Xbox 360 to feature parental controls

Xbox 360In a statement that is sure to please parental lobby groups as well as "douchebag" lawyer Jack Thompson; Microsoft has stated that the Xbox 360 will feature a childlock ability. Parents will be able to prevent their children from playing games that are rated above a specified age limit. The kid's ages will be entered into the console in advance and the Xbox will read the age rating on any software entered into the console.

This kind of feature feels like a knee jerk reaction designed to stem the flow of criticism levied at violent game development. However it's very likely that the feature will not prevent articles highlighting the influencing nature of violent games on children. Parents that want kids to stay away from violent games will do anything they can to prevent them for accessing them. But some less responsible parents allow their children to play any kind of games due to lack of caring/understanding about ratings systems. Whilst this feature may be useful to the former type of parent, it will not change the habits of the latter. A much better tactic would be to provide some form of advisory slip with each Mature game sold. If the game developers paid for this there would be much less oppurtunity for attack by the anti-violent gaming mob.

No doubt this kind of feature will become standard across the industry in no time. I guess that's one less thing for the lobby groups to complain about.

[Via The Inquirer]

Update: I re-wrote the second paragraph to clarify my opinions on the parental lock feature. I was more than a bit off target in my first attempt. D'oh!

This article was originally published on Joystiq.