While the ESRB has had its fair share of controversy, a survey study by the Harrison Group and Activision suggest that the ratings are having an effect. Eighty-four percent of parents were “very familiar” with the ESRB rating system and seventy-nine percent said they pay close attention to the ESRB ratings. Over half of the parents (56%) consider the ESRB rating as their top purchase influencer when they are purchasing a game for a child. Fifty two percent of parents take it a step further by researching games by reading websites before buying a title for their kids. The numbers look favorable, but there is a sharp decline between parents that are familiar with the ESRB ratings versus the parents that consider them as their top purchasing influence. It looks like there is an even chance that a parent would consider the ESRB ratings versus ignoring them. The ESRB ratings are just like any other rating system, a suggestion. It’s up to parents to decide what is acceptable and not acceptable for their children and the 52% of parents doing pre-purchase research on games are doing that. I wonder what are the other 48% of parents consider before buying a game. The cover art?