ESRB Launches Ratings Awareness Campaign

By Nick Breckon, May 31, 2007 1:54pm PDT The Entertainment Software Ratings Board today announced a new effort to educate consumers on its rating system that will see the distribution of informational signs to retailers across the country. Ten thousand independent and small chain retailers will be receiving the signs, which are intended to alert customers of the ESRB's stance on the sale or rental of Mature-rated video games to minors.

"OK To Play? Check the ratings," the signs read, along with a notice that the retailer may require a photo ID from customers before allowing the purchase of M-rated titles. The notices will be distributed inside the May 28th issue of IngramÂ’s Entertainment Preview magazine. The campaign coincides with the Entertainment Merchants Association's newly announced "Entertainment Ratings & Labeling Awareness Month," which will extend through the month of June.

"Indie retailers are a vibrant and significant part of the video game market, tending to offer a neighborhood environment that endears them to their customers," said Bob Geistman of Ingram Entertainment, who has written a letter in support of the ESRB that will accompany the materials. "Providing this signage to these thousands of stores will undoubtedly help foster that unique and personal relationship by enabling stores to offer their customers information that is vital to the way they buy and rent games."

The ESRB recently began the practice of hiring full-time employees in an effort to increase the organization's effectiveness in the face of increasing pressure from lawmakers to regulate the industry. Shortly after that announcement, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report in April that found the ESRB ratings scale to be more effective than ever. The study claimed that 87% of parents were aware of the ESRB rating system, and that over 70% used it when deciding to purchase a game for their children.

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