- August 29, 2007

Yee: What is ESRB Trying to Hide?

Included in GameSpot’s coverage of the Manhunt 2 political fallout are strong words from California State Senator Leland Yee concerning the re-rating of the controversial game:

What are they trying to hide? Unsurprisingly, the culture of secrecy continues at the ESRB.

Even individuals within the video game industry are now calling into question their rating system. Parents simply can not trust an entity that is unwilling to disclose or give any meaningful rationale at how they come to their decisions.

The ESRB refuses to use the AO rating for violence despite the descriptor calling for such a rating when there are “graphic depictions of violence.” If Manhunt doesn’t qualify, what would?

Combined with the use of the ambiguous term “Mature,” many parents are left with a false sense of how violent an M-rated game may be; and obviously even many retailers as the Federal Trade Commission secret shopper study suggests. Using the numbers generated by the FTC, 42 out of 100 kids who want to purchase Manhunt 2 will be able to do so.

When weighing in on laws to prohibit the sale of ultra-violent video games to children, the industry has said over and over, “trust us; our rating system will protect children.” This latest episode demonstrates once again that the ESRB in fact can not be trusted.

Yee, of course, was the driving force behind California’s 2005 video game law, recently declared unconstitutional by a federal court judge.

GP: Presumably for space reasons, GameSpot edited Yee’s remarks. We’ve published the entire statement, which came to us from Sen. Yee’s office.

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