Another politician jumps on the video game platform

The temperature keeps rising on the video game rating system as Kansas Republican Senator, Sam Brownback, reintroduced the Truth in Video Game Rating Act on Tuesday.  The act ensures that video game rating companies play any game all the way through before assigning it a rating.  It also prohibits developers from withholding any content from the game from raters and punishes rating companies that do not follow through with thorough inspections.

Current video game raters do not actually play the games; they watch a video composed of short clips taken from different parts of the video game.  Brownback claimed in a statement that some tapes do not adequately represent the games content and, therefore, is not a proper method to rate the games. He states, "Game reviewers must have access to the entire game for their ratings to accurately reflect a game's content."

The bill also commissions a Government Accountability Office study to determine if the Entertainment Software Rating Board's system is efficient and whether the Board could be controlled by outside parties with no financial interest.  The study would also review the rating system on other entertainment such as television and movies.

The spotlight on video game content has become very intense with the condemnation of violent video games from the Pope to the European Union's investigation into violent video games.  It is no surprise that the ratings system would be on list of politician’s agendas.

The proposition of the bill brought with it opposition from the Entertainment Software Association.  The bill, which was filed August 4, 2006, met immediate criticism from the ESA.  Company President, Doug Lowenstein, commented that some video games would be too long and would require professional gamers with skills necessary to play through games that could take over 100 hours.  He also stated that many games have an indefinite end; it would be difficult for someone to play a video game in its entirety.

Similar bills had been proposed along with the one from Senator Brownback.  One bill was proposed by Rep. Fred Upton and another by Rep. Cliff Stearns.  Neither bill made it to vote.

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