SOURCE: Entertainment Software Rating Board

December 06, 2005 16:21 ET

ESRB Flunks National Institute for Media and the Family for Its Disservice to Parents and Their Children

Video Game Rating Board Refutes Unfounded and Deceptive Claims by Self-Proclaimed Media Expert

NEW YORK NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 6, 2005 -- The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) today assigned a failing grade of "F" to the National Institute for Media and Family (NIMF) for its seriously flawed Video Game Report Card released last week. The ESRB cited inaccuracies, incomplete and misleading statements, omission of material facts, and flawed research as key factors in assigning the failing grade. In addition to the overall failing grade, NIMF was given a demerit for elevating its political and media agenda over their stated concerns for consumer welfare, particularly those of kids and teens.

"In recent years, the report card concept has become increasingly arbitrary, simple-minded, and silly, more of a headline-grabbing tool than a parent-helping tool, and NIMF's 2005 report card continues that disappointing tradition," said ESRB President Patricia Vance. "For years, ESRB respected the work of NIMF, recognizing it as a serious-minded watchdog group sincerely interested in helping parents make smart media decisions, and for this reason we have previously sought to engage them in a cooperative and productive dialogue. But this year NIMF made clear that its real agenda is to undermine parent trust in the ESRB. We will not allow NIMF to mislead parents about the accuracy and effectiveness of ESRB ratings. Accordingly, and reluctantly, we have little choice but to publicly challenge NIMF's numerous inaccurate and misleading claims."

The basis for the grades assigned below to NIMF is included in the attached Fact Sheet.

Full Disclosure of Pertinent Facts                      F

Research and Analysis                                   F

Documentation and Presentation of Evidence              F

Working Well with Others                                F
Overall Grade:                                          F

Plus Demerit for Neglecting Parents' and Childrens' Best Interests
"It is clear that NIMF is seeking to impose its own values and standards on America's parents," Vance concluded. "Its public attacks on the ESRB rating system are intended to undermine parental confidence in the most effective and broadly available tool today to help parents make informed choices about the games they bring home. Research confirms over 80% of all parents currently find our ratings to be accurate and useful. ESRB is not a censor, and we will continue to focus our resources on providing the best tools possible to help parents make their own decisions about what is or is not appropriate for their families."

About Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB independently assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.

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