Video game ratings are widely enforced in stores, FTC finds

The video game industry has responded to increased scrutiny in Washington by launching a campaign to educate parents about their voluntary ratings system, which gauges the amount of violence and sexual content in a game. Most retailers refuse to sell M-rated titles to people under the age of 17 without a parent’s consent. 


The compliance rate for video games was by far the highest in the entertainment industry. In the 2000 survey, by contrast, 85 percent of young shoppers told the FTC they were able to buy an M-rated game.

“We applaud video game retailers for once again demonstrating our industry’s ongoing commitment to parents," said Patricia Vance, the president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). "Enforcement of video game sales policies continues to be substantially higher than that for any other entertainment industry."

This year’s survey also found record enforcement of age restrictions at movie theaters. Still, nearly a quarter of unaccompanied minors were able to get into R-rated movies, down from 46 percent in 2000.

Less than 50 percent of underage shoppers were able to purchase CDs with explicit content or R-rated or “unrated” DVDs that can contain risqué material. 

This post was updated at 3:30 p.m. to include a statement from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.