Sunday, August 14, 2005

On Game Ratings, Companies, and Retailers

There is a three-fold source to the recent debates and arguments surrounding the video game world. Most people who care, and plenty who don't, have heard about the scandles with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the Hot Coffee mod. That isn't what I want to focus on, because that has already been blogged to hell and back.

The system is broken. While most studies show the average gamer as being 34 years old, the industry is still trying to sell games to kids and teenagers. Now, I have no trouble with giving a game an AO rating, but why do retailers have a problem selling them? They sure are cutting out a huge section of their consumer base. Besides, Wal-Mart actually does card for M games, last I checked, so why not sell AO games and card them as well?

The bottom line is this: if most of the people buying games are adults, why should they always aim for a rating that lets teens buy it (T or M is usually the highest rating they want)? The answer is that the stores don't carry AO games, but that just brings back the questions about the average gamer age.

In the end, we just need to work to make everyone realize that AO games aren't bad. You can carry them in your store and card anyone who looks too young, just like smokes. Only AO games don't kill people, they help stressed out adults relax after a long day of working as a productive member of society.

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