(June 10th, 2005)
(TORONTO) - The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC)
joined with the US-based Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
and the Interprovincial Film Classification Council of Canada (IFCCC)
today to announce a new Canadian Advisory Committee to the ESRB content
rating system for computer and video games.
The new Committee will provide Canadian input and advice to the ESRB
for consideration in the development of ratings policies for video games.
The committee will be comprised of three provincial government representatives,
one representative from industry appointed by the ESAC and will be chaired
by a representative from the ESRB. The inaugural members will include
representatives from the following provincial film boards responsible
for film and video games; Manitoba, Henry Huber, Chair, Manitoba Film
Classification Board; BC, Elaine Ivancic, Director, BC Film Classification
Office; and Ontario, Janet Robinson, Chair, Ontario Film Review Board.
"This new committee will provide an opportunity to ensure that
any Canadian issues and concerns about the rating system are heard at
the policy development level," said Danielle LaBossiere, Executive
Director of ESAC. "Research shows that Canadian parents are aware
of the ESRB rating system for games and have confidence in the accuracy
and appropriateness of the ratings. The establishment of the CAC provides
an additional level of assurance that Canadian viewpoints are being
taken into account."
According to ACNielsen, 71% of Canadian parents with kids under 18
that own video and/or PC games agree that the rating system is effective
in providing guidance to buyers*. While the industry continues to self-regulate
through the assignment of ratings and the enforcement of marketing guidelines,
provincial governments in Ontario, BC, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have
recently introduced legislation to enforce the existing rating system
and prevent the sale of Mature and Adults-Only rated games to minors.
"Establishing the Canadian Advisory Committee is an effective
way to take Canadian government and consumer interests into account
without compromising the independence and integrity of the rating system
that parents and consumers have come to rely on," said Patricia
Vance, President of the ESRB.
"The provinces collaborated in examining the ESRB rating system
closely before deciding to adopt it under the new legislation,"
added Henry Huber, Chair of the Industry Liaison Working Group of the
Interprovincial Film Classification Council of Canada (IFCCC) and Chair
of the Manitoba Film Classification Board. "We felt that the ESRB
ratings provided parents and consumers with the content information
they need to make informed rental and purchasing decisions. As well,
the ESRB rating icons are large and prominently displayed on the front
and back of all video games packages. However, we wanted to ensure that
Canadian concerns were heard when establishing or making changes to
ESRB rating system policies. The CAC will provide a formal venue for
meaningful discussion and input into the ESRB rating system."
*AC Nielsen research commissioned by ESAC, 2005