US trade body the Entertainment Software Association has applauded Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo for taking the decision to include parental controls in the next-generation of console hardware.
The ESA, which exists to campaign for the protection of publishers, developers and retailers and has fought tirelessly in the continuing violent videogames debate, recently succeeded in obtaining a preliminary block on the Michigan violent videogames bill.
The trade body maintains that the bill, and similar legislation introduced in different US States, contravenes First Amendment rights and forces the games industry to take on a responsibility that ought to belong to the parents of minors.
Following the news that all three next-generation consoles will ship with in-built parental controls, the ESA has again spoken out on the issue of violent videogames and the protection of minors, applauding the manufacturers' decision.
"The ESA is extremely pleased that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony Computer Entertainment America have voluntarily stepped up to take concrete steps to put the power to regulate the games kids play where it belongs — in the hands of parents, not government, retailers, or anyone else," said Lowenstein.
"The combination of these new controls, the existing ESRB rating system, and voluntary commitments by retailers not to sell Mature and Adult Only games to minors strikes the right balance between strong self-regulation and the ultimate responsibility of parents to take charge of the media their kids consume."
Parental control systems to prevent access to games above a certain age rating, limit game time and prevent access to potentially inappropriate content are already present in Sony's PlayStation Portable and Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. The PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution will also include parental controls as standard.
"With the average age of game players now 30, our industry naturally creates content appropriate for a wide range of audiences, just as there are TV shows, films, music, and books for people of all tastes, interests, and values," added Lowenstein.
"I am proud that each console maker has taken the initiative to give power to the parents, offering technology not available for DVD players or even portable music players that will allow parents to control the entertainment their children access. In a culture where raising kids is a challenge, video game parental control technology gives power to the parents."
In related news, private ratings firm PSVratings continues its pitch for an alternative to the widely accepted and universally adopted Entertainment Software Rating Board system. The firm, who had approached Governor Schwarzenegger during the debate over the California violent videogames bill, claims to offer the the only truly objective ratings system.
PSVratings has just released its latest Family Media Guide, detailing "2005's Top 10 Ultra-Violent Video Games," based on its own 'traffic lights' rating system for Profanity, Sex and Violence. The for-profit ratings firm has provided detailed descriptions of incident of violence, sex and/or profanity in the following titles, including several which had already been issued with an M-Mature rating by the ESRB:
- Killer 7
- The Warriors
- 50 Cent: Bulletproof
- Crime Life: Gang Wars
- Condemned: Criminal Origins
- True Crime: New York City
- Resident Evil 4
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- God of War
PSVratings insists that its system is "superior to the existing ESRB industry association-based review approach, which assigns ratings based upon the subjective opinions of three individuals who may not even play the game."