Fewer Kids Buying Adult Games; But Don't Expect The Press To Tell You That

from the say-what-now? dept

Matt writes in to point out that the FTC has released a study about the film and video game industry's ability to self-regulate when it comes to minors purchasing adult content. The report shows a very positive trend, in the video game space, where the number of children buying "M" rated games has been cut in half since 2000. However, as Matt points out, that doesn't make for interesting headlines. Instead, folks like the NY Times come up with the following headline: Report Says the Young Buy Violent Games and Movies. Matt says: "Given video games' prominent place in the headline, one would assume that the article would cover the report's findings on video game sales to minors. However, the nearly 1000-word article devotes only 3 lines to those findings. The rest of the article covers the report's findings on the film industry, which fared much worse in the FTC study."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mitch the Bitch, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 8:59pm

    It's the NYT's. Anyone that reads that rag deserves the propaganda.

     

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  2.  
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    Alex, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 9:05pm

    No kidding...

    With cool new gaming developments on under "M" ratings, who needs to buy "Mature" games.

    For instance, I give you the Wii. At least 9/10 people will tell you that the Wii is amazing (or that they really want to try it), yet I doubt Wii has many (if any) "Mature" titles.

    Plus.. games like GTA are just becoming BORING now.

     

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  3.  
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    Chris, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 9:18pm

    Yeah!

    I'd rather play something like duck hunt on the wii than gta on the ps2

     

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  4.  
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    johndm, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 10:14pm

    I know they'll just get their parents or older siblings to get them, but why do they not have laws on M rated game sales?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 12:18am

    John, they do have laws on M rated game sales, they state that no game with such a rating can be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Or are you asking why aren't there laws for M rated games like there are for alcohol, in which case if given to a minor, the purchasing party can be held accountable? IF that's the case, the answer is because the parents who buy the game for their kid are approving of the material in in, just like it's not illegal for them to take their kids to R rated movies.

     

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  6.  
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    Chris, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 12:27am

    be curious to know...

    The problem with stuides in regards to commodities such as video games is that focus on a very narrow spectrum of variables. Sure sales amongst minors may have been cut in half, but that's probably because the games aren't available to them. I'd be interested to know if sales overall have gone up or down, but even then overall sales are more likely going to be affected by what the games have to offer. Newer consoles and better hardware are going to create games that take advantage of the raw power systems can now put out. In turn this probably means more bloodshed for your fps, or shooter type of games, adding to the overall appeal of the genre. To me it would only seem naturaly, that without a photo ID, any game restricted to people over 18 is pretty much only going to be sold to people over 18, and not to minors. Thus any study about the issue would reflect just that. The real question is how many kids still play these games, and what percentage of them just download them instead.

     

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  7.  
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    dorpus, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 1:55am

    Techdirt's Hypocrisy

    If, as Mike contends, video games have no impact whatsoever on violence, then it should make no difference what kind of games kids buy. But now he is proud that kids are buying fewer violent games.

     

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  8.  
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    MadJo (profile), Apr 14th, 2007 @ 3:08am

    Re: Techdirt's Hypocrisy

    There are of course limits! No, there is no real proof that violent games can make you violent, but that does not mean that kids *should* play them.
    If a game is rated 16+, should your 8yo then be able to buy that game. Of course not! And it's good news that this report points out that less kids buy games that are not suitable for their age-group.

    Please use some common sense...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 3:48am

    less purchases, cos they download the game. saves getting out of the house...

     

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  10.  
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    Moogle, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 4:58am

    Re: Techdirt's Hypocrisy

    Hah, nice irony, complaining about press hypocrisy in an article about press hypocrisy. +1 troll :)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 5:32am

    yay for trolls -_-

     

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  12.  
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    Urza, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 11:29am

    Two things:
    "If, as Mike contends, video games have no impact whatsoever on violence, then it should make no difference what kind of games kids buy. But now he is proud that kids are buying fewer violent games."

    He's not saying it's good or bad that kids are buying them less. He's saying the mainstream press is acting like the numbers are increasing when they're actually decreasing.

    "If a game is rated 16+, should your 8yo then be able to buy that game. Of course not!"

    I dunno...I started playing 'Teen' rated games when I was 6 years old, with the original 'Command and Conquer'. Didn't hurt me any. In fact, I've got a 4.3 GPA this year and next year, as a high-school senior, I'm gonna be taking a few classes at the local college. And I credit that mostly to those games. Starts with editing rules.ini, ends up editing fstab.

     

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  13.  
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    Matt, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    "John, they do have laws on M rated game sales, they state that no game with such a rating can be sold to anyone under the age of 18."

    Actually they don't. Such laws have been introduced in various states and they have all been struck down as unconstitutional. That was the whole point of the FTC's study, to determine how well the industry is self regulating itself.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 1:24pm

    I'm about to do something extremely geeky, and quote a comic book.

    Cyclops from Astonishing X-Men #7: "The news isn't there to tell you what happened. It's there to tell you what it wants you to hear, or what it thinks you want to hear. They already have their stories worked out. They just wait for events to fill in the blanks. When they don't fit, they get sidelined or twisted until they do."

    I think there is a lot of truth there.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 3:46pm

    Re: to Matt

    Then how come Best Buy Target Wal-Mart GameStop EB Games Software ETC and Staples won't sell me anything rated "M" without a photo ID?

     

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  16.  
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    Ragaboo, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 4:30pm

    Re: to Matt

    Because they willingly comply with the ratings system to ensure that they don't have to stop selling profitable games. If they enforce the rules, parents won't mind letting their "corruptable" children shop there AND video came companies can continue to make the top selling hack/slash/sexfest games that sell the best.

    FYI, as far as I know, the movie industy's rating system is the same way. No laws there (because they would be unconstitutional), they just willingly comply so "everyone" is happy. Media industries understand that it's best for everyone to self regulate than get the law involved.

     

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  17.  
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    Old School, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Yeah!

    Duck Hunt? Come on, go classic, go Pong.

     

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  18.  
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    Norman619, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 11:01pm

    Re: No kidding...

    "With cool new gaming developments on under "M" ratings, who needs to buy "Mature" games.

    For instance, I give you the Wii. At least 9/10 people will tell you that the Wii is amazing (or that they really want to try it), yet I doubt Wii has many (if any) "Mature" titles.

    Plus.. games like GTA are just becoming BORING now."



    LOL!!! The Wii amazing? That must be why no one I know is least bit interested in it. LOL!!! Sure it's "amazing" IF you like games made for people with very short attention spans and kids.

    Games like GTA boring? THAT must be why they sell so well... Maybe we should call you Captain Obvious? Or maybe not. ;-) Could you any more like a Wii fanboy?

     

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  19.  
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    Norman619, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 11:06pm

    Re:

    "John, they do have laws on M rated game sales, they state that no game with such a rating can be sold to anyone under the age of 18."

    Sorry but no there isn't. The video game rating system is VOLUNTARY same as the motion picture rating system. It's not illegal for a someone younger than 17 to go see an NC17 rated film. It's up to the movie theaters to enforce the rating. Much like it's up to the retailers to enforc the videogame rating system.

     

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  20.  
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    Matt, Apr 15th, 2007 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: to Matt

    "Then how come Best Buy Target Wal-Mart GameStop EB Games Software ETC and Staples won't sell me anything rated "M" without a photo ID?"

    That's a corporate policy, not a government law. Stores like those enact those policies to comply with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board's policies. These groups do this because they know that if they don't control the sale of violent games to minors, the government will try to step in and do it for them; it's the same situation with the MPAA and their ratings boards. As I said before, the FTC report was intended to measure how well these companies are succeeding at this on their own.

     

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  21.  
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    Sean, Apr 15th, 2007 @ 7:01am

    Re:

    Mitch, dismissing a newspaper read across the country isn't a very strong argument. All you did with your comment is prove you have a pre-existing bias against it rendering your opinion meaningless. If you were so concerned with journalistic integrity, you'd have presented an argument backed up by facts.

    I think the headline is misleading as well, but I won't use an ad-hominem attack to try to prove it.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2007 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: to Matt

    So i guess the real result is that the industry seems to be able to police itself.

    Regardless of where they get their "source" if all they are looking to verify is that the ratings are having n affect, then fine.

     

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  23.  
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    Alex, Apr 15th, 2007 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re: No kidding...

    Thats hilarious, because around here, everybody serious wants one or has one. No, I'm not a Wii fanboy. I AM a Nintendo fanboy though. They've always been the best console- except for the gamecube.. that was way off mark.. glad I didn't buy one.. heheheheh...

    And yes. GTA is soooo boring. Once you beat its lame. And I mean REALLY lame.

    And it'd be f'ing awesome if you called me Captain Obvious. I've always wanted to be a Captain. Do I get a ship?

    /end sarcasm

    Dumbass.

     

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  24.  
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    B, Apr 15th, 2007 @ 10:01pm

    Piracy

    I'm willing to bet piracy is a big cause. Quite a few of the kids who play "M" rated games probably know more about piracy then the casual gaming kid who only plays Madden 2007 (this is simply my guess of course, a speculation).

    "With cool new gaming developments on under 'M' ratings, who needs to buy 'Mature' games. For instance, I give you the Wii. At least 9/10 people will tell you that the Wii is amazing (or that they really want to try it), yet I doubt Wii has many (if any) 'Mature' titles. Plus.. games like GTA are just becoming BORING now."

    LOL!!! The Wii amazing? That must be why no one I know is least bit interested in it. LOL!!! Sure it's "amazing" IF you like games made for people with very short attention spans and kids. Games like GTA boring? THAT must be why they sell so well... Maybe we should call you Captain Obvious? Or maybe not. ;-) Could you any more like a Wii fanboy?


    All I have to say to that is "wow." My little brother (who has a very short attention span) finds more enjoyment in GTA then any Wii game he's ever touched. Even worse, you're called him Captain Obvious. GTA has probably sold so well (in comparison to the Wii) because (a) it's been in the market longer and (b) it has a price tag much less then $400, not to mention it is on 3 different platforms and "piratable" (that's not even a word).
    Oh, Norman619, if you used less "LOL"s in your sentances you wouldn't come off as such a moron. Just a tip.
    -B

     

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  25.  
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    EMNG, Apr 15th, 2007 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Techdirt's Hypocrisy

    That's off the point. Even if the games don't make the kids violent there is content that they shouldnt be handling at young age.

     

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  26.  
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    B, Apr 16th, 2007 @ 12:50am

    Desensitization...

    "M" games and movies desensitize children to violence and sex. Their younger minds get used to the images of blood, death and it twists the perspective and reaction to violent events.
    I'm not sure what outcome this will have though...
    What happens to desensitized children?
    -B

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Hi., Apr 16th, 2007 @ 7:03am

    What does this mean?

    Could this be because children are buying more games online, through online stores and E-bay?

    Or because their parents are buying the games for them?

    I don't like violent/gross video games, but I figure adults can play whatever they want. And if we don't want kids to play them, it's up to their parents to take the time to stop for FIVE MINUTES and watch what their kids are playing.

     

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  28.  
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    Matt, Apr 16th, 2007 @ 2:32pm

    Comments

    I'm a little disappointed by the comments here. Everyone seems to have fallen into the same old trap debating whether or not violent games are good for children. If you're one of those people, you're missing the point of the story, which is that the New York Times knowingly misrepresented a government study in their headline. They spun the facts for no other reason than that they didn't meet either their, or their reader's, pre-conceived notions about something. This isn't a story about video games or violence or censorship. It's a story about piss poor and/or corrupt journalism.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2007 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Comments

    Ehem...

    Quothe me earlier: "I'm about to do something extremely geeky, and quote a comic book.

    Cyclops from Astonishing X-Men #7: "The news isn't there to tell you what happened. It's there to tell you what it wants you to hear, or what it thinks you want to hear. They already have their stories worked out. They just wait for events to fill in the blanks. When they don't fit, they get sidelined or twisted until they do."

    I think there is a lot of truth there."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    lil dave, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:55am

    Re: No kidding...

    well fucking play final fanstany that game will never get boring

     

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