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Mar 27, 2008

Comments

1.

Kudo's to Nick Yee btw.

"A recent survey suggested that 25% of players of massively multiplayer online role-playing games are under the age of 18, most players play with
somebody they know in real life, and that on average players spend 22 hours a week in the
environment."

Government reports citing your research is always going to be a feather in your cap :-)

David

2.

Honestly I have to laugh every time I hear a parent become outraged at violence or adult themed content in video games with 'mature' ratings. Its an adult dominated consumer market, yet there is this expectation that everything will be kid safe because they are 'games'.

Almost all the major retailers enforce the ESRB ratings per age restriction. What more are they going to do? Heck even AoC had problems with nipples in their game while shooting for a mature ratings because the ESRB are censorship-Nazis. Content in mature games couldn't get any more soft-core, and its all because of the fear that it's going to fall into hands of a younger audience. Its crap imo

Almost every cable and dsl provider offers some kind of parental control application as far as the internet is concerned. It really sounds like some kind of outreach needs to happen in order to educate parents and families.

3.

I agree with Adam on this one. What makes me curious though is that people are complaining about adult-themed -games-, but not about adult themed cartoons (Wikipedia link). Maybe they just didn't get that far, yet.

4.

@Adam
"Almost all the major retailers enforce the ESRB ratings per age restriction."

Erm no. The report is about the UK hence the statutory regulator for video games is the BBFC and the European voluntary system is PEGI; ESRB has nothing to do with this. However these traditionally do not apply to online content. Though PEGI has a new online system and BBFC is launching a trial one.

5.

Having read nearly all the report now I have been struck by the balance. It is by no means outraged parent stuff, nor totally libertarian.
Its main premise is that most parents have no idea how to guide themselves or their children in such an open and constantly changing environment.
It points out that we spend time helping children learn to swim or cross the road, because most people know the risks and rewards of the physical.
It makes a very good point that in being a risk averse society kids play outside less because parents are scared. Hence they go online more. When outside their development is around play, risk taking, exploring, developing relationships and a moral code. Many people have not realized just how much of that goes on through a screen.
I liked the non binary nature of the analysis, pointing out that positive and negative effects need to be taken in context with an individuals situation. A child in a violent real world environment will have violent games re-enforce the stereotypes. Another child may merely be able to explore and role play a different side to them with no ill effects. The key is to work with our kids to help them make sense, to be part of it.
For the most part readers of TN already are part of it, so they are th people who can understand and relate to the newest generation of players.
However this is really about helping those people that think we are still all playing pong or space invaders on our own in darkened rooms.

6.

The sad state of affairs in this whole mess is how hapless and ill-prepared, not to mention selfish, so many parents are when it comes to looking after their children.

Too many parents indulge in buying things their children ask for without examining them first or having the courage to say no and disappoint their offspring.

How any report can keep a straight face and bemoan the situation when the games have an age label on them, just as videos and dvds do is beyond me. It says 18 on the box, what possible reason would a parent have to believe it was suitable for their 8 year old?

Games are rated and labelled, if parents are too stupid too read, why does it have to be the fault of the industry and why do mature gamers wanting suitable mature content have to suffer from state nannying because parents can't fulfil their own responsibilities?

It doesn't matter if they're out of touch and think we all play pong - when you're buying "Hitman" with it's blood splattered cover and 18 rating on the box, such excuses are feeble.

7.

@Gallows-Bait I agree the madness of thinking that a game with an 18 and blood splattered clearly has to be wrong for youger kids.
It was not solely that though, there is the fact that a game itself can be rated low, but the actions of other in it when interacting online needs to be understood by parents too.
The report metnions this too, that just because a game is low rated its effective rating may change for a fraction of a second whilst someone swears their head off. Its this middle ground of awareness that is tougher to find ways to help people. There is no one age or one case or one label.
Lots of the focus has been on the game labelling, but its also focused on where people hang out and what they do there.

8.

I'm sorry, this is probably not in the right section, but has anyone noticed that there was a case decided in NY that will probably herald some form of virtual property rights? The court recognized a claim for conversion of electronic records and data. Case: Louis Thyroff v. Nationwide Mutual, 8 N.Y.3d 283 (2007). I'm only a student, but does anyone think this will lead to a legitmized RMT market?

9.

Ren, as the resident expert on these issues, I'm curious what *your* take on the report is? From what I've been able to understand, it seems reasonable and level-headed (a pleasant surprise and something I wouldn't have expected, though that may be a cynical approach)--however, after only reading summaries, and coming from America, I can't help but wonder if I'm missing something...

Any thoughts that might enlighten a curious Yankee?

10.

@Bonnie
I"m still reading it. I flew to NYC just after it was published so I'm reading chunks when I can.

Overall it seems to take a balanced view of things.

The areas that I'm looking for which I cant see in the report as yet, but which I think are important are:
1. what impact with this have on adults' ability to play in non-child friendly spaces


2. what note have they taken of content that is might be impacful in a way that many might see as negative but is not 'inappropriate' or directly 'harmful' - here i'm thinking of what role brand content has.

3. What happens to data, how it it mined etc.


As i noted in the previous post, I think the industry needs to get it's collective ass in gear over worlds aimed at kids. There needs to be some jointly agreed standard and people can choose to sigh up to that. We probably need three things:

- General industry representation body
- Mixed body to come up with standards people will sign up to - I'm going to try to do something on this front i think
- Body that reviews compliance with above standards

When I get through the report I might post some more specific stuff on these things.

Also as I'm at VW '08 in NYC I'll talk to people about it. If you are at the event feel free to grab me.

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