Retail stores set to enforce ID system

Many electronic retailers will begin carding minors who seek to purchase mature-rated video games by the 2004 holiday season. The new carding system will place the burden of decision on purchasing M-rated games on parents Yet, many, including under-aged gamers, don’t seem to mind the new policy.

“It’ll be a hassle, but I am for it,” said Christopher King, 14, a Godby High School freshman. “I’ve bought every M-rated game that I own except Halo and the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack and my parents got me those for Christmas.”

Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents 19 of the industry’s top 20 electronic retailers in the United States, is currently working on a national carding system that will require consumers to present identification proving that they are over the age of 17 when purchasing M-rated games.

“A national carding system will help ensure that games that are not appropriate for children stay out of their hands,” said Hal Halpin, president of the IEMA, in an article in U.S. Newswire.

By imposing this new system, IEMA retailers such as Circuit City, KB Toys and Target hope to improve in-store education and increase awareness of the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s rating system, the industry standard for rating video games. In helping to educate consumers about what to expect in a game’s content, parents will be able to better control the content their children are being exposed to.

Hoyt Groves, a game consumer who buys computer and Playstation games for his daughter said, “It’s a great idea.”

“Kids will be restricted from a lot of sex and violence and it’s on the parents to decide whether the kid should have this game,” Groves said.

Already in practice is the Washington House Bill 2595 that currently fines retailers who sell M-rated games to minors.

Marie Sylla, director of government relations and the IEMA counsel, wrote an opposition statement addressed to the Juvenile Justice and Family Law Committee.

She said that IEMA member companies don’t feel that government intervention in enforcing carding will end the selling of M-rated games to minors unless it also works to educate consumers like the IEMA retailers currently do.

In an article in Gamespot, Sylla said, “We want to self-regulate, like what the movie industry is doing.”

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