Another Thompson speaks out — he's pro education

your momBeing rational when it comes to discussing the government’s part in the regulation of videogames is beyond me. Neil Thompson is the head of sales and marketing for the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft (which includes Xbox, Zune and PC games) and he must be drinking some kind of magic calming juice.

Mr. Thompson wants parents, the government, and the games industry to sit in a room together and have a chat about videogames ratings. Seriously, this is what he wants.

"Government has a role to play here, industry has a role to play here, and parents have an incredibly important role to play here. We did some work on being safe online, where Microsoft as a company put a lot of employees out to schools, to talk to children and teachers, and parents if they would come along and explain the risks of being online – from the content point of view, and chat, grooming, all of the things that can happen online, that are obviously not acceptable."

While I’m a little weary on the government part, he wants to duplicate this tactic with game ratings awareness; the ESRB should listen to him. He goes on, in his interview with GamesIndustry, to state some of the more obvious points in the problem with the ratings, the two biggest being enforcement and ignorance.

If the tiny mom-and-pop shops sell 8 year olds GTA they’re helping no one. It’s rough to enforce these things but it needs to get done. I don’t really care if your business needs the money, no kid should be buying Leisure Suit Larry… no adult should either, but that’s a whole different conversation.

Then there’s the obvious — the biggest problem: Ignorance. Parents don’t know the ratings. Their kid kicks and screams and wants Scarface or Manhunt and parents buy it. They think all games are for kids, and just don’t know that some content is inappropriate. They’re uninformed, then get upset when they see what they got their kids.

Until more parents take responsibility for their children nothing is going to change. It doesn’t matter what kind of 1984 regulations we put in place, if the parents turn a blind eye to the games their children are playing then you can expect nothing to change. To me, that’s the biggest message. The ESRB needs to figure out some way to get that across, aside from having the Nintendo Wii guys ring your bell and hand you a pamphlet.


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Author: Creighton DeSimone View all posts by

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