAA employ ratings boards, that have absolutely NO oversight, via the government, or civilian populace. The only people with a say, are the ones actually making the decisions of what gets what rating. Major heads of the largest film studios in the world. And a few members of the cloth (Christian/Catholic only). Interestingly, these folks seem to only be interested in censoring sex. Violence, it seems, is appropriate for everyone.

I've mentioned the name before, but 'This Film is Not yet Rated' is an absolutely horrifying look into how movie ratings are set in this country. Absolutely not, no civilian authority. Government through and through, people we can actually remove from office if we don't like how it's going.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

What do you mean by again? I didn't read a previous instance where you urged me to do some research? Was that post deleted? Also, stating the obvious doesn't help your case. We all understand that these companies/groups are driven by money. I apologize if I haven't expressed that I am a member of society and have interacted with other people. Please, don't assume things about me as it shows your level of reasoning. Stating that the FCC is far less driven doesn't change the fact that they are driven by money. We're not talking about degrees here. Changing the way the system is setup will not improve things. It can only make them worse. People need to stop worrying about the things that shouldn't matter if they had their fundamentals instilled properly in the youth of today. Education is the key. And by education, I am referring to parenting. I have seen way too many cases where the lack of parenting has produced problems. Just look at how many people get their music from the radio. It's saddening.

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

What I mean is, if you understood how civilian ratings boards were driven, you'd understand having one Unified ratings system that was removed from civilian control would be good. Understand though, by civilian control, I don't mean you and me, and the general populace. The folks in charge of rating movies, MAKE THE MOVIES.

Why is this a big deal? Because, ratings dictate your ability to sell your movie. G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, XXX etc.. Whichever rating your movie is branded with (and this is particularly difficult on independant studios/producers), directly impacts it's ability to be marketed.

Anything branded NC-17+ doesn't hit theaters, nor does it get any shelf space in retail chains. This is a fact, and you'd think, well, it's NC-17 for a reason. Funny thing is, some of these reasons are so paper thin, completely biased, or not even following in lines with movies they've already rated. It's almost a, well, I feel this way today, so this movie gets NC-17. As I said though, watch 'This Film is Not yet Rated' (documentary), it explains this whole issue much much better than I can.

My basic point though, is that yes, we can always be mistrustful of the government…but at least that can be changed. Whereas, with the civilian setup we currently have, the average citizen has absolutely no say in how movies are rated, or whom is part of the ratings board.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

Well played, Mornelithe. I get your point but and I don't think that if the movies were rated by the creators that it would be better. I don't agree with any of the ratings done by any of the boards but that's an opinion based on my personal tolerances. NC-17 movies are shown in theatres and they are sold in stores but I do live in California so it may just be different for this state. I think that people are more open to things here than in some other areas. Even if they do listen to the radio. That still is saddening. No matter what, people are not going to be in agreement with how movies, music, etc. are rated but the censorship needs to stop. Point is, people should always be given the option to choose. Don't assume and alienate a populous before they've been given that chance. And I'm not saying you. I'm talking in general terms.

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

I totally agree FN, it should be subject to change, just like the rest of the country is. The countries ideals, beliefs, values, alter, shift and evolve daily, weekly, monthly, yearly etc.. so should ratings boards be.

Which is why, given over to Government control, we could hold them accountable when they step over the line (The saving grace here, is that even if the ratings board screws over the movie, we can still find it online via retailers…or other means), remove them from their position, and replace them with someone a bit more fair-minded/open.

As it stands now though, we have CEO's/CFO's of major movie distributors, people of _one_ specific religious group (it doesn't matter which), all deciding what we can and cannot watch. Even worse though, all of these people, represent the upper crust of American's (Financially speaking). Kirby Dick, is the man who made the movie 'This Film is Not yet Rated', he makes a very VERY good case that the MPAA not only has a monopoly on their ratings, given their closed standards, but that they give special consideration to movies made by MPAA members (Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.), whereas independant films/producers aren't.

It's really sickening to understand how the system works. Just terribly sickening.

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

I think the best ratings board, would be comprised of a proper, and truly diverse cross-section of America. Younger and Older minds, rich and poor, religious and not. They all play a roll in our society nowadays, and should be represented in any ratings oversight board, that governs the airwaves/tv/movie theaters/games etc… It's hardly representative of the majority, any other way.

The creators, producers, and distributors of these entertainment medium, however, should have absolutely no involvement in the ratings process, as they are all financially tied into each decision they make in that regard. This is where the big conflict of interest comes from. Giving a movie they don't own, a good rating, gives that movie X thousands/millions of dollars in revenue that doesn't go to them in any way. You follow? It should be the common joe as well as the rich folk. We all seek entertainment….


Last edited by Mornelithe on 8/29/2009 12:11:54 PM

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

As great as that type of panel sounds, we all know it would never fly. Too much diversity and it wouldn't allow a major "group" to take financial control and influence the rest of the panel. Corporate America would not stand for it. This, is why we know that this type of panel is a very "sound" idea.


Last edited by fluffer nutter on 8/29/2009 3:04:43 PM

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
11 years ago

I know, the only way it would fly is if the majority of American's spoke up against the private control of the ratings boards via MPAA. And since noone has yet, big business can just do as it pleases.

The thing is, these people make money…telling us what entertainment is. You know? That really bothers me. Because they can single-handedly, prevent the mainstream from seeing something that really broadens our horizons. As well as inserting their own small view of world opinion, and enforcing it upon the whole at large. I realize that big business would do everything in it's power to prevent such a thing from occuring…but we as the consumer should also have the right to dictate the manner in which our entertainment is rated/censored etc… IF we choose it at all.

dlte
dlte
11 years ago

this sounds like a good idea….

dlte
dlte
11 years ago

does anyone understand sarcasm? jeez.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

They have nothing better to do, do they?
Anyway, if we get the movie system, devs could get away with a lot of things 😀

^But then again, maybe not -_-

TGG
TGG
11 years ago

The ESRB is doing perfectly fine, I've never looked at a video-game and went "Dude, why the f*** is it rated that?". There have been plenty of movies where I had that reaction. Now that I think about it, the only thing the ESRB is doing wrong is not adequately getting the word out. Combining all the ratings administrations into one big one wouldn't solve that problem.

I don't see why they all can't operate separately. On the other hand, I do want to hear the FCC's reasoning, just to see why they think it would.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

Yea like TITanic…hee hee get it.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
11 years ago

Here in Australia, our games were changed to match the movies rating system, and its worked like a charm.

The colour coding with the rating works really well too. Green for G, yellow for PG, Blue for M, red for MA15+, and for movies, black for R18+. Contents of the product are described next to the rating.

eg. Gears of War on PC here has a red MA15+ on the cover with "strong violence and course language" written next to it. Now, even the most oblivious customer who knows nothing of video games can have no trouble knowing which games are suitable for their 9 year old boy.


Last edited by Dancemachine55 on 8/28/2009 10:39:58 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Yeah but the GOWIII guys are worried about a ban there.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/28/2009 10:47:06 PM

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

I'm all for it staying the way it is. So far, I've been able to trust the ratings with my child. So I agree, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Do you disagree with the TV and movie ratings? If not, then why not have them applied to games as well. No parent would ever be able to claim that games were either not rated properly or say that they didn't know.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

I find movies to contain more questionable instances than games. There are some teen rated games that I allow my daughter to play because it received that rating just for violence. Movies, or might I say hollywood, try to circumvent the ratings by slipping inappropriate material in that doesn't match the rating. This is based on my observation of some titles and I don't mean to sound like I have any expertise as a movie critic. If game ratings were applied to movies I think they would reflect the contents better than the other way around.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

I just realized how vague my original post is. I mean I like the way game ratings are and they shouldn't be changed. If it goes universal then hollywood should change their rating system to match games.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

I agree completely, like Ben said in the article, there are PG-13 movies that deserve an R rating. Then again there are R rated movies that only get that rating because the script dropped an F-bomb or two.

It might seem ironic, considering I think that a single system would be better, but the current TV/movie rating system needs an overhaul to re-baseline what the ratings mean, and make sure that they are applied consistently. They would do well to consider a system like the one in the UK that basically places an age limit on the audience of movies based on the content. In the US system, until you get to the 'R' classification, there is no restriction at all. What's the point of a G, PG or PG-13 rating in that situation? They're all the same, a person of any age can watch a movie with any of these ratings without adult supervision. The only rating that means anything material is the 'R' classification.

Gregory Freeman
Gregory Freeman
11 years ago

but yet, even R rated flicks allow children inside "as long as a parent whom is over the age of 18 is buying the tickets, the age of the remaining participants is irrelevant" the exact words my manager told me at cineplex…

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Yes. The movie rating system is indeed broken.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

the ESRB is doing a great job, if theres any problem it lies in parents who don't pay attention to what they're buying for their kids. theres so many people that still think game = kid stuff, and forget the ratings system even exists.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I'm just glad it would never happen, our government could never get that legislation through, it would take decades.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

Let's hope so. They seem to be able to expedite BS faster than things that matter most.