Looking at some of the gaming titles that you can find out there on the open market at the moment, it seems that there are a large number of questionable gaming themes that are available without the need to even enter into a hard copy gaming store. Take the Xbox 360 marketplace as an example.
Although the marketplace tends to offer the mainstream gaming titles after a short delay on the release, there are other titles available at a small scale cost that could well open up adult themed games to younger ages, such as online casino game Casino Nights.
Available as a free trial or to download as a full game for just 80 Microsoft points, the game helps to promote the gambling lifestyle as you take to the online casino tables to indulge in roulette and other table games with play money, however could this be feeding the younger generation to trying their hand at real online casinos? Microsoft accounts tend to have a parental setting that would allow account owners to enforce age limitations on their consoles, however from the gamers that we know the percentage of parents that actually know how to set these settings up tends to be a minority, many admitting that they don’t really use the internet at all. This opens up the issues that could result in underage gamers being given the chance to sample the thrill of a gamble that leads to so many addiction problems throughout the world, but we should point out that we are still to hear reports about a single case being related back to a computer game and so there is no direct evidence to be able to link the two.
Amid casino games, fighting games and other genres, the need to be able to clarify the limitations on account set up needs to be amended in order to prevent things like this happening but without the process becoming streamlined for those that are setting up the accounts which are able to access the internet, there will always be a wealth of users that will fail to set up their system safely.
Although we have focused on the gambling aspect of the gaming spectrum, there is a huge outcry by the public to regulate games on a much wider scale than is already in place, with the main focus of the consensus being placed on violent, blood filled games that continuously keep being accredited to have been an influence in a number of violent crimes in the past.
Gaming titles do come with an age advisory clearly printed on the casing, however we have spoken to a number of parents that have admitted that they have bought games that carry a warning for children that are younger than the stated advisory, resulting in a large scale problem that will not be an easy fix.
Identifying the issue may well be an easy thing to do but regulation and enforcement would be a much harder problem as there will always be people that are willing to overlook the guidelines, which will result in the same issues that the industry faces now.