On October 20, 2007, Daniel Petric walked into his parent’s living room and told his parents to close their eyes. After telling his parents he had a big surprise for them, Daniel then raised a 9mm handgun loaded with hollow point rounds and fired multiple shots into his mother. His mother died instantly. He then turned to his father and shot a round into his father’s head. When police arrived, they were shocked to find out the reason for the shooting was because his video game “Halo 3” was confiscated by his parents. Daniel Petric confessed that parents took away the video game from him because of the violent nature. His father locked up the game in his lockbox next to his 9mm handgun. Daniel Petric is the first of many homicides in which video games was blamed as the culprit. With these tragedies many parents blame video games when in fact the games are not the ones to blame.
Every year video games are made and released. Their target audience varies from young youth to those over the age of 18. The violent video games are usually the most talked about and the most anticipated. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 was one of the most anticipated games of the year. At the midnight launch on November 13, 2012 over thousands of people lined up to receive a copy. Since the midnight launch Black Ops 2 has sold over 11.04 million copies worldwide (Kain, 2012).
With coming into the new year of 2013 there are already over 20 anticipated video games. Most of the games that are coming out are violent video games. Games like The Walking Dead Season 2, Bayonetta, BioShock Infinite, Gears of War Judgment, God of War Ascension and the biggest game yet Grand Theft Auto V. All of these games are rated M due to the violence and adult situations. They are all the most talked about video games to be released and are expected to sell over 20 million copies alone. According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), at least 89% of violent video games are bought by parents for their underage child. What is more shocking is the fact that 87% parents did not know the rating of the game or even knew that the rating system existed for video games. In 1999 when ESRB was created only 43% of parents knew about the ESRB rating system. Due to some video game violent nature the rating system was created. The ESRB rating system was made to “empower consumers, especially parents, with guidance that allows them to make informed decisions about the age-appropriateness of video games” (Mizrachi, 2012). In 2012 ESRB conducted survey on the parents that frequent the website and 85% of the parents understand the rating system and 71% felt the rating system is very helpful in choosing games for their child.
The ESRB ratings have three parts: Rating Categories that suggest age appropriateness, Content Descriptors that indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and Interactive elements that informs about the interactive aspect of a product, including user’s ability share personal information to third parties. Parents are encouraged to visit their website in order to educate themselves and see how the rating process works and why it works. All the information on the ESRB website is explained in detail. Parents can see the ratings guide, rating process, enforcement, resources and faqs. There is even a search engine to look for the rating of any game from any platform, whether it is from Playstation 3, XBOX 360, WII, WII U Platform, or any handheld system like the Nintendo DS, Playstation Vita any other future game platform.
The rating system ranges from Early childhood “C”, Everyone “E”, Everyone 10+ “E10”, Teen “T”, Mature “M” and Adults Only “AO”. The Teen rating is content that is generally suitable for the ages 13 and up. The game may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language. Mature rating is when