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ESRB teams up with sports franchise to raise awareness

Washington Capitals promote "box checks" for ratings

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In time for the holiday shopping season, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Washington Capitals teamed up to promote awareness of the ESRB rating system among parents.

The ESRB released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring Capitals center Jeff Halpern and goaltender Tomáš Vokoun that aims to make parents more familiar with the ratings information available to help them determine which video games are right for their children. In the ad, the players encourage a father and son to do a "box check" before purchasing a video game, showing them where to find the game's rating symbol and content descriptor on its packaging.

ESRB distributed the 30-second ad to television and radio stations throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area. The PSA also plays on video display boards during Capitals home games and on the Capitals website.

The ESRB's partnership with the Washington Capitals is one of several relationships the organization built with professional sports teams to promote video game ratings. In 2010, the ESRB released PSAs featuring members of the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Blackhawks. These ads and other public awareness efforts have built recognition among parents of the rating system. As a result, 65 percent of parents report regularly checking a game's rating before making a purchase and 98 percent believe the rating system is helpful in choosing games for their children, according to Peter D. Hart Research Associates.

The ESRB also continues to develop new tools to help parents access rating information. Last month the organization released an upgraded version of its ratings search app. Now integrated with voice recognition technology, this tool instantly provides parents with a game's rating summary simply by typing, photographing, or saying the name of the game into their iPhone, Android or Windows Phone.
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