You might remember the uproar after the rating Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas got raised from "M" to "AO", meaning it could only be purchased by those 18 and older, after a third-party modification unlocked some sex scenes in the game. The game's publisher, Take-Two Interactive, found itself on the receiving end of some lawsuits for failing to disclose the content was inside the game, even though it was inaccessible without the mod. Now, the ESRB, which rates video games, has re-rated another game from a Take-Two subsidiary, boosting the rating of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion from "Teen" to "Mature". The ESRB says that not only did the game's developer under-represent the degree of violence in the game, but also failed to disclose the inclusion of a topless woman in the game, even though, again, it was inaccessible without a third-party mod. Bethesda Softworks, the developer, disputes both claims, saying it adequately described the violence (for which the game's package carries a warning), and that the topless woman wasn't actually included in the game -- someone created a modification that hacks its art archive and creates the image. This is getting slightly ridiculous. Would the ESRB rate Windows Paint "M" because somebody might draw some boobs with it? What about text editors -- somebody could create some wicked ASCII boobs images. The point here is that developers can't have complete control over what people do with their software. If, as the developer alleges, the topless woman wasn't included, but placed there by a third party, what's it got to do with them, and why should they get punished?
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