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Self-publishing and CPSIA Amendment...

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PlayCrossbones's picture
Joined: 12/28/2010

I'm curious if any BGDF self-publishers have fully digested and understand what will be required administratively and monetarily to comply with the testing requirements for game products marketed and labeled for ages 8 to adult? This just seems like an unresolved and fluid matter at the moment and another publication hurdle at first sight...any thoughts or comments?

An Amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

Sample text quotation:

The CPSC will take into account economic or other limitations that “small batch manufacturers” may face in third party testing and provide alternative testing requirements for "covered products." If the CPSC determines that no alternative testing requirements are available or economically practicable, the CPSC will exempt small batch manufacturers from the testing requirements. The CPSC may also allow small batch manufacturers to certify products based on documentation that the product complies with another national or international governmental standard or safety requirement. The CPSC may not require third party testing for small batch manufacturers until the CPSC has provided alternative requirements or an exemption. Small batch manufacturers must register with the CPSC before using any alternative testing requirement or exemption.

[“Small Batch Manufacturer” is defined as a manufacturer that has no more than $1,000,000 in total gross revenue from sales in the previous calendar year adjusted annually by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers published by the Department of Labor. Total gross revenue includes all gross revenue from all sales in all consumer products of each entity that the manufacturer controls. Such provisions do not apply to manufacturers of defined durable juvenile products under existing CPSIA Section 104.

“Covered product” is defined as any consumer product manufactured by a small batch manufacturer where there are no more than 10,000 units of the same product manufactured in the previous calendar year.]

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008

Even if you qualify for the exemption your printer should be able to supply you with a certificate to verify that what they produced for you is in compliance.

truekid games
truekid games's picture
Joined: 10/29/2008
the law was passed without

the law was passed without specific enough guidelines, so even the people who passed it don't yet know what counts as testing. for example, there are discussions about whether you have to test components individually, or whether they can just blend the game and test the whole. the law is like, 3 years old now? and they still haven't gotten it sorted out, and to my knowledge haven't even started enforcing it yet. I wouldn't be too concerned, like Dralius said, just go with whatever your printer recommends. now, getting a CE mark... that's a little more relevant.

or, to put it another way- CPSIA was unenforceable before. the amendment seems to make it even softer (if that's possible).

bluepantherllc's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
CPSIA Compliance

We did seek out legal advice on CPSIA compliance when it first came on the scene - and have checked back more than once. And the advice changes as the interpretation of the law and the enforcement of the law appears to change over time. These newer developments are promising, but still not completely clear.

So, we keep documentation on file from our suppliers to show what we use in our products complies.

Our latest release happens to be an abstract game - recommended age is 13+. And we will not be looking for games aimed primarily at younger audiences until the situation is clearer. Part of the reason is that CPSIA is aimed at products that are intended for use by children ages 12 and under.

The law of unintended consequences is clearly at work here. Let's review.

A) Bad things found in imported toys made and marketed by big companies.
B) Unclear all-encompassing legislation creates mini-economic boom for test labs equipped to check toys.
C) Large companies (who were the root cause of the problem) lobby to get an exemption so test labs they own or are closely affiliated with can be considered to meet the "third party" or "independent" test lab status so they can test their own stuff.
D) Every other company in the industry that does not have their own test lab just got an added cost of doing business - estimated at between $1000-$2000 per product tested.
E) In the hobby game industry, if a title sells 3000 copies, it's a hit - so if it costs $1500 to test it, for example, that adds 50 cents to the unit cost for the manufacturer. Typical retail markup of mfg cost is 5x to 6x. So you, the consumer, get to pay $3.00 PER GAME you buy as a result of CPSIA.
F) Quick math: $3 on a $50 game is a 6% price hike to the consumer. If that game cost $7 to make instead of $6.50 , that 50 cent test is about a 15% increase in unit cost to the manufacturer.

How many toys / games will not get manufactured or sold because of this? A whole bunch.

How many children's lives will be improved / saved because of this? Hard to measure. Clearly we need to protect ourselves from harmful products, but how good is the protection when large companies can do their own testing?

It essentially raises the cost of entry to new companies and the cost of doing business for existing companies.

There, I feel better now.

PlayCrossbones's picture
Joined: 12/28/2010
CPSIA and CE compliance

I plan on making some phone calls at some point in attempt to clarify some of the compliance hurdles that hinder the way of publication. Please share your comments if you can help clarify the compliance issues as well...

Some things I'll try to clarify are:

Will a sample game from each small batch production need to be I recall this was the case...and what exceptions might there be?

As I recall, books appear to have an exemption...what about rule sheets, game boards, playing cards...etc...why are they different?

Why would we even need to bother with this testing if small batch products were made in the USA from a qualified source (which is where the compliance should originate)?

It is troubling to think that if we overlook something and are out of compliance...that we would end up with product that could not be sold in any marketplace... other than do you best stay informed?

Would like to know more about the CE certification process as well...please share your comments...

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