Oklahoma Politician Swaps Sides to Support ESRB, Others Offer Suggestions

Officially halted in September after more than a year of court battles brought on by the Entertainment Software Association, the Oklahoma bill equating games to porn was originally authored by Rep. Fred Morgan (D-Oklahoma City) and Sen. Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City). In an interesting twist, Coffee has returned to the spotlight in the games industry, this time on the side of the ESA.

Coffee has created a public service announcement endorsing the Entertainment Software Rating Board's ratings system, the ESRB announced yesterday. "ESRB ratings are an effective and informative resource that allows parents to decide if the video game their child wants is appropriate," Coffee said in a statement. "I'm proud to be educating parents in our state about the tools at their disposal."

Coffee's PSA will air on Oklahoma television channels and radio stations this month. ESRB president Patricia Vance said the board appreciates Coffee's collaboration, and the announcement unsurprisingly made no reference to the senator's previously opposing standpoint.

Coffee's pro-ESRB stance is certainly not indicative of other policy-makers' views, and some U.S. congressmen have come forward today to make a request concerning the board's practices. Congressmen Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) sent a letter to the ESRB asking for the board to make publishers' video submissions of gameplay available for public viewing online.

For a game to be rated, the ESRB requires game publishers to send videos of possibly objectionable content from the title. The politicians want the publishers' submitted videos for all games rated T for Teen or higher to be available online.

"We believe that posting comprehensive clips of T-rated games and higher online is advantageous for both consumers and the ESRB," the congressmen said in a letter acquired by Gamespot. "The public will be more accurately informed of the substance of games before making purchasing decisions, and the rating process of the ESRB will be brought to light and given more credibility."