ESRB Changes

A story on NYTimes.com is titled "Busy Job of Judging Video-Game Content to Be Ceded to Machines," though that's a little misleading, as what's really happening is that the ESRB will begin giving games ratings based on surveys filled out by the developers, though they add that: "Major retail games — the ones advertised on television and stocked by Wal-Mart — will still be evaluated by real people. For now." They explain that there eventually be post-release testing: "All games rated via this new process will be tested by E.S.R.B. staff shortly after they are made publicly available to verify that disclosure was complete and accurate." They do note that the games don't actually get play-tested under the current system either:
The human game classifiers who will soon be ceding work to machines don’t actually play the games. Instead they watch a DVD submitted by a game’s publisher that is supposed to include the raunchiest and most violent scenes, if any. So they have not been experiencing games as they are played.
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11.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 19, 2011, 06:54
11.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 19, 2011, 06:54
Apr 19, 2011, 06:54
 
well.. as a parent I will play devils advocate here..
the ratings are very good for small children as you can thenbe sure they can actually play the game. On the subject of violence, I would say parenting is an art form, and while I wouldnt buy anything too violent for my kid It has to be said I grew up shooting little animated cartoons,dismembering ogres <moonstone-amiga>, playing ultraviolent football <speedball> beating little sprites to death (street fighter), ripping their spines out -mortal k.), sawing demons and soldiers in half <doom1>, eating dog food while killing germans <wolvenstein> and none of that seems to have rubbed off in my real life
F.
10.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 19:46
10.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 19:46
Apr 18, 2011, 19:46
 
Dev wrote on Apr 18, 2011, 19:20:
Oh and "stocked by Wal-Mart" doesn't mean "major retail games" to me. I've seen total crap junk there.

I think this is more of a non-retail thing, e.g. mobile games, Facebook games, other PC indie games.
9.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 19:20
Dev
9.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 19:20
Apr 18, 2011, 19:20
Dev
 
You know, if you watch movie interviews or MPAA ratings discussions with directors, they often are able to get the rating reduced to an R instead of NC17 on appeal because of the movie context, i.e. what happens in the surrounding minutes, not just the scene itself. For example, if its a comedy thing, or art thing, its more likely to have allowances made.

If the ESRB is like this (and I have no idea if they are) this change just means they will be more harsh on rating since they only see 30 second video clips of the most explicit scenes.

Oh and "stocked by Wal-Mart" doesn't mean "major retail games" to me. I've seen total crap junk there.

The Half Elf wrote on Apr 18, 2011, 17:15:
This is EXACTLY how it is Creston. I worked at a Gamestop during Xmas and let me tell you it was sad. Roughly 1 in 20 parents buying a game for their kids actually cared about the rating and told the child that they couldn't have it. The rest didn't even bat a eyelash when we told them it was M rated and the reason's it was M rated.
I'm impressed the store informed them, and even more disgusted with the parents who were verbally informed and still got it.
8.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 17:15
8.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 17:15
Apr 18, 2011, 17:15
 
Creston wrote on Apr 18, 2011, 11:06:
Everyone will still ignore the ratings, parents will still buy M rated games for their 9 year olds, causing the government to bleat that it needs more laws in order to do what parents are too fucking lazy to do.

ca plus ce change etc.

Creston

This is EXACTLY how it is Creston. I worked at a Gamestop during Xmas and let me tell you it was sad. Roughly 1 in 20 parents buying a game for their kids actually cared about the rating and told the child that they couldn't have it. The rest didn't even bat a eyelash when we told them it was M rated and the reason's it was M rated.
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7.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 16:47
7.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 16:47
Apr 18, 2011, 16:47
 
Better yet, why not just trust that the developers and publishers aren't going to let little Timmy's avatar dress himself in entrails and rape kittens? They could just put an ESRB-style stamp on the box telling you exactly what's going in it.
6.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 15:47
6.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 15:47
Apr 18, 2011, 15:47
 
Seriously, why not just hire some game savvy people to actually play the games? Why such a byzantine method of rating? It's like judging a film from someone's written description of it, or judging a book by interpretive dance.
5.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 14:54
5.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 14:54
Apr 18, 2011, 14:54
 
If they're still going to bother to assess the content post-release, what is the point of changing the system? It just prevents them from catching anything unexpected before the damage is done. The Times article mentioned there will be "penalties for nondisclosure". That's well and good, but it's the industry as a whole that suffers if the ESRB misleads parents and it becomes a scandal that prompts more restrictive legislation.

I suspect that the "post release testing" will be very minor if it's performed at all. After all, the public will be able to test the game at that stage. Not really testing post release the only way to explain exactly how the ESRB is saving money with this move.
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4.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 11:30
Kxmode
 
4.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 11:30
Apr 18, 2011, 11:30
 Kxmode
 
Common Sense Media seems to actually play test and rate based on content
"The present is a veil between anticipation and horror. Lift the veil... and madness may follow." source
Avatar 18786
3.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 11:15
3.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 11:15
Apr 18, 2011, 11:15
 
I'm worried this will reduce the number of games that get those ESRB description paragraphs. There's something about the writing style and the subject matter that make them so interesting.
2.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 11:10
Kxmode
 
2.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 11:10
Apr 18, 2011, 11:10
 Kxmode
 
I'd like to suggest new ratings:

Rated C for Casual
Rated S for Stupid
Rated WT for Wasting Time
Rated WDYSPTGADYH for Why Don't You Stop Playing This Game And Do Your Homework.
"The present is a veil between anticipation and horror. Lift the veil... and madness may follow." source
Avatar 18786
1.
 
Re: ESRB Changes
Apr 18, 2011, 11:06
1.
Re: ESRB Changes Apr 18, 2011, 11:06
Apr 18, 2011, 11:06
 
Everyone will still ignore the ratings, parents will still buy M rated games for their 9 year olds, causing the government to bleat that it needs more laws in order to do what parents are too fucking lazy to do.

ca plus ce change etc.

Creston
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