Do game ratings really have any impact on consumers?

August 10, 2016  
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With Call Of Duty: Ghosts and Grand Theft Auto being currently enjoyed by millions of gamers all round, many of whom are younger than the recommended age. It got me thinking about the age rating system that video games have and how it really is not let's just say, "respected" as the movie age rating system is.

Now I am from the UK, but most countries do have a similar age rating system when it comes to video games. I grew up in the 80's so video games have pretty much been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I vividly remember having to get my dad to go to the counter to buy Mortal Kombat II when it was first released as here in the UK you had to be 15. My dad did not bat an eye lid. His generation did not have video games like this. To him it was just a "dumb" video game and I am not sure he knew why he had to be the one to buy it from the store. The generation my dad was from just saw video games as some kind of toy.

But now in 2013 where some of us gamers now have kids of our own who play video games the video game age rating system seems to have not much more of an impact than it did back then. Yes, the games themselves have larger age ratings on the front of the box. Going back to Mortal Kombat II, that age rating was hidden on the back of the box. Whereas now a game like Call Of Duty will have a big 18 (or whatever your countries alternative is) sticker on the front of the box. Retailers are much more strict now when it comes to selling games to minors, but they do still slip through the cracks. As there was countless stories of kids being able to go into stores and picking up a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. This though is down to educating the people who work in these stores more than anything else.

Now in 2013 I feel that it is up to the parents more than anything else to regulate what their kids are playing. I am not a person to tell someone else how to raise their kids, but no child of say 12 years old should be playing Grand Theft Auto V or Call Of Duty. In terms of Call Of Duty for me as a 31 year old guy I should be able to play a game that is aimed at adults online without having to deal with kids who should not be playing the game anyway. And yes I am aware of how hypocritical it is of me, the guy who got his dad to buy him Mortal Kombat II to be saying this.

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I do not think that the game companies really care about who buys there game. After all a sale is a sale and if a mom wants to buy her 13 year old son Grand Theft Auto then that is her decision. But one thing that is odd is the way that some of these mature rated games are clearly aimed at kids. There is a Call Of Duty commercial for example that actually has a kid talking about how amazing the game is. If the game is rated mature why do you have a kid talking about it in the commercial?

At the end of the day it's down to the parents if they want to buy a game that is clearly inappropriate for their kids. What bugs me is when a parent buys a game like Grand Theft Auto V for her kid and then has the nerve to complain about its content.

 

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