ESRB Relaxes Rules For M-Rated Trailers, Kills Age Gate
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is the industry’s method of regulating itself so the government doesn’t step in with its heavy-handed censorship and tell us what we can and can’t enjoy. While the ESRB’s far from perfect, its’ an organization that’s willing to evolve with the times and meet the demands of the industry it represents, the public, and the media surrounding it.
To that end, the ESRB has confirmed that it’s set a set of new, relaxed rules for publishers to follow that will allow game publishers to put up trailers of their M-rated titles (like God of War: Ascension and Dead Space 3) without an age-gate. Previously, publishers had a duty to inform members of the press to hide trailers and videos for M-rated games behind a pesky age gate that served only to hinder viewers and force them to set up their age to view each video.
The ruling reads as follows: “A trailer, demo, or video (of any length) for a Mature-rated game that has been deemed suitable for a general audience through the ESRB pre-clearance process will not require an age-gate. Please note that pre-clearance of Mature-rated game trailers posted without an age-gate is mandatory and must be submitted to [the ESRB].”
The new rules take effect immediately, so expect Steam to get rid of its age gates on each of its videos as soon as the ruling travels down the grapevine.
The only trailers unchanged by the ruling are those with an Adults Only (AO) rating, but hardly any games are given that rating so it shouldn’t matter anyway.