According to a press release from the Entertainment Software Association, Sony has joined the ranks of Microsoft and Nintendo in assuring parents that they will have adequate parental controls to keep their children safe while using their new range of consoles. Microsoft has already fulfilled their promise by adding more diverse options for parents to protect their children while playing on the Xbox 360. Some safeguards include the ability to block specific video games based on their ESRB rating and restrict specific content on Xbox Live that could potentially endanger younger audiences.
The recent push for parental controls has been spearheaded by concerned lawmakers and parents over the sale of “mature” and “teen” rated games to minors. A fine example would be the release of Rockstar’s latest title, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The game has been a center of controversy over a left over piece of code that simulated sexually explicit action, later dubbed “hot coffee” by its viewers. The game was given a teen rating by the ESRB and many advocates cried foul at the game’s rating. The game’s teen rating, under immense pressure, was later changed to mature and reshipped.
The industry seems to have taken note of the voluntary actions of each company in the fight to keep younger audiences safe. The ESA was quoted in saying, “With the average age of game players now 30, our industry naturally creates content appropriate for a wide range of audiences, just as there are TV shows, films, music, and books for people of all tastes, interests, and values,” said Lowenstein. “I am proud that each console maker has taken the initiative to give power to the parents, offering technology not available for DVD players or even portable music players that will allow parents to control the entertainment their children access. In a culture where raising kids is a challenge, video game parental control technology gives power to the parents.”
For now, parental controls have been given a high priority from the gaming industry, something that is deemed to satisfy many concerned parents. Stay tuned for other PlayStation 3 developments.