Yesterday, New York Attorney General - and gubernatorial candidate - Eliot Spitzer (left) made headlines with a call for video game legislation as well as a universal rating system which would cover games, movies, television and music.
In the wake of Spitzer's criticism, the video game industry has been swift to react. The first game-oriented site to report the Spitzer story yesterday, GamePolitics brings readers industry reaction today.
ESRB president Patricia Vance, whose organization came under fire from Spitzer, said, "ESRB ratings are clear as day on the front and back of virtually every video game sold nationwide, and they provide consumers with useful and easy to understand information with which to decide about whether they consider a game appropriate for their family. Consumer research shows that 74% of parents with children who play video games are regularly using the ESRB ratings... We would be happy to provide information about our ratings to Mr. Spitzer, and hope we can find ways to cooperatively ensure that children play age-appropriate games, as we have done with other Attorneys General around the country."
Over at the ESA, Doug Lowenstein had this to say:
"The (ESA) sincerely appreciates and respects the concerns of Attorney General Spitzer. A uniform rating system is a good idea in principle. But there are practical problems involved with applying the same standards to fundamentally different media that make realization of this ideal immensely challenging... By imposing a 'one size fits all' formula on these widely divergent entertainment mediums, a universal ratings system could actually create confusion, not simplicity. We would also point out that any universal rating regime would require the support of many other industries... making this an issue that transcends whatever views ESA may have."
"With respect to his call for 'safe games' legislation, six courts have blocked or struck down such laws in five states and, notably, all have resoundingly rejected the unpersuasive claims made by states that violent video games cause aggression. If Attorney General Spitzer is elected, we would look forward to working cooperatively and constructively with him, as we have with others, to pursue constitutionally sound alternatives that empower parents to make whatever choices they feel are best for their families."
And finally, Bo Andersen, president of the VSDA, said:
"Attorney General Spitzer's comments remind video game retailers once again that that every retailer must be proactive in responding to the concerns of parents over the content of certain video games...
VSDA provides tools for retailers to do this and actively encourages retailers to utilize them and every retailer should make this their pledge to parents. We note, however, that the Attorney General's call for legal sanctions against retailers is apparently based on misunderstandings about what retailers are doing currently."
"Regarding Attorney General Spitzer's assertion the video game industry has failed to regulate itself, the latest findings of the Federal Trade Commission on the ability of minors to purchase Mature-rated video games shows a substantial increase in self-regulation, particularly by major retailers..."
"Concerning the Attorney General's call for signage on video game ratings in retail establishments, the most recent survey of retailer signage conducted by the (ESRB)... found that eight in ten stores (79%) had signs explaining the video game rating system... Passing another unconstitutional law will do nothing to help parents control the video games their children play."