Gamasutra has a piece on a study conducted on behalf of the ESRB that concludes awareness of the ESRB rating system has been going up over the last year. It showed that 90 percent of American parents with gamer children were aware of the ratings system and that 85 percent of that same group regularly consult the system when choosing games for their family. These new numbers show a roughly 10 percent rise since the same study was conducted last year.
While the study (being all science-y and whatnot) fails to posit any hypotheses as to why awareness has been rising, I can’t help but notice a correlation between the number of high profile gaming-related media events in the last year, and the rise in awareness regarding the ESRB system.
These events are the same ones in which people like Jack Thompson, Bill O’Reilly and Joe Liebermann decry the lack of a reputable ratings systems for gaming, and claim (apparently incorrectly) that the systems in place are being purposefully obfuscated (possibly by the devil, or commies) to trick parents into buying games that will send their precious children into a downward spiral of drugs, anal sex and murder.
The real irony here is that it seems the more they whine about the situation, the more parents will look into these ratings, and eventually, their argument will have become completely self-defeating. Left with a complete lack of ammunition on which to build careers, these pundits and politicos will no doubt turn to the only venue in which they can gain the attention they once had, and will take to assaulting schools with automatic weapons.
That, children, is the circle of life.