PR Firm Says Video Games Should Be Regulated... After Video Game Lobby Picks Different Vendor

from the don't-mess-with-hill-&-knowlton dept

It's a competitive business world out there and sometimes you don't get the clients that you want. But, should you take revenge on companies that opt not to use your services? Apparently that's what PR firm Hill & Knowlton did (though the firm denies it). The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the lobbying group for the video game industry, went searching for a PR firm recently. H&K had competed for the business, and as a part of that, conducted a survey about video games to aid in its presentation. The ESA chose to go with a different firm... and H&K then released parts of the study that painted the video game industry in a negative light in what certainly looks like retribution. The firm put out a press release announcing "60% of respondents agree that the government should regulate the sale of video games," which is exactly the opposite message the ESA wants out there, of course. The actual study had some other conclusions that fit more with the ESA's message, but H&K chose to highlight the exact message that the ESA has been fighting against. In fact, the whole press release pushes the idea that the industry should be regulated, completely skipping over the other parts of the study.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    FUSE5K, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 8:27am

    games should be regulated

    I think games should be regulated, but in the same way as movies..

    although the system for movies doesnt completely stop people from seein movies that were not intended for their age range, it stops them from buying them.

    there's no way i think a 10 year old kid should be able to buy a game like GTA.

    but other than that, leave the games industry alone...

     

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  2.  
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    Overcast, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    Regulate corporate stupidity maybe?

    Just a thought....

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 8:34am

    haha, pwned!

     

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  4.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 12th, 2007 @ 8:53am

    Re #1 Fuse

    Correct me if I am wrong (this goes to everybody) but aren't store clerks NOT supposed to sell M rated games to minors? The same way R rated movies aren't supposed to.
    So, it already is regulated just as much as movies eh?
    The problem is that the clerks don't check ID cards of any sort and sell it anyways.
    Unless you go to GameStop (at least the ones around here). All of them card everybody I see go through the line except those that are Obviously parents and about 40+ yrs old.

     

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  5.  
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    Michael Brutsch, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 8:59am

    Free market!

    That'll teach the ESA, huh?

     

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  6.  
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    Gunnar, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 9:07am

    Re: games should be regulated

    Games are regulated in the same way as movies.

    It's not the industry's fault that the people selling games are 17 years old, make a dollar over minimum wage and see no problem selling M games to kids slightly younger than themselves.

    The games have warnings on them. Clear, easy to understand warnings. How much clearer could Mature and Adults Only be? Just because the ratings don't come from a group of secretive puritans doesn't mean they're worthless.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 9:08am

    Pfff. The only people who shouldn't be getting violent video games are young kids, and in that case it's the parents job. Which is a fairly easy job, i.e., "Don't purchase that game for your child" or if you buy the game yourself, "keep it away from them".

    That the simplicity of this system seems to go completely ignored is terrifying to me.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 9:11am

    Point?

    And your point is...

    Games should be free like music. I got it.

     

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  9.  
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    TheDock22, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: games should be regulated

    Games are regulated in the same way as movies.

    It's not the industry's fault that the people selling games are 17 years old, make a dollar over minimum wage and see no problem selling M games to kids slightly younger than themselves.


    I was under the impression that it was mostly up to stores to enforce the sale of the game. So if a store sells an M game to a child, they couldn't be fined for doing so (not like selling a rate R movie to a minor).

     

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  10.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re #1 Fuse

    Just purely FYI

    The ESRB is not a government body. The second the government starts even rating games it becomes a first amendment issue. The ESRB is an organisation crated by game developers for the benefit of the parents. It is the store's choice to sell or not sell M or AO rated games to individuals under 18 years of age. Most stores have a policy that they will not and an employee will be fired if they do. Movies are rated the same way by an organisation that is not controlled by the government.

    So your correct but only if the company has a policy not to.

     

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  11.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 12th, 2007 @ 9:39am

    Re: games should be regulated

    I think games should be regulated, but in the same way as movies..

    Movies are not regulated. It's a voluntary system. Games also have a voluntary system, but it's not followed very well.

     

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  12.  
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    simplicity, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 9:41am

    why bother regulate the industry

    parents should just own up and manage what their kids are doing. nothing else 2 it, why should any government have 2 babysit for every bluddy issue.

     

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  13.  
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    Chris Brand, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 10:15am

    Value of info from those PR firms

    So this firm was hoping to be paid to send the message that the games industry shouldn't be regulated, and instead turned around with "evidence" showing that they should.

    To me, the real message here is that everyone should ignore any "evidence" from any of these PR firms. Now, how do we convince politicians of that ?

     

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  14.  
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    Hulser, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 10:15am

    Shopping for the "right" results

    I don't think that the government should regulate video games. The ESRB is doing fine job. But I don't think it's right that an organization goes around to different PR firms until they get the "right" survey results. What does it do to the credibility of all other reports if you hear about a case where someone just shopped around until they got the answer they wanted?

    I don't know anything about this PR firm, but another way to spin this story would be that they did the public a service by exposing a flaw in a system that allows for results shopping.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: games should be regulated

    The enforcement of not letting minors into R-rated movies is purely voluntary on the part of the theatre or movie rental service as well

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Informed, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 10:25am

    Re: games should be regulated

    Games ARE regulated.

    A 10 year old is NOT allowed to buy a game like GTA.

    People are *so* uninformed!

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 10:26am

    Re: Value of info from those PR firms

    Now, how do we convince politicians of that ?
    Pay them, of course

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 10:37am

    I bought GTA when I was 10. 10 year olds ARE allowed to buy those games if they know what store to go to.

    And I think everyone is right, it's the parents deal to watch their kids. Parents are so lazy know adays I think they have issues remembering their children's names. Take for instance the new most popular toy, a bear that reads books to children. and teaches them to read. You don't have to do anything with your kids anymore. Then they get all pissed when something goes wrong.

    Regulate parents.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 10:58am

    Are you a bunch of Republicans? Our next president once said "it takes a village" and she was right.

     

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  20.  
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    JDigital, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 11:03am

    Leave it to a freaking Clinton supporter to make every single fucking issue into a political one, and you wonder why people laugh at you.

     

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  21.  
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    Apennismightier, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 11:07am

    They are regulated

    Hey video games ARE regulated. You know the little black box in the corner that has either T for Teen or M for Mature or whatever else they use for other age groups the game is regulated for? How else could the regulate a game other than by age of who they think it's appropriate for? Sure, no stores or ill informed parents listen to those ratings, much like most dont listen to the R rating in movies when it comes to kids. So what's the big deal?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Jaded, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 11:46am

    Strikes Again!

    Its a fairly typical tactic from these guys. My Dad worked for them for years but suddenly found himself jobless when he was within months of retirement. Eventually, this stuff will earn them the business they deserve.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 11:51am

    Re: Free market!

    That'll teach the ESA, huh?

    Yeah, the lesson is make sure that Hill & Knowlton has been removed from your (short or otherwise) list of PR firms.

     

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  24.  
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    Steve, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 12:55pm

    Um.......games are regulated. Thats why they have ratings on them. If you play a game for which you are too young to play, how is the game producer responsible?

     

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  25.  
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    Erik, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 1:14pm

    Nothing like a little selective data to back up your revenge ploy. I'll just H&K to my little black book of companies I'd never hire for services.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    iHoarder, Dec 12th, 2007 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Point?

    They already are. In fact, EVERYTHING is now free!

    Jeesh, where have you been?

     

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  27.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 12th, 2007 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: games should be regulated

    Games ARE regulated.

    No, they are not.

    A 10 year old is NOT allowed to buy a game like GTA.

    No. There is a voluntary system, that stores are free to ignore (many of them do). There is no law against selling a 10 year old GTA.

    People are *so* uninformed!

    In this case, it would appear to be you that is uninformed.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 12th, 2007 @ 4:10pm

    Re: They are regulated

    Hey video games ARE regulated.

    No, they are not.

    You know the little black box in the corner that has either T for Teen or M for Mature or whatever else they use for other age groups the game is regulated for?

    Yes, I am quite aware of those boxes. However, that is an voluntary industry agreement, that no needs to obey. It is not a law. It is not a regulation. It's simply a voluntary system that there is no penalty for if not followed.

    Sure, no stores or ill informed parents listen to those ratings, much like most dont listen to the R rating in movies when it comes to kids. So what's the big deal?

    The "big deal" is that it's a violation of free speech to regulate who can buy the games. Every time a local gov't has passed a law, it's been thrown out as unconstitutional.

     

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  29.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 12th, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    Um.......games are regulated.

    Um....... no they are not.

    Thats why they have ratings on them.

    No. The ratings are a voluntary system set up by the industry. They are not a regulation.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 7:47am

    Re: Shopping for the "right" results

    But I don't think it's right that an organization goes around to different PR firms until they get the "right" survey results.

    Granted that would be intellectually dishonest (although many companies in many different sectors do that), but that's not what happened here: the ESA was looking for a PR firm, and obviously the smart thing to do is contact and listen to several to see which one is (or at least seems) most promising/capable. The ESA didn't ask the PR companies to do a survey, H&K did that on their own, it was their decision as they hoped it would help them land the account. They didn't get the account because the ESA liked another firm better, it had nothing to do with the survey, after all, it's not like just because H&K did the survey, that the survey would have to be used in any campaign or in any way, shape or for, if the ESA had decided to go with H&K

    Even without reading the original article and just reading Mike's summary, how is this not clear???

     

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


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