New ESRB rules take a cue from Hollywood
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board has implemented new rules for how publishers may promote Mature-rated games, one of which takes a cue from the Motion Picture Association of America, ESRB's Hollywood cousin.
Giant Bomb, publishers can now show trailers for Mature-rated games (or those expected to receive a Mature rating) to a general audience, provided that the trailer begins with a four-second green "slate" reminiscent of those seen before theatrical trailers that shows the rating. These general audience trailers can also bypass the traditional age gat required to view them online, though only with the ESRB's mandatory clearance.
Another new rule allows cross-promotion of a Mature-rated game within a game assigned a lower rating. Previously, Mature games (or, again, those expected to be rated Mature) could only be cross-promoted in another Mature game. Like the trailer pre-roll, any such cross-promotion would have to have the ESRB's approval.
The Board also has loosened its rules for displaying a rating before a demo version of a game, and has altered its rules for displaying an ESRB rating next to another country's ratings system (such as PEGI in Europe) on a website.
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