ESRB unsure if consumer awareness can be increased

By Brenna Hillier, Wednesday, 13 February 2013 21:45 GMT

The Electronic Software ratings Board, the US’s primary games classification service, is concerned it can’t do much more to inform parents and guardians about video game content.

“We have seen a fairly stable percentage of parents in terms of awareness and use in the last several years. I don’t know how much higher we’re going to be able to push that,” ESRB president Patricia Vance told GamesIndustry at DICE Summit 2013.

“We’re now at about 85% awareness among parents with kids who play video games, and 70% say they use them all the time or most of the time.”

Vance said the only way she expects to see parental awareness raise any higher is as gamers who grew up with the system raise kids of their own, but these informed gamers are less likely to actually need the system.

Nevertheless, the ESRB isn’t giving up.

“We still do a lot on the consumer outreach side, and we’re going to continue to do that. We’ll never stop,” she said.

“I don’t see us backing off despite high awareness and use levels. It’s part of who we are.”

The ESRB aims to provide caregivers with an idea of what kind of content a game contains and how age-appropriate it is. Its recommendations are not enforced at retail and game producers voluntarily take part in the process, although there are political advocates for making it mandatory.

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