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Age restrictions and eSports

ratings

A good percentage of the local competitive community consists of gamers who are too young to be playing they games they are, according to the age ratings. Should competition organisers restrict those gamers from competing in these titles or blissfully ignore them?

Leagues and tournaments

Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield have always been primary titles competed in, in our tournaments but there’ve been very little done to make sure that the gamers playing it are within the age restrictions. If you’re under the age rated suitable for the game you’ve never had a problem competing, the most you’ve needed to do is have a parental consent form and there you go.

This however should not be allowed in our local competitions, If organisers allow these under aged gamers to compete, they’re just as bad as the parents buying these kids games they’re not supposed to play. If we want to help better our gaming scene, we shouldn’t just be okay with letting things like these happen. But what would be the effects of restricting under aged gamers of competing be on the competitive scene?

The biggest affect would probably be a drop in numbers when it comes to first-person-shooter leagues. A drop in numbers could mean a drop in sponsors, leaving us with less to give as prizes. It could also do the opposite though. Should distributors of certain products see the professionalism and positive incentive, they might want to sponsor more.

Curbing the number of younger gamers in our tournaments, might also give the older gamers a gap to get to the top. It’s no secret that many older gamers get pushed down the ladder, by younger players with loads more time on their hands, turning them into super competitive machines.

Public match making

Most mature gamers have dealt with young gamers being unbelievably rude. If they didn’t sleep with your mom, they’re cursing the hell out of you or telling you how bad you are the game. Now I’m not saying all young gamers are like this, but we’ve certainly seen this happen on a regular basis. And yes, I know that many older gamers act just as badly, that’s not the point. Curbing the number of younger gamers on public servers, could leave us with a “more mature” community, just slightly, but it could.

There’s no way to predict the age of the gamers playing on public servers, and therefore no way to restrict them from joining it. So how do we solve the problem? That is entirely up to developers of games. This might be a very foolish idea though, because once they’ve slapped their age ratings on the game, they’ve done their part. Public matchmaking comes into play because competitive gamers play there too. If under aged gamers can’t get onto public servers online, it’s far less likely that they will get into competing in the title.

Gaming and the effects of it on young people have been the highlight recently, instead of blaming problems on games we can try and help solve the problem, or make the world feel better about it. Starting with eSports not only locally, but internationally is a step towards influencing the industry to take more serious precautions when it comes to making sure that kids don’t play games they aren’t supposed to.

Even though, it is the responsibility of the parent to make sure their kids don’t play these games, we all know we can’t really rely on them to do the job. That’s the sad truth, and then parents want to complain about violence in video games.

What’s your take? Should the eSports scene be more strict on age ratings or leave it to the parents?

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Author:Yolanda Green

I like bacon and games, and occasionally I say something coherent about it. I'm not old or cynical, and I'm not the Dork Knight. I AM SHE-RA! Wait, what?
  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    Strict as hell I say! Do it!

    CoD community will effectively die.

    I also believe that most of the vile bile will be gone. Sure there are exceptions, but I agree that the general consensus is that kiddies that have access to games that they are not supposed to have access to, lack a form of discipline (either on their end, or on the parents end).

    I’d even go so far to say that biometric verification be implemented. Age restrictions are in place for a reason, to protect them until the mind is mature enough.

    • Brady miaau

      Yeah. So community dies: then why is there a rating board?

  • Deon Steyn

    Parents are useless when it comes to this, let eSports do it. Look how many brats play online.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

    In the DGL, under-age players must have their parents submit a parental consent form, giving them permission to compete. At the finals, they are not allowed in unless we have their form on record (or if they bring one with them).

    • Admiral Chief Erwin

      Well done!

    • UnholyMunk

      A consent form doesn’t cut the mustard in my book… You would be surprised at how many kids can forge their parents signature (I was one of them)! IMO, the only way to ensure it is all above board is to ensure no kid plays unless they have a Guardian/Adult present at the event escourting them around… May be a bit extreme, but that way you know the kid next to you is supervised and has some form of emotional support when you’re “pwning his ass”!

  • http://profiles.google.com/gmccumskey Gareth McCumskey

    Personally I feel that it should be left to the parents. Why should
    every facet of society be held responsible for making up for a lazy
    parents’ bad parenting:

    • Eric Viljoen

      Your comment kind of answers your question. Because there are lazy, bad parents.

  • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

    I see nothing wrong with kids playing restricted games if the parents sign consent.

    I don’t need the government, or you, telling me what I can and can’t show my kids.

    Age restrictions are there for informational purposes and I always take them into consideration. But I’ll be damned if some stuck up nanny in the pfb will tell me what my kids can and cannot experience.

    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      I agree with you, but YOU are one to be trusted. What about the kids out there that have parents that don’t give a crap about what their kids see/do? It’s one thing saying Government cannot tell you what you can show your kids, but that’s not the reason laws are there. They are there to protect minors from utter morons, and until there is a law that stops sub-IQ idiots from procreating, I would venture we need them :)

      • Brady miaau

        Seen a movie called Idiocracy? Very funny (well in part!). Address’s this point happily

        • Sir Captain Rincethis

          Lol. Nah, this goes beyond me being a standard idiot and into a realm where custard flows as rivers and mountains are made of lost ideas.

    • Admiral Chief Erwin

      Valid point, but that is your situation.

      What if some parent just signs it to get the kid of his/her back? Also, some kids are more/less mature for their age, so the judgement lies with an informed and involved parent.

      I feel the same as you do, as I am actively involved in my daughter’s life. So I can make an informed decision.

      Six of the one, half a dozen of the other.

      • Sir Captain Rincethis

        What I was getting at :) My mother was awesome with myself and the 3 others (okay, maybe OVG was the exception) because she knew we were all fucked up from the get go ;)

        • Brady miaau

          Me too, I was allowed to essentially choose for myself: certain movies were off limits, but not very many. I find it liberating and looking back, it worked for me. But in private, we hired movies way above my age to watch together, like Chuck Norris and Steven Segal (wow, those were and are bad) movies. But together.

          • Sir Captain Rincethis

            Yeah, I am not sure if it was a good thing. I remember my mother handing the video clerk a letter saying that I (as an 11 year old) could pick up 18 movies for her to watch (I was just the courier). One time, I got out Urotsukidoji, a Japanese anime, and put it on in the livingroom along with my mother and boets thinking it would have puppies and bunnies in… Needless to say, it wasn’t standard Japanese Anime… Nothing at all like Akira…No puppies, NO bunnies, not even ONE My Little Pony. I shudder at how embarrassed I was… Not to mention getting movies like IT out scared me shitless for many nights.

          • Eric Viljoen

            Yes, but you still weren’t allowed to watch those movies in a public theater

    • Brady miaau

      At your house, sure. Or a trusted friend.

      What about at a public place, like a shopping centre for a big tournament?

      As a parent, do you want your child to see a scene from Saw (never seen it, never will) as they walk past a video store? I view that as the same as playing games with 18 age restriction (same as movie).

      What about games like the Witcher or Fallout 3 / New Vegas that sometimes deal with very adult themes and concepts? I know these are single player (loved them all!)?

      I am not trying to offend, but I have no kids, so I ask!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

        You do realise that esport is set in an arena with no AI or scripted events? Two teams or players face off against eachother in a contest for points. The location where this happens, be it at home or at an event, does not change the content of the contest. Imagine a football match with guns.

        You cant expect an esport organiser to control what a person does in a single player game as that is not esport.

        Esport is probably the tamest part of the entire game. The largest risk to a child in an esport match is the other players (like all real life encounters).

        • Brady miaau

          Crud. I play in chess tournaments, live in shopping centres or halls. I sort of assumed this is what happens, a’la Rage!

          So I can play in these events from the comfort of my home? Well, that is more difficult, sure.

          I still maintain it is the law to prohibit access to minors where the ratings board has said so, in all public places. Now, of course, you say that quite often the presense is virtual, not actual.

          By the way, I am 6 foot 2, ruggedly handsome, dark and mysterious. Woman swoon when they see me. Type of thing, right?

    • Guest

      That’s why they can play at home. But when it comes to public domain different rules apply. You won’t see a 12 year old in a bar, adult shops or at the movies.

  • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

    I see nothing wrong with kids playing restricted games if the parents sign consent.

    I don’t need the government, or you, telling me what I can and can’t show my kids.

    Age restrictions are there for informational purposes and I always take them into consideration. But I’ll be damned if some stuck up nanny in the pfb will tell me what my kids can and cannot experience.

  • Neji

    I agree that as long as the parents have signed off on some sort of official document then the kiddies can play.

  • Sir Captain Rincethis

    Make it properly regulated. If porn is, why isn’t a death simulator? Way too little attention given to this matter, and what attention IS given if from FOX news, backed by NRA and Republicans that want to hunt deer with rocket launchers.

  • Brady miaau

    A movie theatre will not let a 10 year old in to watch the latest Saw or other horror movie, right? They enforce the age restriction.

    As do Bars and so forth. (I know booze is different, but hey)

    I think tournament organizers should ask for ID and if player too young, give back money and say sorry, cannot play this game. That is the law, as far as I am aware.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

      A movie theatre can be compared to a store that sells games. It cant be compared to a esport event. Before a player enters a competition, they have already played the violent game for thousands of hours.

      • Brady miaau

        Yeah, but many people (not just me) have made the point that there is a difference between private and public. What you choose to do in your own home is up to you.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

          Why does location matter?

          • Brady miaau

            see response above, I believe it is matter of law.

            I known when I worked part time a theatre many, many years ago (20?) it was drilled into us that to allow kids into movies that was rated for them was against the law and if someone complains, massive fines to follow. I assume that games ratings work the same way. If not, why have them?

            By the, way a reasoned discussion between people with differing view points on the internet? Surely not? :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

            As far as I know, the FPB ratings are recommendations only.

          • Brady miaau

            Ah, well then it seems this is all a storm in a tea cup. Let them eat cake. Oh, and play.

          • Brady miaau

            Ah, well then it seems this is all a storm in a tea cup. Let them eat cake. Oh, and play.

  • http://twitter.com/mathuthe Mathias

    Competitive gaming should be allowed only for people above 18 years old.

    If the kids’ parents let them play any game that it’s not for their age, well, it’s their problem. But send them away when they want to get into tournaments and shit. Go finish school, son! Or make a kiddies only tournament.

    I really believe people don’t realize the amount of children playing other games than CoD. Most gaming communities would have a major drop.

  • http://twitter.com/mathuthe Mathias

    Competitive gaming should be allowed only for people above 18 years old.

    If the kids’ parents let them play any game that it’s not for their age, well, it’s their problem. But send them away when they want to get into tournaments and shit. Go finish school, son! Or make a kiddies only tournament.

    I really believe people don’t realize the amount of children playing other games than CoD. Most gaming communities would have a major drop.

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    It needs to be strict. How can we, as a gaming community moan about people saying games cause violence by us saying “But it’s the parents that allow their children to play these games and then go and allow the younger kids to play age restricted games in a very competitive environment?

    It needs to be strict if for no other reason than to not be hypocritical

  • Kaizer

    Sure. Kiddies must play. I’ll let my 6 year old play deadspace 3. And before you know it, a clocktower and a high powered rifle is in the books. Lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

    The thing is that the child has already played 2000+ hours of the violent game before they even think about playing in a league. Its a bit late at that point to step in.

    • Charles

      So you use the hours they have already played to justify them entering a “public event”….Almost sound like some of our politicians, damage done, turn a blind eye. Just saying….

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

        99% of esport events are held online. I’m curious to hear from you, in what way does a public event influence the content of a game? Does the game detect it is being played in a public area, and then unlock more violence?

        I think what we have here is a bunch of people commenting on something they have never experienced themselves. Any eSport player will be able to tell you that the mode they play in a tournament is far less violent than the mode they play during single player sessions.

        • Sir Captain Rincethis

          But it is still violent. When you get a kill shot with a sniper rifle, the head comes off. I don’t think a 9 year old be exposed to that. Do you?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

            What does that have to do with eSport? The 9 year old has to have already been exposed to the game well before they ever consider playing the game in a competitive environment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

        The issue needs to be tackled at the root. The shops selling the games need to do these checks, not the value-adding initiatives at the end of the road.

        If an esport tournament is introducing or supplying gamers with the violent games, then sure, place restrictions on them based on the fact that they are providing the game. You will find however that very few eSport events provide the game. The gamers themselves bring their own PC’s with the games pre-installed.

        • Valshen

          The root of the game purchase might also be: “New fps is out, must practise for esports.” It may be a value-adding initiative, but it can’t be ruled out as a contributing factor.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=654211497 Robert Infy Hart

            Very unlikely approach for a young child. That approach is only taken by seasoned competitors. Younger players normally play a game first and then only after extensive game-time, do they decide to step up to a new level and play it in a competition.

  • TiMstER1033

    I think the parents should inform themselves more, to what the certain games are actually about, and see what kind of child they have, being a more mature child or immature. I mean games like GTA 4 or 5 in the future could mess with childs head if too immature and the child sees it okay to act out the game at school or with his friends. Personally I never had restrictions with games as a child and some movies were off limits, eg loads of nudity lol.

    But in all retrospect, little kids shouldnt be playing on xbxo live except in games their age limits as it not only ruins it for mature gamers but they could think way of swearing ect is okay to do so.

    I am sure alot have expeirenced that annoying lil kid in halo randomly saying some annoying crap. lol

    • Valshen

      I would love to see parents sit through a game of dota and read the in-game messages and listen to the comms.

  • Trinity

    My brother and I have been playing violent games from a very young age (him even younger) and I feel that it has given him a ‘one up’ on his competitiors. The first competition he was in was when he was about 14 years old, he is now one of the top SMG’s in South Africa for Call of Duty 4 and is being sponsored to play Black Ops2. He is still underage for some of the games but he is able to play them. In my opinion if you start young you are able to understand the game quicker and may even be able to turn it into a career thus building up e-sports in South Africa to the level of the overseas players. And that is not all I have actually gone into journalism for gaming and therefore have in another way made gaming into a career. There are many ways gaming can help with job creation etc in South Africa and i believe that as long as you have parental consent and support you should be allowed to play in the different competitions.

  • Trinity

    My brother and I have been playing violent games from a very young age (him even younger) and I feel that it has given him a ‘one up’ on his competitiors. The first competition he was in was when he was about 14 years old, he is now one of the top SMG’s in South Africa for Call of Duty 4 and is being sponsored to play Black Ops2. He is still underage for some of the games but he is able to play them. In my opinion if you start young you are able to understand the game quicker and may even be able to turn it into a career thus building up e-sports in South Africa to the level of the overseas players. And that is not all I have actually gone into journalism for gaming and therefore have in another way made gaming into a career. There are many ways gaming can help with job creation etc in South Africa and i believe that as long as you have parental consent and support you should be allowed to play in the different competitions.

  • OVG

    18+ basically means childish blood and guts with sex scenes softer than any daily soap. I will not loose any sleep over it besides the people over 18 who find most of that shit insulting.

    Where is the rating for MATURE ADULTS?…There is not, maybe a few but not many have mature themes.

  • https://twitter.com/jGLZA_b00 jGLZA

    “Should distributors of certain products see the professionalism and positive incentive, they might want to sponsor more” In a perfect world only :(

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