Grand Theft Auto's Rating Carjacked
from the this-never-happened-with-pitfall dept
The Electronic Software Ratings Board today pulled the "M" rating from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, re-rating it as "Adults Only" (meaning now one must be 18 to purchase the game, instead of 17). This follows pressure from politicians for whom drug use, carjacking, killing and other extreme violence are apparently okay for kids, but not some cartoon consensual sex that's visible only through the use of a third-party modification. The game's producer also lowered its earning estimates for the quarter based on the ratings change, since presumably many stores will refuse to carry it (even though they'll still carry the add-on device needed to unlock the mod), and plans to release a patched version of the game that eliminates the source of the ruckus. Last week, the ESRB defended the original M rating, its president pointing out that in addition to the 17-and-up designation the rating carried, it carried designations for "intense violence, blood and gore, strong sexual content, strong language and use of drugs" -- which wasn't a strong enough warning to keep Hillary Clinton from calling the ratings system "broken". Either she thinks parents are too stupid to understand what the rating and warnings very clearly spell out, or somebody's overreacting. What becomes a more troubling issue for games makers is whether they'll be held responsible for third-party modifications to their games.