The Xbox 360 December update will offer "Play Smart, Play Safe" for parents.
Microsoft today released the results of an 'independent' survey into parents' attitudes on video gaming. The results may surprise you; there's nary a reference to “GTA made my son a cold-blooded killer” but plenty of “concerns” and “worries.”
A poll of 4,000 parents in the UK, Germany, Italy, and France yielded results that are being spun in more directions than your average speed-camera report; the BBC is leading the way with “Games content 'concerns parents'”
, whereas the official Microsoft stance is a rather more reassuring “Parents in Control of Children's Gaming Habits”
The winner of the UK Worry-Wart Award has to go to the Telegraph, however: “Video games content worries parents, says survey”
is a master-stroke of pot-stirring.
A few choice figures: 71 percent of those questioned stated 'concern' with the content of video games, with the UK coming second only to Italy in the “think of the children” stakes; 66 percent of parents considered themselves the driving force in deciding whether their doe-eyed dear should shoot hookers in GTA3
compared to only 18 percent who think the government should be the ones to make that judgement, a figure which perhaps shows an apathy toward government-mandated ratings systems such as the BBFC here in the UK. Nearly two-thirds of children allegedly play alone with a third each playing with family and friends – it's not known whether these figures include online play such as via Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network as gaming with friends.
Part of Microsoft's new responsible attitude, the survey is a single facet of the Play Smart, Play Safe
programme developed to reassure parents that little Jimmy isn't going to go goggle-eyed. With the December Xbox 360 Update including a Family Timer, which promises to enforce a strict daily or weekly (although not both) time limit on console usage, it's clear that Microsoft is hoping to capture a larger slice of the younger market, possibly hoping to finally wrest that particular crown away from Nintendo.
That said, what would you want to play: Halo 3
or Viva Piñata Party Animals
? Let us know your thoughts in the forums