Stung by criticism that they are marketing adult-oriented videogames to children, Canadian retailers and gaming software makers on Oct. 14 unveiled a self-regulating initiative.

TORONTO (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Stung by criticism that they are marketing adult-oriented videogames to children, Canadian retailers and gaming software makers on Oct. 14 unveiled a self-regulating initiative.

The Commitment to Parents campaign combines information about a nationwide Canadian videogame rating system with controls at the cash register to guard against the sale or rental of games rated M (mature) to those younger than 17.

Participating Canadian retailers have agreed not to sell or rent videogames rated AO (adults only) to customers under 18.

The effort to keep videogames with violent content out of kids' hands was launched by the Retail Council of Canada, which represents such major domestic retailers as Best Buy, Blockbuster Canada and Toys 'R' Us; the Entertainment Software Assn. of Canada; and the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

The awareness campaign will continue into next year to educate parents about the rating system.

The provincial government in British Columbia in 2001 introduced the Video Games Act to restrict the sale of mature videogames to minors.

Faced with the prospect of similar regulation nationwide, the Canadian retail industry decided to regulate itself.