• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Let's talk about the way M-rated games are marketed at children

Oct 25, 2006
17,092
4
0
ESRB said:
MATURE
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
I'm glad the ESRB exists and I understand that the ratings are just guidelines. I understand it is the parents role to monitor the media their children consume. I'm also realistic, I know kids are going to get their hands on Call of Duty just like I got my hands on DOOM.

But I recently when shopping for a gift at Toys"R"Us and saw a ton of toys, intended for children, based off of M-rated franchises.

And that was just toys, you can find plenty of other mechandise. Child-size t-shirts, child backpacks, velcro wallets. etc plastered with COD and other logos.
I remember R-rated movie franchises from the 80's like Terminator, RoboCop, and Aliens had toys, but that has mostly disappeared. Of course, kids have played with toy soldiers for centuries.

Is selling toys to children based on games for adults wrong? The toys themselves obviously lack the explicit content that made the games "adult".

When companies like Activision figure out sales projections and marketing budgets for M-rated titles, do they factor in how to maximize the game's sales and appeal to kids under 17?
 
Oct 10, 2013
937
0
0
MN
I pointed this out to my wife the last time we were in toys-r-us. I don't get it but I have a feeling there is a large percentage of parents that have no idea about ESRB ratings or what they mean.
 

Northeastmonk

Member
Mar 18, 2013
11,412
890
770
Omaha, NE - USA
OMG I just was at Walmart buying gifts for my little family members and noticed all the f*cking Halo and Call of Duty toys. All the while I can still remember owning a Terminator 2 toy as a kid. He even had half his face ripped off, so I can see why they have these. I just remember that I grew up with the whole ratings board changing and having to get IDed for an M rated game.
 

Zeyphersan

Banned
Jun 14, 2013
18,555
1
0
www.twitch.tv
I pointed this out to my wife the last time we were in toys-r-us. I don't get it but I have a feeling there is a large percentage of parents that have no idea about ESRB ratings or what they mean.
Probably. This will also probaby change as the population that grew up on games becomes the majority of parents. When that happens, I wonder if this stuff will continue more due to apathy than ignorance
 

Sir TapTap

Member
Jun 17, 2014
19,094
0
425
USA
sirtaptap.com
Had no idea crap like this existed. Pretty gross. Though Halo doesn't bother me too much, if they cut out the Flood and purple blood it'd probably be Teen anyway. That's clearly the direction they went in for Destiny.
 

Who

Banned
Aug 16, 2014
2,590
0
0
God bless America.

I guess Call of Duty toys are the new GI Joes or green army men...

Militarized heroes have always been a staple.

I think it's pretty gross when you take a step back
 

Ludist210

Member
Jun 14, 2013
2,245
0
400
Alabama
Sad but true. It works too...most kids I know would rather play Call of Duty than a Mario game.

On the flipside of this topic, I bet the Disney Infinity figures appeal to adults more than kids in some ways.
 

BigFwoosh

Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,042
0
0
I've always thought this was messed up. I mean, as a kid if I saw Halo toys I'd probably think they were awesome. Of course I'd want to play the games too. Seems pretty shady to me.

I remember seeing commercials for Aliens action figures as a kid. Even back then I was like "Isn't that rated R? Weird."
 

Northeastmonk

Member
Mar 18, 2013
11,412
890
770
Omaha, NE - USA
The figures look horrible. They're small Fisher-Price type of characters. If they were going to do a good job, they would of made the figures larger. They make you feel like you're a baby Master Chief.
 

Opiate

Member
Dec 4, 2007
22,805
0
0
Saint Louis / New York City
I think it's an open secret that games such as Gears or God of War or GTA are technically rated for adults but appeal very strongly to 12-15 year old males. It's the age when you're desperate to be cooler and more "adult" than you are.
 

Ramza

Banned
May 29, 2014
1,949
0
0
It's just the 80's all over again. Remember when you could buy action figures and toys from all the rated R movies back then? This is no different.
 

Zombie James

Banned
Dec 28, 2005
46,217
2
0
Had no idea crap like this existed. Pretty gross. Though Halo doesn't bother me too much, if they cut out the Flood and purple blood it'd probably be Teen anyway. That's clearly the direction they went in for Destiny.
The movie industry's been doing this for many, many decades. It wasn't uncommon to see Aliens and Terminator action figures back in the day.
 

lyrick

Member
Apr 13, 2012
2,689
0
410
Parents know what the ESRB is and what the 'M' on the box implies.

What they refuse to admit is that their own children are too immature for the content presented in the software.
 

Who

Banned
Aug 16, 2014
2,590
0
0
I think it's an open secret that games such as Gears or God of War or GTA are technically rated for adults but appeal very strongly to 12-15 year old males. It's the age when you're desperate to be cooler and more "adult" than you are.
lol depressingly realistic indeed.

It's true.
 

studyguy

Member
Jun 10, 2013
20,608
0
0
Should I market this mature title to kids?

  • Does it have boobs?
  • If yes, then keep it away from kids!
  • If no, then make legos out of it

Nothing but nudity matters.
 

The Shockmaster

Neo Member
Jul 7, 2014
3
0
0
Some parents don't seem to take the time to pay attention/care about it anymore. Plus, I've seen toddlers at the preschool near my house wearing Call of Duty shirts and beanies.
 

KojiKnight

Member
May 24, 2012
20,249
1
630
I was going to comment on the fact that as a kid I had a bunch of toys like Terminator... at the time it didn't matter much to me, but as an adult and parent now I can see it being a bit more of an issue...
 
Aug 30, 2009
12,189
0
0
It's how they get you. Obviously, I'm betting more than half of the market who buy these games are kids.

That's a HUGE chunk of the revenue right there.
 

Madness

Banned
Jan 1, 2013
22,126
0
0
I get what you're trying to say, but it's not the same thing. You can easily differentiate between a piece of media rated M for its interactive sequences and a toy based on said media.

The reason Gears of War is rated M is not because of the Locust or Cogs or enemies, but because of the gore, shooting and violence such as chainsawing enemies in half. So a toy that sells Gears of War vehicles, or characters shouldn't be marketed towards kids why? It's a toy. Gears of War and Halo also have comics, novels etc.

Nothing will happen if your kids are drawn to play Gears or CoD, just like nothing happened when we grew up playing Mortal Kombat, Doom, wolfenstein, carmaggeddon etc.
 
Feb 28, 2009
39,127
1
0
I mean there's also kid-sized Halloween masks for every R rated slasher movie villain ever sold at Party City and whatnot.

I know you already mentioned Terminator, but really, kid-marketed merchandise for "adult" properties has been around for decades.
 

Afrocious

Member
Jan 9, 2007
12,231
0
0
Bloop
The figures look horrible. They're small Fisher-Price type of characters. If they were going to do a good job, they would of made the figures larger. They make you feel like you're a baby Master Chief.
As gross as this is, the issue has been around far a long time even with different media. Music is easily accessible regardless of explicit language and content to kids, and there's a lot of examples in this thread about movies.
 

vids

Unconfirmed Member
Jun 10, 2013
161
0
0
I think there are much more constructive ways to spend time with your young child than building kits about games that core value revolves around "headshot" trophies.
 

Plinko

Wildcard berths that can't beat teams without a winning record should have homefield advantage
Jul 31, 2007
39,660
0
0
The only game I see there that children "shouldn't" be playing is Gears.
You're ok with 7 year old kids playing Call of Duty?
 

Northeastmonk

Member
Mar 18, 2013
11,412
890
770
Omaha, NE - USA
When some of us were young we had a huge market of toys making us feel that being gross was cool. I don't know if they still make stuff like Creepy Crawlers or the faces that ooze out eatable snot and mucus. We were all maturing into a more acceptable era of violence and stuff they consider unsuitable for kids.

As gross as this is, the issue has been around far a long time even with different media. Music is easily accessible regardless of explicit language and content to kids, and there's a lot of examples in this thread about movies.
The parental sticker on CDs made you feel like you were cool owning it. Now it's just everywhere and anywhere. We use to think the edited versions were cool because they had to edit out the word. Now no one wants an edited CD.
 

Warm Machine

Member
Jun 9, 2004
15,813
63
1,415
Vancouver
firebase.ca
As gross as this is, the issue has been around far a long time even with different media. Music is easily accessible regardless of explicit language and content to kids, and there's a lot of examples in this thread about movies.
It is possible to like the toys and not play the games. I've personally bought a ton of Halo Megabloks for myself as I love the ship/vehicle designs. My son plays them but cannot use twin sticks to save his life.
 

zackmorris

Member
Jul 16, 2013
3,503
77
435
MA
This isn't new and certainly isn't exclusive to video games. When I was kid I had Predator toys, Alien toys, Terminator toys, Rambo toys etc etc. All of which were based on R rated movies which is somewhat similar to an M rating on a game. I thought the toys were really cool, but at 6 years old I had little knowledge of the source material, to me they were just cool toys. I really don't see what the issue here is.

I don't think you need specific knowledge of Call of Duty to think those toys are cool. I've played most Call of Duty games and still couldn't name 3 characters from the franchise.
 

Goldenroad

Member
Jun 14, 2012
8,423
0
0
Canada
The only game I see there that children "shouldn't" be playing is Gears.
In Gears you shoot fictional alien creatures, in COD you shoot realistic looking human characters...I'm failing to see how anyone could view Gears as being the "worse" of the two.
 

a.wd

Member
Mar 16, 2007
3,887
0
0
uk
You can get action figures from loads of film/media that is supposed to be for adults. I don't see that as strange when you have deeply evocative adverts and games reports in places that kids can see them and become interested in the lore. As a kid watching the call of duty adverts would make you interested in the world and your dad probably plays it in the house.

I don't see that as strange, what is way more concerning to me is the idea that kids can walk into gamestores and buy the Damn game.