aNb Media News, March 11, 2013

Video Game Industry Announces Parent-Targeted Public Education Campaign

The U.S. video game industry announced a new national public education campaign to educate American parents about the tools and information available to manage entertainment choices for their families. The campaign’s focal point will be a new series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) encouraging parents to review the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) video game ratings and utilize existing video game console parental controls.

“This campaign will connect with consumers in an immediate and sustained way in addition to the traditional mechanisms over TV outlets. By channeling our industry’s compelling and innovative medium, we will instantly provide proven, practical, and effective information to millions of consumers,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the U.S. trade association representing video game publishers.

Every month, the video game industry says it has more than 300 million interactions with consumers through online storefronts and video game play. As a result, the industry will:

• Enhance public education efforts around video game ratings and parental controls by developing and funding a series of new PSAs;

• Utilize the interconnectivity and reach of the video game industry’s platforms to promote these public service messages and related content;

• Coordinate with video game retailers to use both their physical store footprints and dedicated online networks to educate millions of their customers about video game ratings and parental controls;

• Work with policy makers to extend the ESRB rating system to the broader games market of smart phones, tablets, and online social games;

• Support and partner with non-profits using video games for educational and other pro-social purposes.

The video game industry stated that they will accomplish these objectives by:

• Featuring new PSAs on video game platforms that will expand on the series already completed and available here;

• Providing consumers with information on video game-specific websites and online stores;

• Providing PSAs to video game industry news and fan discussion sites for use;

• Encouraging broadcast outlets to run the PSAs on local channels;

• Working with federal and state elected officials to provide rating and parental control information to their constituents;

• Distributing PSAs to retailers for use on their in-store and online channels.

“Our industry has a long-standing, high-quality track record of empowering parents,” said Gallagher. “The Federal Trade Commission described the ESRB as having the strongest self-regulatory code with regard to its marketing guidelines and enforcement system. Today we will build on that success.”

According to industry statistics, approximately half of American homes have at least one video game console. The industry says that every video game console has password-protected parental controls that allow parents to limit their children’s video game use. Each of those consoles, handheld devices, and PCs can be activated to block types of video games and restrict access to the internet.