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Can the ESRB back off a bit please?

Can the ESRB back off a bit please?


This is nothing about game ratings – well, it is, but it’s nothing about why they’re good or bad, or anything to do with censorship. No, I think the ESRB, PEGI and whatever other ratings boards exist across the world need to back off from their policies of complete transparency. “Why?” you would be right to ask. And I would answer: because they’re ruining all the surprises.

I’ve been seeing it more and more in recent months – as-yet unheard of games (or versions of games) appearing as if from nowhere. No fanfare, no official announcements, just reported on by someone looking at a ratings website. Today it was the turn of Ghost Recon: Predator on PSP – granted, not a huge name likely to make many heads explode with excitement. But the point stands: it’s quite irresponsible of the ratings boards to do this from the perspective of the developers and their marketing crews. From the perspective of gamers? Well it ruins the bloody surprise, doesn’t it?

Obviously this isn’t something that should stay like this throughout – once a game is outed by its creators then please do have full disclosure on your ratings sites. This is something I want to see, as it is absolutely necessary for people to know why things have been rated in the way they have. He says “ass”?! Madness.

There are ways around it – codenames are used quite often by some studios. We’re still waiting on Project Redlime from EA, to be honest. But this necessity for secrecy and clandestine naming practices shouldn’t have to exist in the first place, as exciting as it may seem. If the ratings boards just respect the need for secrecy in the time before a game/version of a game is officially announced it would make my blood boil that little bit less.

Or they could always cover all the bases and let Michael Pachter read out a list of as-yet unannounced games leaked through the ESRB’s site so every news site in the world could report and re-report on it. That actually would make my head explode. And not with excitement.

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  • Dwayne

    Might help if you did a little more research before ranting on a website..
    This is from ESRB.org, on their page that explains their rating process:

    “Unless otherwise requested by the publisher, the complete rating information (rating category, content descriptors, and rating summary) is posted on the ESRB website 30 days following the assignment of the rating.”

    The publisher has the responsibility to inform ESRB that they don’t want their game information released. Not that even if they don’t make that request, the information still sits for 30 days.

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  • Ian Dransfield


    Fair point and I stand corrected, but it isn’t like this is the most serious rant of all time. More just petulantly kicking out at the fact I’ve had a couple of surprises ruined in the past.

    That’s all.