In 2008, the computer and video game industry has made $1.7 billion in revenue. Of this, 16% was made through the sale of violent video games (FYI: Video Game Statistics by the Entertainment Software Association | Critical Gaming Project). Many parents are concerned about these violent games because of how they can affect their children. Many think that these games are dangerous and should be banned. Others believe that the sale of these games should go unregulated. Whereas still others believe that there is a middle ground between these in restricting the sale or rental to minors.
Many parents are concerned about violent games being played by their kids because they have no idea what the games are like. But how does one know whether or not a game is filled with violence if they have not played it? One way to tell the content of a game is with the ESRB. According to the ESRB website,
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry (About ESRB).
They use ratings such as E (Everyone), T (Teen), and M (Mature) to help consumers know what games are age appropriate. They also use content descriptors such as Intense Violence, Strong Language, and Drug Reference to point out some possible areas of concern (ESRB Ratings Guide and Definitions). The ESRB was formed in response to many violent games such as Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Wolfenstein 3-D (Update: Video Games and Violence). Of th...
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... solutions. However, it is not without its own imperfections. A child may be able to talk a parent into getting these games for them, while not informing them about the rating system. Minors could also get older friends or sibling to get the games for them. There is also the issue of legality due to First Amendment rights. But despite these flaws, this is still the best solution as it offers the best of both extremes.
In conclusion, despite improvements, violence in video games is still a problem. While not proven, they may have the potential to make a generation of callous, uncaring, violent, and unstable people. They may cause more travesties such as Columbine and the issue needs to be addressed. While some retailers have taken action into their own hands, the government needs to step in and help out. If this problem is not quickly solved, it may be too late.
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