Parents in North America continue to agree with computer and video game ratings assigned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) according to a new independent study commissioned by the board and conducted by research firm Peter D. Hart Research Associates. This follows recent statements
, often related to anti-violent game advocacy and state-specific game legislation, questioning the efficacy of the North America rating system.
The study, commissioned by the ESRB, was conducted from October 14-24, 2005, and surveyed over 400 randomly selected parents of children that play video games. Each was shown video footage from 8 out of 80 randomly selected computer and video games, which were assigned one of six rating categories within the prior twelve months.
Respondents were asked to choose the ESRB rating they felt was most appropriate, and then were told the actual rating that ESRB had assigned. Parents were then asked whether the rating assigned was "about right," "too strict," or "too lenient." The surveys were conducted at shopping malls in 10 different regions of the United States to ensure geographic diversity.
The study shows that, of the surveyed cross-section of parents, those responding agree with the ESRB ratings 82% of the time, while another 5% of the time they think the ratings are "too strict." The "too lenient" figure was not revealed by the ESRB's statement, but it's to be presumed, if no respondents demurred on their answers, that 13% of parents believed ratings to be too lenient.
"As the ratings body for the video game industry, the ESRB's effectiveness depends largely on how accurately its ratings reflect the attitudes of American parents. We are extremely pleased that, year after year, independent research shows such a high level of agreement with ESRB ratings among parents," said ESRB president Patricia Vance.