ESRB Head Explains How DLC & Ratings Work

This morning we posted a story from from MTV Multiplayer regarding the ESRB’s position on downloadable content (DLC).

We heard back from the ESRB with a clarification from president Patricia Vance (left):

Companies are free to offer downloadable content to their games as long as the pertinent content is the same as the core product. If it isn’t, they have to submit it to the ESRB.

If the downloadable content earns a more restrictive (higher) age rating, and it is of an optional nature, it must display the new rating prior to the user downloading it. The core product’s rating won’t change, unless the new downloadable content is part of a required patch, as is typically the case with MMOs that must be patched in order to play.

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  1. 0
    DarknessDeku ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If we are going to ger a T15+ rating, will everybody be carded like when you get an M rated game? If so, what if people start getting carded for the normal T rating?

  2. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    E. Zachary Knight
    I might be projecting my discontent alil,still the ESRB is unhelpful by remaining silent over it.
    they should say ever once and again over what the console makers are up to and if consumers want it they should beg them for it.

    this is true and if you look at a lot of games like castlvina for instance its not much more rough than a PG13 flick but because tis a game its M.

    Halo is also something that is not quite M un less you count the racist and cussing 13 year olds online, Metroid prime 2 could well fit into a T15 level, look at PEGI and some of your other ratings boards across the world,ya that got issues but most openly use a mid teen level and some of your ESRB M games winde up there more often than not.

    There really is a need for for it IMO and it will aid M being more “mature” without crossing past the NC17 line easily, one of the things holding down M is that covers everything above 13,if we can take some pressure off it and slot less graphic content into a 15 level I feel the industry will automatically right itself and start handling M more maturely .

    Currently we have 6+,10+,13+ and 17+ as the mainly used jumping points for age ranges,I believe a 15 level would really polish up the system, its true AO is not fully their fault but by ignoring it and not stating that the console makers have to agree to use it, it just makes my blood boil.

    I find it funny MS is not actively using AO they have many games that could use T&A/basic nudity and high gore to push products why they are not using it I do not understand.

    MS dose have a solid enough platform if they would stick their buts from their ears and fix it and use AO in a immaturely mature fashion(lets face it T&A is inmature :P) you would create a platform for interactive media that more devs would come to so they can not be as heavily censored on it as they are on other consoles.

    And just so you know I am not talking about porn, even if DOA vollyball went topless or had full nudity the lower part would be bear like a doll, they are glorified dolls after all, and this is titlation not porn a huge diffrance, this could open up more small nude roles in games, sex not so much,even on the big screen its frowned on,nudity is a bit easier to do.

    “Porn” on mainstream consoles wont be happening in the US anytime soon, even I get that and that I can live with it( I have board band after all lulz), however pushing games to be “equal” with film is something I just will not let go.

    MH2 the kill scenes go to black and white or look away and other tricks to lessen the visual gore,they cut out 2 or 3 scenes, all in all who are they kidding who are they protecting calling something mature AO, for me high detail bodily functions/ serving,de bolwing,ect,ect would be AO,the dark cartoon(engine used is slightly cartoony or dated) style of violence in MH2 just dose not cut to be ZOMG AO.

    IMO for gore to be AO you are going to need high detail,tossing a mobster into a wood chiper and have 100% hamburger come out thats not even close to ripping bowles out or the details in beheadings and what not.

    Hell zombies( any and all T-M)are more gory than MH2 UNCUT!

    meh zippy rantage is over 9000

  3. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Seriously, just that one little thing and the ESRB ratings are as good and well rounded as ratings can be, at least in my eyes.

  4. 0
    Are'el ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I could see a rating between Teen and Mature. While 2 years isn’t much to an adult, it’s a very big difference in terms of childhood development. So a 15+ rating would fit. Only problem would be, what would you call it? 😉

  5. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    @ Are’el

    It is possible for a game to get an AO rating without nudity and sex. A game can get AO for extreme amounts of violence and gore as well as real gambling. So AO is not just for “porn” games.

    @ Zippy

    I never said that adding a T15 rating is bad. I am saying that messing with the AO rating won’t get us anywhere except maybe a few steps back.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  6. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I just think it would be cool if the ESRB had a 15+ rating for sci-fi games like HALO and Mass Effect, that are a little more than T, but not really M worthy.

  7. 0
    Are'el ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Whos talking about pornography here? I am talking about letting games mature to a level equal to film. “

    They already are allowed. It’s just that not many have been made. But the reason they haven’t been made has nothing to do with the AO rating. Most games that have the maturity of content equal to some films, fit perfectly withing the M rating (and not just because it’s named “Mature”). There have been many games that have had stories that touched on anything you could find in a serious film.

    And we must be talking about pornography, because that’s the only difference between M and AO. Nudity and on-screen sex. That’s it. So if you really aren’t talking about Strong Sexual Content, then it falls in the realm of M, which are carried by the consoles and sold in stores. If those games haven’t lived up to the “maturity level” you’re looking for, then consider talking with the developers of the gaming industry. It’s certainly within their power to make and sell them. I always thought games like Indigo Prophesy and The Longest Jouney were fairly mature.

  8. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well I would suspect some retail chains would not sell them but the industry is blocking the exsistance of NC17 games so there is no pass go there is not get out of jail card..

  9. 0
    Cheater87 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    NC 17 games are allowed to be sold in all the big box stores. Its because they are not rated at all. I wish games can be released unrated with extra stuff like movies can. No one bitches about unrated versions of R rated movies.

  10. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    E. Zachary Knight
    I disagree,even with AO being a bastardized NC17 we still need a solid 15/16 level, there are to many titles that can go vaguely in either direction, like E10 we need a mid step to Mature from teen,otherwise throw out E10 because there is no need for a “middle” rating level under any circumstance.

    Whos talking about pornography here? I am talking about letting games mature to a level equal to film.

  11. 0
    Are'el ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As for the main issue, I think we have to remember that this announcement from the ESRB is mostly pointed at T rated games, not M. In order to get an M upgraded to an AO, you have to add nudity or on-screen sex. And the vast majority of developers are not going to do that, even for DLC. So now that I think about it more, barring another “Hot Coffie” incident, GTA4 is a non-issue.

    Rather, this is all about the often blurry line between Teen and Mature. When have you crossed the line in terms of violence? How many swear words are too many? Is drug use blatant or merely suggested? Yes, Teen games that have DLC are the ones that have to be mindful of this proclamation, not Mature games.

  12. 0
    Are'el ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I have to agree with E. Zachary Knight. There’s nothing wrong with the AO rating. It’s simply a label for nudity and on-screen sex at this point. If you really want those things, then it’s not the ESRB you have to convince, but Sony, Nintendo, and Mircosoft. If you can plead the case that there’s a big enough market for pornographic material (big enough to outweigh the public outcry that would follow), then they’d probably do it. You’d also probably have to find a way to make sure minor couldn’t buy them at stores, considering that ESRB regulation at stores is currently voluntary (as it should be). But parents are definitely not going to be happy if 14 year olds can take an AO game to the counter and buy it on their own.

    Or you could just buy a goddamn computer and stop belly-aching about it. The PC has a lot of games with pornographic material, and most of it isn’t even submitted to the ESRB for ratings.

  13. 0
    mogbert ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I don’t think any publisher can be held accountable for user created content.

    Let’s face it, what will happen is what I’d like to call the Gabe Incident. Pretty much it theorizes that if anything user created can be formed into a wang, it will be.

  14. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    @ Zippy

    The ESRB has done all it can with the AO rating. You need to stop yelling at them to fix the problem.

    The AO rating is now in the console company and retailers court. It is up to them to fix the situation.

    Having the ESRB shuffle the ratings will not fix the problem. It will either remain the same or get worse.

    The AO rating is fine. If you want it, you need to convince the console companies and the retailers that there is a viable market for those games before you will see any change.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  15. 0
    Stinking Kevin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think WarOtter has established that he understands what user generated content is. I think his point is being missed: If the publisher can be seen as officially publishing downloadable content, what difference does it make who originally generated the content?

    It seems to me the question is not just about who created the content, but also about who is distributing it. If you are saying that DLC and “UGC” are mutually exclusive, I disagree.

    Unless I misunderstand, that Forza content is not being downloaded independently, through some third-party, from the open wilds of the internet; it is being distributed exclusively through Microsoft’s private, fully controlled, subscription-based, walled-garden Xbox Live service.

    I’m not sure how the ESRB should handle the Forza content (if at all), and I’m not sure where you draw the line between “online play” and “downloadable content,” but I am pretty sure it’s not so simple as publisher- vs. user-generated.

  16. 0
    Minshi Hunter ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Or, one last consideration… is this the ESRB giving a rubber stamp to self-rate DLC with a requirement to submit it to the full ESRB if the self-rating seems to go up? (Which is REALLY bad, considering, you know, that Oblivion was originally rated T, and RockStar believes Manhunt 2 deserved an M without the cuts…)

    In which case, that is NUTS. I could see being given a quick glance over item packs or car packs or what have you, but, anything SHORT of that should require the ESRB to look it over. Even a courtesy glance, even for the item packs.

  17. 0
    Minshi Hunter ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    From the Article: If the downloadable content earns a more restrictive (higher) age rating, and it is of an optional nature, it must display the new rating prior to the user downloading it. The core product’s rating won’t change, unless the new downloadable content is part of a required patch, as is typically the case with MMOs that must be patched in order to play.

    Doesn’t this already happen with XBOX Marketplace? In the little side bar with the information, it lists the rating for the new content, or has the DLC for it been allowed to add the original rating unchecked?

    It ALSO sounds like a DLC can be made (if Microsoft would publish it) to raise the rating from M to AO. The one thing this might mean, is that it gets more intrusive. For example, you choose to download something that has a content rating not in the original (the DLC has L for language, or even a full AO rating), you click the button to download it, the screen goes white, shows the AO in the left half, have the right half have all the content rating and descriptors with boxes like
    [ ] I hereby declare that I read and understanding the ratings.
    [ ] I do not wish to download content with vile language.
    Or, you know, maybe more of “Agree” “Decline”, making another screen you have to click through when you buy something.
    However, with the rise of false currency, like the WII Points (no DLC there yet though), or the Marketplace Credits or whatever they are called, does that mean you can no longer give your kids credits and say go wild? (Though that WOULD be the parents responsibility not any of the companies.)

    So, am I completely misreading what it means, since everyone else seems to say it HAS to confine to exactly the same rating and descriptors or raise the overall rating, the last part seems to refute that?

  18. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dark Sovereign/Are’el

    AO is being used to ban or cripple violent games, AO is dead and everyone knows itthe console makers can block porn games out right, hell the consoles makers can let in some AO titles but they refuse to handle review approvals.

    AO is dead its an infecaint rating level thats to sweeping in its ban, however I would stipulate you could keep it use it for the real “pornographic” titles but make it where a new teen level 15/16 wil be the new mature level at least in the since it will pick up all the games to hard for 13 and to lite for Mature (Halo,metroid,ect,ect) this lets the mature level handle the unedited side of gaming for isntantce manhunt 2.

    AO should be the NC17 marker for gaming it is not its used to childishly force some games to redo things when these games are already made for adults.

    AO as it is dose not work either fix it or drop it, continuing the staus quo only grows my discontent with the process, there should be no difference in film and game rating levels , how a topless nude DOA volleyball game can be slapped with a AO yet the movie version would be a an R, I don’t buy the made up excuses for a seconded, do it get it done, retail will avoid the the “hotter” titles aiding the the use of a fully working ratings system.

    With AO being nerfed the ESRB is the death star minus the mega canon and shields.

    For games under the age of 17 ya I can see the need for limiting the content to that age cap,however for 17plus, SCREW IT, there is and I repeat there is no need to nanny it.

  19. 0
    IllegallyMindedJohn says:

    This is interesting. I wonder if a company will ever decide to sell an almost empty game (the basic core) for full price, with the intent to release free DLC that is of varying flavors and ratings? Allowing them to sell the core game at E rating lvl, distributed by all major stores, in most regions… and then with simple credit card or whatever check the user can DL the beef of the game in E up to M or even Ao versions as DLC.

    It’s an interesting concept. And I know it’s almost useless as a “why not just do full digital distribution?”. And the reason would probably be that currently, DD isn’t going to sell as much to as many.

    Just an intriguing thought..

  20. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Warotter

    Thats User Generated Content (UGC from here on in) not DLC. It would be impossable to police, though I can agree that sort of thing should raise the rating, though there is a disclaimer on boxes along the lines of “Gameplay may change online”.

  21. 0
    WarOtter ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I agree with the comments agreeing that DLC should conform to the game rating, but here is another example:

    In Forza Motorsport 2, there is an extremely versatile graphic editor for creating car designs, which you can then trade and auction within the game using money earned in the game. Essentially you are downloading ‘skins’ for the cars (as well as ownership of the car itself). Now the thing is, because of its power for graphic design, many MANY designs go way beyond M rating, featuring graphic and extremely explicit sexual images (which I have no problem with) but these would certainly raise the E for everyone rating the game has at least to M if the designers had included any of these skins. So now, since you have adult material available via download through the game itself, should this change the rating, even though these were user generated?

    (This example does not take into account the moderation by Turn10 employees who do what they can to restrict the trade and posting of pornographic cars.)

  22. 0
    AM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The new clarifications are much more palatable to me. It had seemed before, that if you released DLC that was M content for a T game, you’d have to re-rate your whole game. Turns out you only have to re-rate if it’s a mandatory update/patch. Most non-MMO DLC is just going to have to have the DLC rated independently of the game, which is reasonable and responsible.

  23. 0
    Dark Sovereign ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Stinking Kevin

    In this particular situation the content can be recalled far easier. They don’t have to rennovate discs unless they plan on keeping the content. I doubt that any developer would add something that would change the rating. I figure that would change the tone, which isn’t what a developer usually wants.

  24. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    IT seems to me that she is trying to avoid confusion for the consumer. If the publisher releases a game that has a T rating, the customer expects all content produced by the publisher to be T rated. Say that the publisher releases DLC that would warrant an M rating. How is the customer supposed to know if it is not rated. They would download the content and find out that it was not what they expected and that could cause problems.

    This is a good preemptive move. DLC has not really been a big thing until this generation. Previously, most extra content was in the form of expansion packs that were rated. Now publishers can release content without going through retail channels.

    Things change and the ESRB is trying to adapt to those changes before it gets out of hand.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  25. 0
    DarknessDeku ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I don’t see why both gamers and nongamers are still making a big deal out of the rating system.

    Leave it alone. It is fine where it is at.

  26. 0
    Stinking Kevin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Dark Sovereign
    “Her only enforcement power is to change the rating.”

    Yes, I suppose that has always been the case, but when the ESRB changed the rating on GTA:SA and Oblivion, the costs of recalling the originals and re-printing boxes fell on the publishers, right? Expensive, but understandable, since the cases were made that both Rockstar and Bethesda were not 100% in compliance with their contractual obligations to reveal all potentially offensive content contained in the game code.

    That is a little different from a situation I can imagine. Let’s say I am a publisher who has paid to have a game rated and who has complied completely with all contractual obligations. Let’s say it gets a “T.” What if I then release controversial DLC content a year later, which I judge to also deserve a “T” rating, but which the ESRB considers worthy of an “M.”

    As you point out, Vance’s comments suggest the ESRB could re-rate the original game “M,” but who is responsible for executing that re-rating? Who pays for the recall or re-packaging? If I am a publisher who releases after-market DLC that I honestly in good faith consider to be “T” rated, I have complied completely with all ESRB regulations. Can the ESRB actually force me to swallow the financial and cultural costs involved with re-rating a game that has already been on store shelves for a year?

    (And even if it can, should it be able to? It doesn’t seem fair. Of course, in real life, it would be cheaper for the publisher to just pull the DLC and keep the ESRB happy, but that is not the point I’m trying to make here.)

  27. 0
    Stinking Kevin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @WarOtter, Dark Sovereign
    Actually, maybe it might. WarOtter’s Unreal example is of user-generated content that is also publisher-condoned. The Sims and Neverwinter Nights come to mind as other examples of game series whose publishers actively promote (and often redistribute) user-generated content.

    I understand, one way or another, it’s still easy enough to draw a line between “user generated” and “publisher distributed,” but I’m not sure it’s 100% clear where that line should be drawn. If a publisher redistributes user-generated content for free on a website it owns, does that make it officially part of the game and subject to these ESRB guidelines? What if the publisher doesn’t host the content on its own site, but links to a user-run site that does?

    In any case, I am still not sure if Vance’s comments indicate “the way it is” or “the way it should be.” Is she describing an actual aspect of a publisher’s current contractual obligations with ESRB, or is she just describing how she thinks DLC should be handled by publishers, even though there’s really no way for the board to actually enforce it?

  28. 0

    […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt This morning we posted a story from from MTV Multiplayer regarding the ESRB’s position on downloadable content (DLC). We heard back from the ESRB with a clarification from president Patricia Vance (left): Companies are free to offer downloadable content to their games as long as the pertinent content is the same as the core product. If it isn’t, they have to submit it to the ESRB. […]

  29. 0
    WarOtter ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Any idea what this might mean for User Generated content? I mean, lets say someone builds a map in the Make Something Unreal tournament, and somewhere in the map is something (like an image or whatever) that would increase UT3’s rating. If Epic were to then encourage people to download it free of charge to vote on the winner, what then?

  30. 0
    DavCube ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That sounds reasonable enough. Keep the mature DLC in T games limited to user-generated things, not ones from the company itself.

    Well… you get what i mean.

  31. 0
    Are'el ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Possibly. Will GTA4 have DLC? If it does, then considering how much publicity GTA gets, then it’s understandable that this was brought up beforehand.

    Or it could just be a coincidence.

  32. 0
    Stinking Kevin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why would these guidelines for downloadable add-on content mentioned in Vance’s discussion have anything to do with the release of the “AO”-rated director’s cut of Manhunt 2 — through digital download or otherwise?

    Maybe the point the MTV article (and GP?) is trying to make is that it would be against guidelines to release an “AO” add-on for an “M”-rated game? If so, that point is unclear (and also largely unremarkable IMO). The comment also seems to suggest that the “AO”-caliber content in Manhunt 2 is still coded on the “M”-version discs; just waiting to be “unlocked.” Remembering Hot Coffee, I am not sure that is the case, either.

    The only other problem I have with this is that it seems to call on publishers to rate their own after-market content — a conflict of interest. For the most part, this may not be a big problem in practice, but there have already been instances in which publishers and ESRB have had different interpretations of content guidelines (again, remembering Hot Coffee).

  33. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    This is a pretty good idea. I think what she is refering to is added levels and such on already rated games.

    BY this, she is saying that the DLC for GTAIV cannot include a Hot Coffee level because it would change the rating of the game from M to AO.

    Adding new cars and weapons will not effect the game’s rating.

    User created content will never be rated and can’t be controlled. You cannot punish the publisher because some kid will be spouting racist or homophobic trash talk during a death match. That will never happen. That is why they include the “Experience may change with online play” proviso.

    Now if a developer or publisher wants to release something that would be a higher rating, I am sure that the ESRB would be willing to rate that content on its own if needed.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  34. 0
    Eric Lamy says:

    That seems a little bit of an extreme generalization, Pix. Not to say that that isn’t the bread and butter of censorship, but I think 10 year olds swearing can be filed under “User Generated Content” like anything else.

  35. 0
    Dark Sovereign ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I think that the point they were making is that if DLC has content that would need a higher rating than the original, then the game would be rated higher.

  36. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is only the beginning. Next up, giving all games with online capabilities AO ratings because a 10 year old might swear over the chat lines.

  37. 0
    AM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What concerns me is the possibility of a game the ESRB rated T, but which was right on the border of M (or E, right on the border of T). I’d personally want to be able to tell the ESRB, “Give me the higher rating so you don’t hamstring me on DLC.” If the ESRB offers that option, great, no problem. If the ESRB says, “No, your game got a T, and that’s what it got,” that creates a problem, because then if my borderline game gets some borderline (on the other side of the rating) I may have to censor it.

    I understand what they’re going for. I just hope they’re going to allow publishers to opt for a higher rating if they have DLC planned that might not fit the lower rating. It’s not as cut and dry as I think the ESRB wants to make it.

  38. 0
    Pierre-Olivier ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    They talked about PUBLISHER generated content (quite a mouthful), not user generated content.

    The ESRB know that the publisher have no control on user generated content.

    I think it’s a reasonable decision.

  39. 0
    Fish says:

    Online Experience may affect ESRB rating!

    Anyway, I think this is ADDED content and might be subject to be higher than the original rating to the highest rating of M. There’s no way we’d see anything higher than AO. Also, how often does the added content differ in ratings? Or are we just saying this to avoid another scandal?

    Don’t developers usually have to reapply for a new ESRB rating with each expansion anyway? I know we’re not talking about off-the-shelf here, but what difference does it make?

  40. 0
    Are'el ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Sorry for the copy and paste, but dropping the AO is a very bad idea. Here’s why, from another thread:

    “Ah, but the M rating isn’t technically “for adults.” That’s the whole point of it having the 17+ attached to it. By making it one year younger than legal adult age, it opens up minors as a potential market for the M rated games. Additionally, AO is almost exclusively used for porn games, and very rarely for the truly violent imagery of games like Manhunt 2 (and even then, the AO content had to do with cutting off a man’s testicles). Basically, the AO is about Strong Sexual Content.

    Basically, the one year difference between M and AO (17+, 18+) is a “safety net.” They put the truly objectionable content (porn and hyper violence) in the adult’s only category, which makes M rated games “safe” for sale at stores where people that aren’t legal adults might be able to purchase them.

    The point I’m trying to make is, if you eleminated the AO rating, then you leave the M rating open to even more scrutiny. And many more stores would choose not to carry them, just like they don’t carry AO games. I mean, that would basically put games like Call of Duty in the same category as porn games. Considering the US’s attitude towards letting kids get their hands on sexual content, that would be shooting the gaming industry in the foot.”

    Overall, I agree with the article. If you submit a game for review at the ESRB, and get a certain rating, you should keep future content downloads consistant with that rating. Otherwise you are trying to pull a fast one.

  41. 0

    […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptDownloadable game content must maintain the same rating characteristics as the original game, says ESRB president Patricia Vance (left). MTV Multiplayer reports on comments made by Vance at last week’s MI6 conference: If a [publisher] submits a game to us and it gets a teen rating and then [the publisher] wants to add downloadable content to that game in the future, which is obviously happening a lot today, they have to keep the content in the downloadable product consistent with the core rating. It can’t go out of bounds. […]

  42. 0
    Dark Sovereign ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    The reason they don’t drop it is because their out to rate all games, period, and some games might not get ESRB certification. The AO rating is to flag pornographic content. I would agree with an OT level. Make it 15.

  43. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The only problem I have with this is is selling upgraded content on DLC but still I guess its not to bad to have it standerized…now if the ESRB would drop AO add in 15/16 mature teen level and make 17 Mature the highest level, and let the console makers weed out the OTT content games by simply not approving them.

  44. 0
    Dark Sovereign ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Too many opportunities for lying. I kind of agree with this. If your going to have a product at a certain rating, shoot for consistency.

  45. 0
    Are'el ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    On the gambling, I’ll admit that’s also an AO issue, mainly because only adults are allowed to gamble with real money. As for the “prolonged scenes of intense violence” (as stated by the ESRB website), I suppose that’s also covered by the AO, but I don’t blame the AO for those types of games not being made (or the console makers, really). Rather, I don’t think it would be as lucrative a business choice as some people think, even if stores would carry them. A lot of people are turned off by such intense or realistic violence, even from a gameplay perspective where we run around and shoot virtual people all day. Much in the same way that slasher films don’t get a particularly large following compared to the other genres of film.

    Besides, I’ve played many M rated games that had what I would consider “prolonged scenes of intense violence,” so it would have to be especially intense to garner an AO. Violence just doesn’t get the same attention for AO consideration that sex does. Which is why I keep fixating on “AO being about sex.” But I suppose it isn’t always true, so I’ll try to consider the rating in broader terms from now on.

    I’d be interested in seeing a list of Manhunt 2 changes that dropped it from AO to M. So far, the only example I’ve heard was cutting off a man’s testicles.

  46. 0
    Dark Sovereign ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Halo for OT people

    I think it should be a T game myself. I’ve never seen anything that happened in Halo that was particularly M worthy other than the possibility of tons of alien blood.

  47. 0
    Conejo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    i don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect all DLC for a game to rate at the same level as the original game.

    laying this out on the table now makes sense, since it hasn’t happened yet. now everyone is on the same page as far as content is concerned.

  48. 0
    Dark Sovereign ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    i heard that GTA4 is to have two exclusive DLC content items for the 360, and there is likely to be more content on the side.

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