Posted on June 25, 2007, Shawn Sines ESRB Responds to Dark Sector Trailer Removal Requests
Gaming Today contacted the ESRB earlier to ask for the ratings boards reasoning and justification on requesting D3 Publisher request the removal of two previously released Gameplay Trailers for their forthcoming game Dark Sector from public websites. ESRB President Patricia Vance had this to say about the action:
“The ESRB’s Advertising Review Council (ARC) regularly monitors game ads and trailers to make sure that they adhere to industry-adopted Principles and Guidelines for Responsible Advertising Practices (http://www.esrb.org/ratings/principles_guidlines.jsp), which were established in 2000. Since 2005, ARC guidelines have required that trailers for M-rated games on publisher websites be displayed behind an age gate to help restrict viewing to those visitors who are 17 and older. Game publishers are also required to use best efforts with respect to ensuring the presence of age gates on third party websites that display their M-rated game trailers. If a third party site insists on carrying a trailer for an M-rated game without placing it behind an age gate, our guidelines require the publisher to request that such trailer be removed and/or provide an edited version of the trailer to be used in its place.
“However, the mere presence of an age gate does not permit a publisher to simply put whatever content it wishes into the trailer. All trailers must still conform to ARC’s Principles and Guidelines, which prohibit the display of excessively violent content or any content likely to cause serious offense to the average consumer. When ESRB notifies a publisher that the content in a trailer is in violation of these ARC requirements, or that there is an age gate issue on a third party site, that publisher then must notify third party sites to rectify the problem. The notices issued recently by game publishers to third party websites are simply that – steps in a chain of publisher compliance with ARC guidelines and the ESRB enforcement system that have been occurring since their establishment seven years ago.”
Unfortunately, this was a prepared statement so I was unable to quiz Ms. Vance on exactly what content was found to be “obscene” by the ratings council’s ARC committee. Publsiher D3 still has not responded directly to our requests for comment at this time. This is the first time I can recall hearing about the ARC or seeing it act to request a recall on a previously published game video.
Regardless one of the questions still left unanswered is “What if a publisher declines?”