Episode 4

Gaming Ratings & Regulations


December 22nd, 2018

1 hr 31 mins 48 secs

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About this Episode

The ESRB is not a federal entity, it's a governing body of major video game companies like EA. Is it necessary still and are we okay with them "regulating" themselves. It seems like just another gatekeeper.

The catalyst in the 90s was Mortal Combat for the politicians to lobby for existence of ESRB. Arcade games like Time Crisis and House of the Dead also had a factor. The advent of 3d games made it seem more graphic because of how groundbreaking it was.

There were others. Sega created The Video Game Rating Council.

The gaming companies in the industry didn't trust each other to be impartial.

Congress didn't think it was enough. They wanted them to come together with a unifying solution. They came up with the Entertainment Rating Software Board. Companies generally aren't good at governing themselves. How is this any different?

The results: EC- Early Childhood, K-A for Kids to Adults which became E for Everyone. In 2005 they added E10+. T 13+ and M is 17+. AO Adults Only is 18+.

They've been making the argument about video games corrupting the mind since the 90s, even though countless evidence shows it doesn't affect you any more than other entertainment.

Although people are going to rehab for it. Most franchises nowadays capitalize on the achievement factor for people to feel accomplished. Especially
when wins are more and more rare like in PUBG or Fortnite. Quite the dopamine dump!

Mortal combat deserves credit for starting the outrage, and still keeping with it and not backing down to this point.

Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony refuse to allow AO, so retailers don't stock it either. Twitch bans any streams of AO.

Big Chungus, an AO game, came out in 2018 for extremely detailed violence and sex. He's a big, fat Easter Bunny doppelganger. After brutally murdering Dante from Devil May Cry, he has "animalistic sex with the corpses". There's a sidequest to snort the largest line of cocaine.

Playboy video games were popular too as AO games.

Was this the millenial version of Faces of Death and your friend's Playboy under the bed?

Rockstar made their name off controversial content that pushed the envelope

Grand Theft Auto jumpstarted a lot of the regulation. They had a 'Hot Coffee' mod that was originally going to be part of GTA San Andreas (2004).
It allowed you to have full on sex in the game with a character who invited you in for coffee. It was a minigame using the same controls for dancing.

The rating board denied it being anything but AO rated. They couldn't remove it completely since they were so close to the launch date, so they hid it in the code by encrypting it and releasing it on console.

They created a port for the PC eventually and the same day it came out, gamers cracked the code to make it playable and releasing mods for it.

Senator Hillary Clinton pushed for new regulations be put on video games sales.

In New York, a class action lawsuit was filed by an 85 year old grandma who purchased the game for her 14 year old grandson.

GTA ended up losing upwards of a million dollars to the National PTA and the ESRB.

In December 2005, Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act, which called for a federal mandate enforcement of the ESRB ratings system in order to protect children from inappropriate content.

A patch for the original version of the game, Cold Coffee, was designed to counter edit the script and disable the mini-game and crash the game if one attempts to access it.

GTA IV was released in 2008. In Liberty City, they got revenge by making the Statue of Liberty as Hillary Clinton with a hot coffee in her hand.

Data Mining is still done today by code-savvy players to see unreleased content embedded within the game code for future release. It's reminiscient of the old days of having to buy Pokemon books and the rumors about getting Mew. A rumor that took almost a decade to figure out how to do the glitch to get Mew.

The biggest companies are the ones that have to carry the torch in terms of freedom of content and expression.

The crusade isn't as much on violence anymore.

There's more of an argument for regulation if it gets too realistic in terms of the future and VR.

Mobile gaming- pubg runs better on the console and new Diablo. Mobile is better for user criticism to their user base and making fixes for them.

EveryonesBattlefield, Battlefield 5

Using the largest gaming franchises to push their own agenda

ESA was original ratings company before the ESRB and now they run E3.

How many missteps is the consumer going to allow EA to have before people vote with their dollar?

There's a big movement for small and indie gaming companies, but they can't compete with their infrastructure until a AAA company steps in. PUBG is a perfect example for a great concept that people are waiting for a major company to build off like with the newest Call of Duty.

No Russian level in Modern Warefare 2. Fight Against Grenade Spam.

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