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Brownback Bill Would Improve Video Game Ratings

Senator says current game ratings system lacks objectivity


Contact Brian Hart, John Rankin, Press Office, United States Senator Sam Brownback, 202-224-6521


WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 /Standard Newswire/ -- U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today introduced the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, which would require video game ratings organizations to include more accurate and complete information in the ratings assignment process.


“The current video game ratings system needs improvement because reviewers do not see the full content of games and don’t even play the games they are supposed to rate,” said Brownback.  “For video game ratings to be meaningful and worthy of a parent’s trust, the game ratings must be more objective and accurate.”


The Truth in Video Game Rating Act, S.3935, would direct the Federal Trade Commission to require that reviewers consider the full content of a video game before issuing a rating.


Currently game reviewers do not play the games before determining ratings, and their reviews are based on taped segments of the game submitted by the game’s producer to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.  Such taped segments may or may not fully represent the game’s content.  The bill would prohibit video game producers and distributors from withholding or hiding playable content from a ratings organization.


Brownback continued, “Game reviewers must have access to the entire game for their ratings to accurately reflect a game’s content.”


In order to make game ratings more accountable, the bill would direct the FTC to specifically define parameters for describing game content and what would count as a mischaracterization of a game’s content.


In addition to the new FTC rules, the bill commissions a Government Accountability Office study to determine the efficacy of the industry’s ESRB ratings system and the potential for an independent rating system that would be controlled by parties with no financial interest in the video game industry.  The GAO study would also review the potential advantages of a universal ratings system for television, movies, and video games.


Senator Brownback is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Judiciary Committee.