In the light of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft's policy decisions not to allow games rated as Adult Only
by the United States of America's Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to be played on their platforms, SPOnG has sought clarification on what this meant to territories outside the U.S.
Why? Well, here's what the ESRB, the BBFC and PEGI say about their ratings:ESRB ADULTS ONLY
"Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity."BBFC18
"Suitable only for adults. No-one younger than 18 may see an ‘18’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 18 may rent or buy an ‘18’ rated video."PEGI18+
"The age rating system comprises two separate but complementary elements. The first is an age rating, similar to some existing rating systems. The PEGI age bands are 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+, 18+. The second element of the new system is a number of game descriptors. These are icons, displayed on the back of the game box that describe the type of content to be found in the game. Depending on the type of game, there may be up to six such descriptors. The intensity of the content is appropriate to the age rating of the game."
So, as far as we can see, an AO game in the United States equates to an 18-rated game in the UK (using the BBFC's certification system). Therefore, we asked all three platform holders whether the policy to disallow Adult Only rated games on their platforms is consistent. Can we expect to see the following withdrawn from sale due to their BBFC rating?Scarface The World is Yours
- BBFC 18 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PC)The Darkness
- BBFC 18 (Xbox 360)God of War II
- BBFC 18 (PlayStation 2)Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
- BBFC 18 (PlayStation 3)Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
- BBFC 18 (Nintendo Wii)
We are currently waiting responses from the local offices of all three platform holders - or failing that, from their relevant homeland HQs. We'll report back on findings as soon as we get definitive comment.