The Elder Scrolls Online Gets M Rating From ESRB

The Elder Scrolls Online Gets M Rating From ESRB

The Elder Scrolls Online 03

Bethesda Softworks says it won't change any content in The Elder Scrolls Online in order to earn a more consumer-friendly ESRB rating.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board has assigned an "M (Mature)" rating on Bethesda's upcoming MMO The Elder Scrolls Online and while that's far from the kiss of death represented by the dreaded "AO (Adults Only)" it's still something of a surprise. Major MMOs including World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Trek Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online and EVE Online are all rated "T (Teen)" and Pete Hines, Bethesda's vice-president of public relations, tweeted that the publisher "expected" the same rating for TESO.

Be that as it may, the studio said it's not going to change anything in order to get an easier rating. "While we may disagree with the ESRB's determination, we do not plan to challenge the rating, and we are unwilling to change the game's content to achieve a different rating," Bethesda said in a statement. "The game we have created is the one we want our fans to be able to play."

I have no idea how MMO demographics play out but I can't see this making that much of a difference to TESO's fate. I think the monthly subscription fee will be a bigger barrier to entry than the age rating, and given that most previous Elder Scrolls releases have been rated M (but not Morrowind, oddly enough), I'm happy to see Bethesda isn't going to water down the content in this one in order to broaden its potential audience a bit.

With the ESRB rating in hand, Bethesda said it will now update all content including trailers, web sites and ads with the necessary age gates.

Source: Twitter (Bethesda Softworks)

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I can't imagine how a rating could blindside a company so that they would "disagree" with it. They should have known.

Doesnt change much. Rated teen or rated mature. Does anyone even care about that stuff? I also wonder why people make such a big deal out of subscriptions. A lot of games are ruined in my eye when they go free to play. Only very few games pull off a good free to play in my opinion. Planetside two being one of them. Still, personally I prefer p2p. Paying 15€ a month. Hell if I just play one evening instead of going out for drinks then I consider that profit. Not saying you should use it as an excuse not to go outside. But rather: sometimes you are bored and want to stay in. Single players you get bored of rather fast. A nice mmorpg gets the job done. And none of that pay to win crap. F2p where not paying means you are cannon fodder for the payibg crowd sucks...

I imagine it's just the ESRB playing it safe on the Elder Scrolls name. Oblivion was initially rated T, but after the HUGE blowout that started with some politician finding nude mods on his son's install of the game, they upped its rating to M post-launch.

Regardless, hopefully this will mean a lot less catering to and whining about the "wont somebody think of the children" crud.

Great, I'm on board!

Houseman:
I can't imagine how a rating could blindside a company so that they would "disagree" with it. They should have known.

Did you read this article? They expected the M-rating.

llagrok:

Did you read this article? They expected the M-rating.

Did you? Both the tweet and the article say that a Teen rating was expected. And that they also disagree with the M that was given. The publisher expected that TESO would get the same rating as other MMOs.

Houseman:
I can't imagine how a rating could blindside a company so that they would "disagree" with it. They should have known.

Well, a vast majority of the Elder Scrolls games were rated T. In most modern gamers' memory (i.e. only counting Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim), Skyrim is the only one that released with an M rating (Oblivion originally released with a T rating). If they made the content more similar to Morrowind and Oblivion than Skyrim, then they likely expected a similar rating. Chances are, it just barely bordered on the T/M divide, or ESRB is just getting more strict.

OT: Yeah, this isn't going to affect the game too much. Skyrim had a huge following regardless of its M rating, and I can't imagine MMORPG-only players would be too put off by it themselves. It might cause a few parents to not get it for their children, but I can't imagine it will harm sales too much, if at all.

Wait? Wut?

EvE is rated T? But ESO isn't?

EvE, the game where even disregarding other players you have a no shortage of drugs, prostitutes and even the ability to collect corpses is Teen?

What the heck is ESO doing that makes them rated M? Can you skin the corpses you collect to make disguises or something?

Hagi:
What the heck is ESO doing that makes them rated M? Can you skin the corpses you collect to make disguises or something?

A character probably says fuck or something.

OT: Okay, neat I suppose.

Hagi:

What the heck is ESO doing that makes them rated M? Can you skin the corpses you collect to make disguises or something?

Probably they found the already made and creepily realistic body mods a quick shot of boob or penis, or possibly someone said a naughty word. Who knows what dem crazy ESRB people are thinking.

Seydaman:

Hagi:
What the heck is ESO doing that makes them rated M? Can you skin the corpses you collect to make disguises or something?

A character probably says fuck or something.

OT: Okay, neat I suppose.

You may very well be making a sarcastic comment against the ESRB, a practice I approve of; but I think it's nonetheless interesting that nobody's ever sworn in the entire Elder Scrolls series up to this point.

Why would a subscription be a barrier? All the great MMO's were subbed, The F2P model is a cancer on the genera all it has done is lower quality and content while actually making a lot more money for the publishers. On top of that I'm getting pretty sick of the F2P trolls who think they deserve a quality game for free and brag about never spending a penny on it and yet they always seem to be the people who complain the loudest if they aren't happy about something they have contributed nothing to.

Simple fact sub based game means the Devs have to keep the paying player base happy, A F2P model takes all the power from the customer, as long as there is enough gullible people buying crap from their online store what you say doesn't matter or mean anything to them.

KaZuYa:
Why would a subscription be a barrier? All the great MMO's were subbed, The F2P model is a cancer on the genera all it has done is lower quality and content while actually making a lot more money for the publishers. On top of that I'm getting pretty sick of the F2P trolls who think they deserve a quality game for free and brag about never spending a penny on it and yet they always seem to be the people who complain the loudest if they aren't happy about something they have contributed nothing to.

Simple fact sub based game means the Devs have to keep the paying player base happy, A F2P model takes all the power from the customer, as long as there is enough gullible people buying crap from their online store what you say doesn't matter or mean anything to them.

Fact: All of that is blatantly obvious personal opinion.
Fact: Opinion =/= fact.
Fact: Not all subscription MMOs are great, and not all F2P MMOs are crap. Several "prominent" pay-to-play MMOs have been forced to switch to a F2P service like Star Wars: The Old Republic, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Trek, Champions (everything by Cryptic, pretty much). Some of those games, are pieces of crap to begin with (SW:TOR, anything by Cryptic), others had just reached a point where it needed something to draw in new blood in an over-saturated market.

Try actually presenting something in some legible, decent form before you start decrying your biased opinion as if it's fact. It isn't.

As for your question? An extra price to pay on top of the box cost can serve as a barrier. For a series of single-player only titles, like Elder Scrolls for instance, shifting it from one type of game to another should bring up reservation on the parts of consumers, especially when the team behind the game might be completely inexperienced with MMOs.
Bioware learned that the hard way, because everyone not blinded by "OMG BIOWARE STAR WARS MMO GAMEZ!" in the beta tests had brought up multiple issues with the game. Issues that had taken months, if not years, to finally get addressed amongst the constant failings to provide meaningful content to the game in lieu of trying to keep people subbed by bloating out the middle and promoting a constant stream of alts to be made. They take one step forwards, but two steps back, and refuse to acknowledge it.

Are rating really that much of a barrier? I've never heard a 16 year old go, "Darn, rated M?! Now I'll never be able to play this!"

Ratings don't matter to me at all. The only thing stopping me is the subscription model.

I do wonder why it is an M though. Do the NPCs swear or something? If so it seems a bit out of character for an Elder Scrolls game.

That means that it will most likely get a MA15+ here in Australia.

The Elder Scrolls lore has its own curse words so I have no idea where this came from. I doubt you'll be able to mod it much if at all, and if you do it'll probably cause issues with whatever hack-shield it uses. Hell, I've known people getting banned for changing the appearance of armour in MMOs; I doubt nude models will be an issue prevalent enough to warrant an M rating.

I don't really care that it's M though, and I don't think anyone will. The subscription will prevent some people from buying in (though not me, I prefer P2P for many reasons,) but I doubt the rating will.

Why does every piece of "bad news" about this game increase my interest in playing it? It's got a sub fee? Thank fucking god; I hate F2P. It's got an M rating? About time someone offered something less cloyingly cartoony in this genre. What's next, a strictly-policed roleplay server? Heavy-handed GMs who insta-ban people for using racist or homophobic language? Please, Bethesda, do more things to limit your potential audience so that I can give you my money.

TKretts3:
Are rating really that much of a barrier? I've never heard a 16 year old go, "Darn, rated M?! Now I'll never be able to play this!"

This is true. I was watching a friend play CoD: Ghosts last night on his new PS4. The number of 12 year olds playing that game is astounding. It was like listening to a schoolbus at times.

Oh goodie I hope they take this as a prompt to go balls out and up the questionable content (I am a tester at the moment so I can't say much, but... I'd like it if they did that, might add something unique) I want the Original Lusty Argonian maid book to exist somewhere. Those books were a laugh.

I don't think it deserves an M rating as it is. World of Warcrafts goldshire inn alone deserves the 'Unrated' treatment and those suave fuckers get away with murder because the style is slightly cartoonish looking fantasy, rather than going ESO's more gritty looking route.

Anyway, NDA still in effect. Sadface. Can't discuss the pitfalls and merits of the game.

 

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