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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