ESRB Re-Writes Its Rules On Marketing Mature-Rated Games

Looks like the gaming industry is making another push for the mainstream conscience, as you could be seeing trailers for M-rated games in theaters in the near future. The ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) has made tweaks to the restrictions placed on marketing Mature-rated games and publishers can now put up trailers for M-rated games before a movie plays.

The only caveat is that the trailers, of course, have to be cut and edited for a general audience. In other words, it has to be a clean, green-ban trailer (with a green backdrop that must be on the screen for at least four seconds), much like many of the movie trailers you see. For the curious, here’s a picture of what the green-ban trailer will always start off with:

If you’ve read the entirety of the text on the right-side picture, then you would have noticed that games that are almost certain to be rated-M can also be advertised before a feature film starts. Since these trailers will have no age gate on them, it’s only natural that the ESRB wants to make sure they’ve certified the trailer before it reaches the public.

Here’s the official statement from the ESRB:

“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].”

There’s also a new marketing strategy being introduced that allows for the cross-selling of products. That is, a Mature-rated game can promote another M-rated game by placing a banner ad on the package or an insert that’s placed inside the package. An M-rated game may also be advertised through a game that’s rated T for Teen and under but only if the ESRB signs off on it.

Here’s what they had to say on the issue:

“On a case-by-case basis a company may obtain approval prior to public release via the ESRB pre-clearance process to cross-sell a Mature-rated game with a less restrictively rated game.”

There are two more final tweaks as well. Game demos are no longer required to display the rated-M logo for four seconds as long as this information is clearly visible prior to the acquisition of a demo. The other change is the ditching of the rule where the ESRB didn’t allow their ratings to be paired next to a PEGI (Europe’s ESRB, if you will) or any other international rating organization on websites and other publications. This rule was severed due to the ESRB noticing that some publishers don’t show a rating at all, so this is an effort to circumvent that.

Do these ESRB changes excite you for more possible game sales? Are you dreading watching more ads before movies in theatres? Tell us your thoughts in the comment below.