The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) has released a statement commending Microsoft for its recently reported content-related delay of Halo 2
for Vista, adding that the "ESRB should take a lesson" from the company and perform "more thorough" content reviews.
As reported last week
, Microsoft informed Gamasutra that the delay of Halo 2's Vista retail release was caused by an "unfortunate, obscure content error" containing a photo showing a "bare backside," warranting 'partial nudity' warnings to be added to the game's packaging.
“Thankfully," a statement from the NIFM reads, "Microsoft took the leadership role in ordering the ESRB to issue stickers with the correct rating information on the packaging. Microsoft has taken great strides in ensuring that parents have the tools available to make healthier media decisions. From parental controls to game ratings, Microsoft has become a reliable friend for families."
“When parents purchase video games for their children, they want assurance that the ratings on the box are accurate," said the organization's release, though it was was quick to add, "Unfortunately, the recent discovery of partial nudity in the soon-to-be-released Halo 2
for Windows Vista puts that assurance in jeopardy."
A long-standing critic
of the ESRB, especially following the 'hot coffee' scandal, the NIMF release saved its sting for last, concluding, “The ESRB should take a lesson from Microsoft and do a more thorough review of video game content.”
NIMF has sent a follow-up statement apologizing for its earlier "erroneous" criticism of the ESRB.
The statement reads:
The National Institute on Media and the Family apologizes for its erroneous statement dated May 29th, 2007 about the updated rating for the Windows Vista version of Halo 2. We now understand that, prior to the initial shipment of the game, Microsoft and the ESRB worked proactively to ensure that the rating on all packaging was updated to include content that Microsoft discovered in a map editor tool bundled with this version of the game and which was disclosed to the ESRB after a rating had already been assigned to the game. We commend the ESRB and Microsoft for making these efforts to protect consumers.
We take our role as the leading organization in researching media effects for parents and children seriously. Therefore, we will continue to engage in productive discussions and research that can aid families, policy makers and all sectors of the entertainment industry as to the benefits and harm that media may contribute to.
We further acknowledge that the ESRB has participated in discussions with the research community, facilitating a deeper understanding of what they do and the significant efforts being made to inform consumers about the games they purchase. We applaud those efforts and look forward to continuing the dialogue while putting this mistake behind us.]