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Movie Mom

Game Makers Push for Consistent Ratings on Multiple Platforms

posted by Nell Minow

Television has parental guidance ratings that go from TV-Y (all audiences) to TV-MA (mature audiences).  Movies have the MPAA rating system, from G to NC-17.  The recording industry has a parental advisory label. Games are rated EC (early childhood) to A (adults only).  All of these ratings have problems — for one reason, they are all imposed by the industry itself, which creates conflicts of interest.  The procedures and criteria should be more transparent.  And it is confusing to have so many different standards.But there was good news this week when John Riccitiello, the head of Electronic Arts, made a presentation to top government officials calling for a significant improvement in game ratings — consistency across all platforms. When the ratings were developed, games were played on computers and stand-alone devices. Now they are played on a much wider range of options including smartphones and social media. “We must move beyond the alphabet soup of game ratings and consolidate behind a single standard that consumers will recognize and, ultimately, demand,” he said.  A good step in the right direction.

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