Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

ESRB Outlines Publisher Fines 38

Posted by Zonk
from the in-the-doghouse dept.
1up reports that the ESRB has laid out what publishers can expect if they step out of line regarding game content. From the article: "Vance says the ESRB has the power to enforce up to $1 million in monetary fines for the 'most egregious offenses,' and could potentially suspend publisher's access to the ratings system. Most retailers will not carry games without a rating. Further corrective actions could include pulling advertising until content's corrected, stickered packaging, product recalls and 'other steps the publisher must take.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ESRB Outlines Publisher Fines

Comments Filter:
  • For every game that nets 10,000,000.00 sales revenue and includes "Hot Coffee": Fine - one time fee - 10,000.00 dollars.
    For every game that nets 100,000,000 sales revenue and includes "Hot Coffee": Fine - one time fee - 100,000.00 dollars.

    And for good measure,

    For every game that even includes the words "Hot Coffee" - 5,000.00. Any game that has the word "Hot" in the same scene as the word "Coffee" - 5000.00
  • Anyone have the cache or perhaps a copy of the content?
  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @05:10PM (#15544332) Homepage Journal
    Vance says the ESRB has the power to enforce up to $1 million in monetary fines for the 'most egregious offenses,'

    I really hate that non-government entities have the power to place massive fines. Really. The ESRB is a voluntary rating system. No game company is required by any law that I'm aware of to submit their games to any ratings system. Ah, but then the game company is given bad public relations if they don't submit because of the likelihood of extremist, "pro-family" organizations and activist lawmakers like Tompson (and possibly the ESRB itself) accusing them of having something to hide even they have nothing to hide but don't want to submit to a rating on principle.

    The ESRB is now no different than the MPAA. No legal bindings; a completely voluntary system. But if you don't submit your material for ratings you risk getting banned by the outlets that you would depend on for selling your products. And of course by submitting your material you agree to be subjected to any fines that the ratings boards feels it can place upon you.

    The ESRB is starting to join the RIAA and MPAA in their mob-like demeanor. {Don Corleone voice} You either submit your material for us to place our beloved rating or else you won't work again in this town. This is an offer that you really can't refuse. {/voice}

    *sigh* Money and power. Ba-a-a-a-d combination. Sadly, the MPAA, RIAA, and now ESRB have both.
    • I don't agree. I think that if they choose to submit a game for rating, that they should be subject to the rules of the organization. The game publishers have been supporting the rise of the megalithic retailers all along, down to actually making custom versions of games for wal-mart. They created the force that gave the ESRB power.
      • I'll grant you that, but they still should not be punished by having their market potential slashed if they don't submit, and you know that they will. If anything, they should be given PR credit for submitting, but they should not be punished for not submitting, and that's just around the corner, I'm sure, if it's not already here.
        • I'll grant you that, but they still should not be punished by having their market potential slashed if they don't submit, and you know that they will.

          Why not? If I make my bed, I'm expected to lie in it.

          Allowing a ratings board to exist in the first place, and giving it power by submitting to it then, was the first step in legislation making it mandatory.

          • I agree, but you are basically saying all game companies and players should pay the cost of a few mega-companies like EA. WE didn't make this bed, but we are being forced to lie in it.
          • No. The ratings board is an attempt to stave off legislation by showing that industry can regulate itself.

            Recent events have demonstrated that the industry has not been successful. Developers continue to include content on the shipping media that is not disclosed to the rating board. Retailers do not enforce the ratings given by the board.

            The movie industry was only successful at self regulation after the studios forced theaters to comply. We'll see how well it works for video games

      • With Wal-Mart, the game industry had no choice but to reduce packaging size and create special versions if they wanted to sell to a big slice of the retail pie. Since the ESRB doubled their submission fees a few years ago, I wouldn't be surpised if the smaller publishers don't play ball with th ESRB. The larger publisher will continue to do so as not to offend Wal-Mart and/or their shareholders. It's an interesting situation.
    • I really hate that non-government entities have the power to place massive fines. Really. The ESRB is a voluntary rating system. No game company is required by any law that I'm aware of to submit their games to any ratings system. Ah, but then the game company is given bad public relations if they don't submit because of the likelihood of extremist, "pro-family" organizations and activist lawmakers like Tompson (and possibly the ESRB itself) accusing them of having something to hide even they have nothing t

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "I really hate that non-government entities have the power to place massive fines."

      Would you rather have the ESRB get the FTC involved? True regulation? Because that's what would happen if the industry did not adequately self-police.
      I really don't think any publisher wants FTC involvement.

      "extremist, "pro-family"

      Your argument just went out the window with that one.
      The real extremists wouldn't allow the stuff on the market in the first place.

      "accusing them of having something to hide even they have nothing
    • Voluntary regulation, heavy fines or not, is voluntary. Easily or not, you can band together and sell games as downloads or Netflix-style rentals. Publishers should expect to do that from the start because in America this discrimination against certain content by MPAA/RIAA etc. and because of our public's crazy standards, the retailers themselves is bound to happen inevitably ruining creative opportunities for those who aren't prepared to use different sales channels.
  • Am I the only one that thinks the purely one dimensional rating systems used by games and movies are a bit two simplistic to make a good decision on?

    Admittedly these days the reasons for getting a rating are usually given and this does help alot, but simply rating in a few more categories makes sense to me.

    As an aside it does seem a bit absurd that a topless woman can raise the rating of a game/movie faster than a body count can. I just find it a sad commentary on society that violence is more acceptable

    • Am I the only one that thinks the purely one dimensional rating systems used by games and movies are a bit two simplistic to make a good decision on?

      Yes. A two-dimensional system is absolutely needed. Personally I would like to see absolute metrics used to rate games in various categories. Items like maximum possible number of bloody deaths would go into the mix, as would maximum number of times to hear the word "fuck" (or similar) in the dialogue, etc etc.

      Makes total sense to me, because (if I even

  • I looked through 3 or 4 other versions of this article via google news, and I couldn't find the original press release, but I couldn't find anything mention of why gaming companies would be forced to give large sums of money to an independant, voluntary ratings board. One article [geek.com] mentioned the FTC in the same paragraph, but why would the ESRB have that kind of enforcement power?

    I can only see two possibilities, neither of which makes sense. Some contract the ESRB makes companies sign has a "we agree to gi
    • The ESRB's ability to fine people will probably be bound as part of the agreement that occurs when you submit a game for review. Alternitavely, if the game later gets fined, and for some reason they don't feel they have to pay, the ESRB can revoke their right to use the ESRB rating symbols (which are trademarked).

      The real reason that the ESRB has to do this is because they are afraid that bad publisher decisions will result in the public losing faith in the ESRB. That's why they're trying to show that the
  • So what's to stop the game developers from forming another "independant" ratings board and simply using THEM instead?

    Parents barely read the box anyway.
  • ALL game companies need to opt-out of the ratings race. When no games are rated, then the retailers who won't put up non-rated games will have no choice if they want to sell games. This whole system need a big reboot.

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

Working...