NEW YORK — Oct. 12, 2006 — Claiming the interactive entertainment industry can do more to help families, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft Corp.’s Entertainment and Devices Division, today will outline his vision for safer interactive entertainment that he will actively champion with top leaders in advocacy, business and government. Bach also will launch a nationwide, grassroots campaign with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Best Buy Co. Inc. designed to provide parents and caregivers with information and tools they can use to help make interactive entertainment safer, more secure and fun for children. Starting today in New York City, a 20-city bus tour called “Safety is no game. Is your family set?” will take to the streets to provide hands-on training and education on video games, including how to understand Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings and how to take advantage of Microsoft® Xbox 360™ Family Settings, a feature that allows parents and caregivers to set access restrictions to content on Xbox 360, the Xbox Live® service and Xbox Live Vision camera.
“With success comes responsibility. We are unwavering in our commitment to address the genuine concerns of families on how to keep interactive entertainment safe and fun for our children,” Bach said. “In addition to our current Family Settings feature in Xbox 360, we have built in robust but easy-to-use parental controls in Windows Vista. Windows Vista serves as a good example of how we are working to incorporate the Family Settings feature into our products to ensure that parents can decide and set the parameters for their families.”
According to a recent independent survey of parents and caregivers who have a video game console in their home, almost four out of five (78 percent) are concerned about the content in the video games their children play and the movies they watch on their video game consoles or systems. A majority said they want to be the ones who decide what is right for their family. To help them make those decisions, a majority of those surveyed said they would be interested in having a parental controls setting on video game consoles or systems that would easily allow them to limit their children’s access to mature content, with over one-half (52 percent) saying they would be “very interested” in such a feature.
“Making interactive entertainment safe and secure is an issue of great importance to the families that come to Boys & Girls Clubs of America,” said Frank Sanchez, vice president of Corporate and Partner Relationships at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “From our experience, we know that parents really need simple and direct information. We are delighted to be working with Microsoft to distribute the campaign’s educational curriculum at many of our Clubs nationwide.”
The “Safety is no game. Is your family set?” campaign will showcase ways parents and caregivers can limit children’s exposure to inappropriate video games and movie content. They will also learn how to block unwanted online contacts by using tools such as Xbox 360 Family Settings. The Xbox 360 Family Settings are built around a password-protected feature that lets parents and caregivers decide who their children can interact with online and what video games can be played, based on the game’s ESRB rating. Parents and caregivers can use Family Settings to set permissions that allow all members of the household to enjoy Xbox 360 appropriately, including what DVD movies to allow, as well as controlling the ability to establish Xbox Live memberships and managing access to Xbox Live and Xbox Live Vision camera.
“We joined Microsoft and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to continue educating families about the options available for a safer and more secure entertainment experience, a long-standing commitment for us as a company, in stores and online,” said Jill Hamburger, vice president of gaming at Best Buy. “We’re proud to be part of this campaign. The bus tour will be a fun way to connect with families, share a lot of useful information and play some great games.”
“At Microsoft, providing a safer, more secure environment with appropriate content for all consumers has been a part of the Xbox® story from the very beginning. Along with Best Buy and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we are stepping up to help parents and caregivers get the information they need and want to make the best choices for their children,” Bach said.
Details of the “Safety is no game. Is your family set?” campaign are as follows:
The unveiling of the “Is Your Family Set?” tour bus at the DigitalLife consumer technology conference in New York City, starting today at 2 p.m. at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
A nationwide bus tour visiting 20 cities to inform parents and caregivers about ways to make content-appropriate choices for their families in interactive entertainment, and to learn more about the Xbox 360 Family Settings
A nationwide listening tour to hear the concerns of parents and caregivers regarding their children’s access to age-appropriate, interactive entertainment
Presentations by Microsoft’s Bach to government officials and leaders in advocacy and business
A guide (available online at http://www.xbox.com/isyourfamilyset) to the world of computer and video games for parents and caregivers, school groups, and community organizations
In-store material to promote awareness of the video game rating system, and increased retailer education and training
A national advertising campaign designed to tell parents and caregivers about Xbox 360 Family Settings as well as other resources
The new campaign complements the company’s partnership with Get Net Safe (http://www.staysafe.org), a joint initiative between partners in government, the non-profit sector and Microsoft to raise consumers’ awareness of computing security and Internet safety.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique interactive entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. The system was first launched in North America, Europe and Japan in 2005, and then in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) comprises a national network of more than 3,900 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving some 4.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6 to18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About Best Buy Co. Inc.
Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is an innovative Fortune 100 growth company that continually strives to create superior customer experiences. Through more than 1,100 retail stores across the United States, Canada and in China, our employees connect customers with technology and entertainment products and services that make life easier and more fun. We sell consumer electronics, home-office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services. A Minneapolis-based company, our operations include: Best Buy (BestBuy.com and BestyBGuy.ca) Future Shop (FutureShop.ca), Geek Squad (GeekSquad.com and GeekSquad.ca), Pacifica Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers (PacificSales.com), Magnolia Audio Video (Magnoliaav.com) and Jiangsu Five Star Appliance Co. (Five-Star.cn). We support our communities through employee volunteerism and grants from The Best Buy Children’s Foundation.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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