While the bill was first introduced
in September, but did not progress through the legislature, the Truth in Video Game Rating Act has again been introduced to the U.S. Senate.
As before, the act aims to require mandatory hands-on time with video games by a ratings organization such as the ESRB prior to the game being assigned a content rating, as well as put the body under the watch of the Government Accountability Office.
The bill was again presented by its original author Senator Sam Brownback, a prominent critic of the ESRB and sponsor of the recent Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act
, which called for an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into video game and other electronic media use.
Should the Truth in Video Game Rating Act pass, it would require the ESRB to have access to the full content of and hands-on time with the games it was to rate, rather than simply relying on the video demonstrations submitted by developers and publishers as it currently. It would also "prohibit video game producers and distributors from withholding or hiding playable content from a ratings organization."
On top of this, the bill would also require the Federal Trade Commission to "specifically define parameters for describing game content and what would count as a mischaracterization of a game’s content." The bill would also call for a Government Accountability Office study to determine the effectiveness of the ESRB, as well as the potential for a new “independent rating system...controlled by parties with no financial interest in the industry.”
"Video game reviewers should be required to review the entire content of a game to ensure the accuracy of the rating," said Brownback. "The current video game ratings system is not as accurate as it could be because reviewers do not see the full content of games and do not even play the games they rate."