Do video game publishers misrepresent their games in order to get lower ratings?


There’s some sort of video game developer conference going on in Motreal this week (titled, to use its full name, the Montreal International Game Summit), and an interesting charge was just levied there. The CEO of A2M (the company that developed Wet), Rémi Racine, said that some game publishers will go out of their way to deceive the ESRB in order to get a lower rating for their games. You know how Hollywood tries hard to make sure the summer blockbusters are rated no higher than PG-13 in order to ensure a large audience? Same thing with video games, apparently. Why release an M-rated game, and know that your limiting your potential audience, when you can eek out with a T rating?

Of course, this is the opinion of one man, and not to be taken as the gospel truth. But what he said makes sense, at least on the surface:

As a developer who has worked with a lot of different publishers, we’re aware of many that have tried to cheat the rating. They say to the ERSB that it’s a Teen rating rather than an Mature to try and sell more; you can do this just by sending them a video that doesn’t show the most violent stuff and then you’ll get the rating that you want rather than the rating you should get.

Again, we have no way of knowing if this guy is speaking truthfully, but it doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Of course, then you run into all sorts of issues that I can just picture some grand-standing politician exploiting i.e. the ESRB has failed us, so we need tighter regulations.