Limited Run Games Delays Current Release Schedule Due To New ESRB Requirements
Limited Run Games, a publisher whose business focuses on providing small-run physical releases of digital games primarily on PlayStation systems, have delayed their upcoming slate of games due to new ESRB and manufacturer rules that they now fall under.
In the past, Limited Run Games have never needed authorization from the ESRB. For physical goods, like games on discs, the prices were exorbitant as it was assumed the only publishers putting out physical discs were putting them out in large quantities. As the games LRG were putting were already rated by the ESRB for their digital versions, this allowed a cranny for the publisher to squeeze through to avoid paying the ESRB fees while still getting games out to people who want physical copies. Most retailers require an ESRB rating, but if you are not selling through stores, it becomes no issue. Limited Run Games has been very specific about this particular virtue.
This has all changed due to a late-August announcement by the ESRB that the organization has introduced a new low-priced submissions for games. As a result of this announcement, all three console manufacturers have established a requirement that every game that releases on their systems must have an ESRB rating to be certified. If a game isn't certified, then it can't play on the consoles, which obviously presents an obstacle to selling games.
As such, Limited Run Games' immediate problem is getting all their games submitted to the ESRB. The longer term problem is that there is now a cost where there previously has not been one, and fans who appreciated the ESRB logo-free box arts will now have to deal with the logo compromising the aesthetic quality of the box art. Depending on who you ask, that could be a decision-changing problem.
While most retail outlets have never sold games without ESRB ratings, it had never been codified by the console manufacturers as explicitly not allowed until now.