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IEMA Reacts to Annual Video Game Report Card

IEMA President Hal Halpin issues statement (November 23, 2004)

Reacting to the NIMF press conference this morning the IEMA issued the following statement which may be attributed to Hal Halpin, president:

It is our belief that it is premature to judge the effectiveness of new and not yet fully-implemented industry self-regulation due to the timing of the research in question. The industry's leading retailers of computer and video games made a substantial and tangible commitment last December (2003) to begin or otherwise re-double their individual and collective efforts in inhibiting the sale of Mature-rated games to minors by this coming December (2004). Performing "sting operations" earlier than that date is divisive, intentionally contrarian, and ultimately renders the data statistically-irrelevant. Questioning the retailer's commitment to programs which are just being rolled-out is fruitless in that they haven't been given a fair opportunity to implement these policies.

It is important to mention that IEMA members chose December in which to have all of their new or newly-improved policies and procedures in place because it is December and January in which children have the necessary discretionary income with which to make these $50 per item purchases. While it is true that the "holiday buying season" starts earlier than December, it is not children who are out buying themselves Christmas presents in October and then waiting until December 25th to enjoy them, it is their parents. These retailers are in locations which require adult transportation and the amount of money needed to make the purchase is more significant than is readily-available to a child before the holidays.

As we pointed out last year, the IEMA carding announcement was made in the spirit of cooperation and because our members believe that they have a social responsibility to work with our consumers and parents. Retailers have made significant investments in educating parents and their own staffs about the ratings system, and have, through this commitment changed the very nature of the business and the way in which people purchase one of the fastest-growing forms of entertainment. We stated that it would take twelve months to change policies and procedures in thousands of stores and educate many times that number of clerks, staff, and managers - all which too is an incredible voluntary investment in time and money.

It is our belief that it is quite simply too early to assign a grade to the retailer's enforcement policies, but that if a grade need be assigned out of habitual ritual nothing less than an "A" is worthy of their collective efforts over the past eleven months.

About the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association
Established in 1997, the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA) is the non-profit U.S. trade association dedicated to serving the business interests of leading retailers that sell interactive entertainment software (including video and computer games, multimedia entertainment, peripherals and other software). Member companies of the IEMA collectively account for approximately eighty-five percent of the $10 billion annual interactive entertainment business in the United States.

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Related Keywords:IEMA, Video Game, Video Game Report Card, Hal Halpin, NIMF, Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association, entertainment software,

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