The Instigator
ninak
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

Video game ratings should be revised

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
KRFournier
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2009 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,674 times Debate No: 7414
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

ninak

Pro

Plain and simple Video game ratings are a joke in the US. We should be using a ratings system closer to movies. The ESRB has full control on wether video games are violent and what games get published. The ratings system is as Follows.

EC - Early Childhood
E - Everyone
E10+ Everyone 10 and up
T - Teen 13 and up
M - Mature 17 and up
AO - Adult Only

Now let me mention that no console will allow an AO game on their system.
Now let me also point out that the age of the average gamer is 35 years old.
Why can we not make a decision for ourselves as to what we want to view?
KRFournier

Con

Being a long time video gamer myself and a father of children, I have a very different perspective on this subject. I am against this resolution and assert that the ESRB ratings should remain status quo.

A common complaint against ratings of any kind is that they censor content and indirectly limit consumer choice. However, ratings are in place precisely because the majority of consumers want them. In this case, the majority of consumers are parents. Without a rating system, concerned parents must research the content of video games independently, a task many parents are disinterested or ill equipped to perform. ESRB does this dirty work for them, summarizing the kind of content contained within games and allowing parents to make more informed decisions. Without such ratings, these consumers will begin to distrust the video game industry, a detriment to the industry as a whole. Without ratings, game developers are likely to avoid controversial content altogether to reestablish that trust and maintain a consistent market share.

ESRB ratings are not directly efficacious. The ESRB is voluntary and does not force any game to be withheld from the market. The fact that AO games are hard to come by is a result of free market forces. AO games do not make much money because stores won't sell them, so game developers don't make them. The stores, of course, are also responding to market forces, establishing consumer trust by eliminating content consumers generally find distasteful. If selling GTA4 causes concerned parents to reconsider ever shopping again at that store, you can be rest assured GTA4 will soon be taken off the shelves. If anyone is to blame for censorship, it's majority consumer opinion, not the ESRB.

In the end, we must remind ourselves that gaming is an industry, not a charity. Games are made for profit first and consumer enjoyment second. Of course, the consumer benefits in the process. As long as the ESRB remains trustworthy in their ratings, consumers will continue to buy into the video gaming market which in turn encourages competition and creativity in game content. If the ESRB ratings are removed, we risk a market full of Pokemons and Wii Musics, a cornucopia of safe games meant to win consumer trust.

The game industry is booming and those of us that grew up with 8-bit machines in their living room have the privilege of hi-def blockbuster gaming. We've gone from 2-player Super Mario Brothers to 32-player Team Fortress 2 matches. Yesterday gaming was a stigma, and now it's a professional sport. The industry has grown leaps and bounds, just like the movie industry. And like the movie industry, massive amounts of content must be somehow managed. Ratings have been effective for years in earning consumer trust, and they will continue to do so for years to come. Therefore, the resolution stands negated. Video game ratings should not be revised.
Debate Round No. 1
ninak

Pro

I can appreciate where you are coming from as a parent myself of 2 children. That I also do not want them to be corrupted by said video games. My entire point is however to change them to incorporate adults being able to choose which games we want to play and to not be censored by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. They are truly the ones to blame for not allowing AO game to come to fruition.
KRFournier

Con

It's true. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo do indeed have strict policies to prevent AO games from selling on their systems, but even if they change these policies, the retail chains would still have their anti-AO policies. [1] Currently, the need to maintain a family-friendly image is of more value to the industry. More to the point, it does not follow that a proper solution is to revise the ESRB ratings.

According to a Peter D. Hart study performed in March 2008, 86% of parents with children are aware of the rating system, and 59% of parents say they "never" allow their children to play M rated games. [2] Furthermore, 82% of parents agree with the accuracy of the ratings whereas a paltry 5% think they are too strict. [3] Finally, the number of mature games have fallen 50% since 2005. [4] All signs point to a large consumer base that invests primarily in family-friendly content. It would be entrepreneurial suicide to neglect them.

Why change a rating system that has 82% approval, especially when that approval comes from such a large market? This is why console makers disapprove of AO rated games and why retailers won't sell them. It's taken years to gain consumer trust, and it would kill the industry if that trust were destroyed. The ESRB rating system can only be changed for the worst. If we start allowing AO content into M-rated games, the consumers will cry foul (as they did with GTA's Hot Coffee mod) and the industry loses trust. If we eliminate the ESRB ratings, then the consumers will turn to unofficial content rating systems, eventually putting something else in its place. In short, the rating system is not the problem not is changing it the solution.

So, I must stand firm in opposing the resolution. Video game ratings should not be revised.

SOURCES:
[1] Can't Touch This: AO Rated Games: http://www.splegends.com...
[2] ESRB FAQ: http://www.esrb.org...
[3] ESRB 2005 Study: http://www.esrb.org...
[4] Number of M-rated Games Down: http://www.splegends.com...
Debate Round No. 2
ninak

Pro

ninak forfeited this round.
KRFournier

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent did not show up for the final round. Therefore, my arguments remain unanswered. I showed that the rating system is fine just as it is. It garners consumer trust, which is vital for the industry to thrive. The resolution is negated. Video game ratings should not be revised.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Round 2, Paragraph 3, Last Sentence should read, "In short, the rating system is not the problem nor is changing it the solution."
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by The_Booner 8 years ago
The_Booner
ninakKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by RacH3ll3 8 years ago
RacH3ll3
ninakKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
ninakKRFournierTied
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Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
ninakKRFournierTied
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