Jump to content
LCVG

Rockstar and the ESRB


JFo
 Share

Do you agree with the ESRB for changing the rating of GTA: San Andreas from M to AO?  

1 member has voted

  1. 1. Do you agree with the ESRB for changing the rating of GTA: San Andreas from M to AO?

    • Yes
      10
    • No
      19


Recommended Posts

Very simple, do you think that the ESRB did the right thing by revoking the M rating on the current version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas?

 

I'm inclined to say no, simply because the content in question is not accessible in the retail version of the product. If Rockstar locked it away and did not intend the user to play it, why should that be a factor in the review process?

 

At the same time, the actual content is no worse than that of God of War, a game that I think is much more brutally violent than GTA and features bare-breasted women with whom the player can engage in a sex mini-game upon beating the first level. Why that game gets away with an M while San Andreas gets slapped with an AO seems completely inconsistent.

 

So, where do you stand?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rockstar/Take Two knowingly distributed content on their disc that wasn't approved. They disavowed any knowledge of the content claiming it was produced by modders & hackers whilst in fact it had been produced by their developers & left behind on disc, with all code intact. They knowingly lied to the media & to the regulatory board governing this industry when this industry is already under increasing scrutiny & pressure to change its system of voluntary ratings.

 

For that they deserved a big fat bitch slap by the ESRB. The entire ESRB system is built around a large big dose of trust - the publisher tells the ESRB what content is in the game (there's a big long questionnaire that goes into a lot of detail) & provides about an hour of video showing extended sequences throughout the game.

 

Did they deserve an AO+ rating? No clue. Haven't thought about. Don't know the guidelines for the AO+ rating for ESRB reviewers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I lost some respect for Rockstar but, despite their bad management of this crisis, the game content isn't significantly altered enough to justify a rating change from 'M' to 'AO'.

Also factoring in the hoops a user must jump through to get the scene to appear on the PS2 (to my knowledge it hasn't been done on the Xbox version yet). It's not like it's out in the open for anyone to just stumble upon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion, games should only be rated based on what content is available or unlockable in-game, and not what is available using external patches or tools. So I don't agree with the new rating.

 

Going by this precedent, shouldn't all the M-rated versions of Leisure Suit Larry: MCL be re-rated to AO? After all, it's possible to remove all of the in-game censorship using a small patch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I lost some respect for Rockstar but, despite their bad management of this crisis, the game content isn't significantly altered enough to justify a rating change from 'M' to 'AO'.

 

I totally agree with this, as well as the assessment of how ridiculous it is that our country treats sex with such taboo while shooting a cop in the face is no big deal. However, I think the ESRB was PISSED at being lied to (and it makes them look bad too, to the uninformed public) and did what they had to do to levy some kind of a punishment and try to save face. What else could they do? Issue a press release saying "Rockstar is a very bad boy?" It would go completely ignored.

 

It hurts the whole industry since there will just be new calls for government regulation as opposed to the voluntary ESRB. It gives the Liebermans (and now Clintons) of the world ammunition to work with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Chris Morris column is on this subject. Echoing our own dogbert, Morris seems to feel Take 2 and Rockstar deserve a bitchslap.

 

What's particularly offensive isn't so much that these scenes were in the game -- let's face it, "GTA" isn't the first game to feature sexual content -- but that Take Two was so quick to point the finger of blame elsewhere when it was called on the carpet.

 

Hackers, it cried, were responsible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I caught this blurb in the Gamespot article:

 

While not good, today's news was not as bad as it could have been. Most industry watchers had expected a hefty fine from either the ESRB or possibly even the government. Some even speculated that the company would be forced to recall all copies of the game, at a catastrophic expense.

 

I was under the impression that the ESRB didn't have the power to levy a fine, and really which government agency does? And how the HELL could they even be forced to recall the game? This isn't an automobile defect that is affecting tens of thousands' safety, it's a freaking video game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was under the impression that the ESRB didn't have the power to levy a fine, and really which government agency does? And how the HELL could they even be forced to recall the game?

 

If I ran ESRB, publishers would be required to sign an agreement as part of their licensing the use of the ESRB logos. That contract would provide for certain remedies if the developer breached that contract. I'd be willing to bet that this is why ESRB has certain remedies available to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Details aren't all in yet but Rockstar is going to take back the product pulled off retail shelves. Whether they take all the hit for a recall or give a break to orders on the new "fixed" copies of San Andreas is still up in the air -but you can bet retailers aren't going to pay for the recall.

 

I know there must be parents out there getting this story from the general media who will want to return their year-old copy of San Andreas too. I'm curious to see how Rockstar responds to them. My first reaction would be to call their hypocritical bluff but Rockstar has to be in full-on damage control mode.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Given the inherent transparency between what M and AO means, 17 vs. 18, and prolonged sexual content I think it is just the ESRB trying to appear like a powerful entity. Do you really think it makes a difference whether a 17 year old unlocks the content vs. an 18?

 

Personally, I think the ESRB was reacting to the intense government pressure to make this currently voluntary program a non-voluntary government controlled beast. Rather than making the decision based on the game, they made it based on fear of reprisal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...