Report: The ESRB Changes Its Marketing Requirements

by Kyle Hilliard on Mar 12, 2013 at 04:09 PM

Among the new changes, is one that allows developers and publishers to cut together general audience trailers for mature-rated games.

In the same way you might see a trailer for an R-rated film before a PG-13-rated movie, game makers can now cut together trailers for M-rated games that can appear online without age gates, as long as there is no questionable content featured in the trailer. If game makers decide to make these trailers, they must have a four-second preface that reads, "The content of this trailer has been approved for a general audience," with a green background. It should look a little something like this:

The same will be required for unreleased, not yet rated games, that are expected to receive an M rating.

Other changes include special rules for marketing games together. M-rated games can be marketed alongside lower rated games, if the publisher can prove that the two games appeal to the same audience. For example, Uncharted has historically been a T-rated game, and God of War has typically been an M-rated game. If Sony can prove that Uncharted fans and God of War fans are the same people, the ESRB will approve Sony placing a paper insert advertising God of War in an Uncharted box. This is something that was not allowed in the past.

News of the changes comes from GiantBomb.com, who received this statement from the ESRB organization.

"This policy addresses cross-marketing of games, not bundling products together. The fundamental goal is to ensure that the cross-promotion of products is appropriately targeted. In doing so we may consider a variety of factors including the nature of the product, audience composition of the media vehicle being used, the intended audience of the game, whether registered users are of a certain age, whether an age-gate is employed, etc."