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PART 7-MARKETING MISCUES GAME CODE VIOLATES INDUSTRY RATING According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the five top-selling video games by units sold in 2004 were Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Halo 2, Madden NFL 2005, ESPN NFL 2K5, and Need for Speed: Underground 2. Total video game sales in the United States in 2004 amounted to $6.2 billion or an estimated 203 million units. Demographically, 75 percent of heads of households play computer or video games. Approximately 35 percent of gamers are under 18 years old, 45 percent are 18 to 49 years old, and 20 percent are 50 or older. The average age of a gamer is 30. The ESA was formed in 1994 to serve the business and public affairs needs of video and computer game companies. It has 25 game company members, including such well-known names as Activision, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Nintendo, SEGA, Sony, Take-Two, Vivendi, and Warner Brothers. The ESA established the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in 1994. The board’s purpose is to apply and enforce ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles adopted by the computer and video game industry. In essence, the ESRB serves as a self-regulatory body for the interactive entertainment software industry. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2005, the ESRB had to slap the potentially crippling Adults Only (AO) rating on a member’s game—the
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