Underage Players and Esports

As you may know, I’m a father of three awesome kids(19,18,13), and we play a ton of video games.  Hell, we’ve played a ton of competitive video games together as well.  So when I hear things like “thank god this event is 18+) it makes me sad.  At times I have a hard time understanding some of the stupid rules that are set up by gaming companies, federal, and state governments.

Want to drive a car? Get your learners permit at 15 and get an adult to ride around with you. Want to get married to the girl or boy of your dreams?  Not a problem.. you can do that at 14 years of age or younger in some states.  Want to shoot virtual characters in a video game at a LAN/Esports event? Fuck off..  I wish I were joking about the marriage part and the video games competition part.. but, sadly I’m not.

I’m no Lawyer, but for the life of me, I don’t understand how parental consent is not sufficient to allow “little johnny” a chance to play with his friends at an “open” LAN event.  Someone, please explain this to me?  Now, some of you will say “but, they shouldn’t be playing mature games in the first place.”

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(Team Heckleberry pictured above competing at a Call Of Duty LAN event in 2014)

Somewhere, there is a sixteen year of kid who will drive themselves to work tonight after school and work for a few hours at McDonald’s.  Then he/she will drive back home, clean up, finish up any homework they hadn’t finished, play some video games till midnight or so and do it all again tomorrow.  Yet, They’re not mature enough to play video games at a LAN event.

Before I go any further, I want to give you examples of games that are rated Mature, Adult, and Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).  Just a quick note, there are other factors that come into play besides an ESRB rating of a game.

Mature 18+: Grand Theft Auto IV, Nioh, For Honor, and H1Z1: King of the Kill, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and pretty much every Call of Duty game created.

Adult 17+: Hatred, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Manhunt 2, Thrill Kill to name a few.

Teen: Overwatch, Halo 5, etc.

I wonder what sales, DAU’s, MAU’s, DLC sales, for the games listed as Mature or Adult would look like if underage players were blocked from playing the games.  I’ll go out on a limb and say sales and active users would take a massive hit.

Pretty much my entire issue is with “open” style events.  Open events should be just that, open.  This is a great way for these kids to travel to events with their parents(which is fun btw) and see their favorite game being played by their favorite pro players.  The best part is they get a chance to not only meet them, but some even get a chance to play them.

In the past, we’ve seen players who were considered top talent in games swap over from certain FPS console games to Halo 5(Rated Teen btw).  This player went on to win the North American Halo 5 championship with his professional Halo 5 team.  Kids shouldn’t have to stop playing their favorite game so that they can scratch their competitive itch that most all of us have.

I’m sure everyone will bring up traveling, and the full-time commitment required to play for one of the best teams in the world and I get that.  At the end of the day, we should ask the following questions and let parents be parents.

  1. Is the player good enough to play on my pro team?
  2. Is the player 18 or older?
  3. If no, does the player have parental consent and support from their parents?

Leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are on the subject or tweet me.

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