A two month undercover survey produced in part by the NIMF (National Institute on Media and Family) has found that 46 percent of U.S. stores investigated were willing to sell “M for Mature” rated games to teenagers younger then eighteen years of age.
More than sixty stores were surveyed across the U.S. by a group led by the East County Youth Coalition, based in San Diego. According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune
, the groups have called on retailers to more closely adhere to the ESRB rating system.
In addition, they have asked for retailers to institute formal training for employees, prominently display the rating system in stores and separate mature-themed video games from other titles.
Concern over underage access to mature rated video games was put under the spotlight yet again recently, with a group of prominent senators, including presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, calling for tougher rating standards
A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report
in April praised the games industry for raising awareness of the ESRB ratings system, with its findings showing that 87 percent of parents and 75 percent of children were aware of the ratings, up from 61 percent and 73 percent in 2000. The percentage of stores selling to underage buyers was roughly the same as the new survey, though, at 42 percent.