Trying to pass legislation that impacts how games can be sold or what has to be put on them is a popular and expensive way of sending the message that you’re concerned about the issues that affect the youth of today. Although every law attempted has gone down in flames, and has cost taxpayers at least $1 million through the years, politicians continue to line up to give it a go. The newest bill is A11717, proposed by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, and it has already passed through the New York State Assembly. Now it’s on to the State Senate. It’s a familiar story, but in this case the New York government is asking for things the industry is already doing.
The legislation would require game consoles to include parental locks for mature content but, while this sounds good on paper, every current-generation console already has parental controls. Not only that, but the ESRB has done a great job of getting the word out on how to use said controls. The bill also wants to force games to show their ESRB ratings on the cover of the title, which is also something that is done industry-wide. Every game sold at retail has the ESRB rating on the front cover, with more detailed information on what content the game includes on the back of the box. Given that industry compliance on showing the ratings on games is already at 100 percent, it’s unclear what the law would achieve. (link)