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The AO Debate: Is the Industry Censoring Itself?


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#1 Xbox-Scene

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 05:39 AM

The AO Debate: Is the Industry Censoring Itself?
Posted by XanTium | August 25 00:39 EST | News Category: Xbox360
 
From biz.gamedaily.com:


Given the news that Rockstar's Manhunt 2 is now cleared for a North American release, thanks to a spiffy new M rating, we can't help but wonder if this is really the right move for the ever-growing video game industry. After all, on its face what's so wrong about an AO-rated title? Shouldn't game developers have the freedom to create games according to their vision, rather than have their vision essentially forcibly altered?

We understand that the ESRB is just doing its job and that retailers certainly have the right to carry or not carry whatever products they wish, but if we all trust the ESRB system and the retailers to enforce the ratings (not to mention parents to properly monitor their kids), then why shouldn't console manufacturers allow AO titles on their platforms? Ultimately, what it boils down to is that the same industry that cries foul while fighting legislators month after month to protect First Amendment rights is seemingly censoring itself - even if no one single party is at fault.

It's a delicate situation, so much so that when contacted by GameDaily BIZ, the ESRB told us to contact the ESA and then the ESA sent us right back to the ESRB. We were given the runaround. Console manufacturers were equally difficult to get any real answer from. Sure, Microsoft provided us with their usual filler, reiterating that they don't support AO-rated titles on 360, and that they've "always been a strong proponent of all game rating systems in effect in the different parts of the world, as well as parental controls which are part of both the Xbox 360 as well as Windows Vista." And Nintendo and Sony offered similar sentiments, but none of the big three could really give us an adequate "why" to the AO question.


Full Story: biz.gamedaily.com (2 pages)






#2 prplehz

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 05:27 AM

That is the kind of game that would be better with an AO rating. I don't want some dumbed down game. Come on now. I was going to get it. But with an M rating, no thanks! muhaha.gif And an even better question is why is this available on the Wii and not the 360 LMAO!!!!

Edited by prplehz, 25 August 2007 - 05:33 AM.


#3 Reaper527

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 06:13 AM

QUOTE(prplehz @ Aug 25 2007, 01:03 AM) View Post

That is the kind of game that would be better with an AO rating. I don't want some dumbed down game. Come on now. I was going to get it. But with an M rating, no thanks! muhaha.gif And an even better question is why is this available on the Wii and not the 360 LMAO!!!!


honestly,i would have gotten it purely out of support for the developer if they had released the AO version. now its a rental at best to me. the game has been crippled by the industries self censorship and is no longer going to be played the way the devs originally intended it to be played.

Edited by Reaper527, 25 August 2007 - 06:14 AM.


#4 mp5user

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 06:59 AM

RIAA and music self-sensorship; MPAA and movie self-senorship; ESRP and video games... fuck them, they all can go give Tipper a rim job.

#5 SmashManiac

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 07:02 AM

I vote for stealing the uncensored version from Rockstar and upload it as a torrent.

Meanwhile, unless the game has incredible reviews, I'll wait until the industry wakes up and and make uncensored version available.

#6 BasicAir

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 01:16 PM

First of all, I'm all for AO games. As an adult gamer (I'm 26), I welcome the new games that'd be out there if there were AO games. But don't get me wrong -- I am not saying I want a stripper game, or anything that's more porn than an actual game. Not at all! I can't remember if Leisure Suit Larry on the Xbox1 was rated AO or not, but it should have if it wasn't (the uncensored one, anyway, which is the one I played through). It was in the top 5 Xbox1 games I had ever played. Very fun, very addictive, and much more about gameplay than nudity or sex jokes although those two elements made it more amusing!

Anyhow, I doubt we'll ever see many AO titles. And as far as a game developer's "vision" having to be altered to a M rating for their game, well, that's the dev's fault. And here's why they do it: If Rockstar made Manhunt 2 AO, the sales for the title wouldn't be even 1/4th that at an M rating. This is due to many factors (such as stores that carry it, only adult gamers can buy it, etc.) but it's true.

Now, personally, I couldn't care less for Manhunt 2. Manhunt 1 was terrible and a waste of my time. Nonetheless, I still would have rather seen it AO than M but I can understand the M rating from a developer's standpoint for business' sake.

#7 TheRandomDude

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 01:51 PM

The bastards never released the Uncensored version of Leisure Suit Larry (magna cum laude) in the united states. If there was an uncensored version in the United States then I would have bought it.

Sorry M$ I'd rather not buy your dumbed down shitty play-school plot games, no one tells me what I can and can't see, and it just makes me angry that you decided americans as a whole aren't mature enough for adult rated games.

#8 Smoka

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 02:44 PM

QUOTE(BasicAir @ Aug 25 2007, 01:52 PM) View Post


Anyhow, I doubt we'll ever see many AO titles. And as far as a game developer's "vision" having to be altered to a M rating for their game, well, that's the dev's fault. And here's why they do it: If Rockstar made Manhunt 2 AO, the sales for the title wouldn't be even 1/4th that at an M rating. This is due to many factors (such as stores that carry it, only adult gamers can buy it, etc.) but it's true.


Yes, the devs want to sell more so they go for the rated M game in order to hit the big retailers (because bigger chains such as WalMart do not carry AO titles). But does there really need to be an AO rating at all if we are never going to see a game that is AO? Someone is fucking with the ratings to "protect the children". Umm, are all these children parentless? When is it the job of the parent to do some parenting for once? This country is going to shit and politicians want to worry about violent video games and whether or not gays should marry? Obviously they lobby for more than that but they never hit on the real issues is what I am getting at.
AO games are not supported by the console manufacturer. So what does this mean? Does it mean MS won't ever allow a AO title? Or will they allow them but not back it? Kind of foggy here. Its not the devs fault the console manufacturers won't support AO games on their machine. True the devs want more money for the game, but its not like they are pussies about it and don't TRY to get the game out there untouched from their "vision" as you say. They probably had the game within the M rating category but someone who does the ratings probably had a problem with ONE little part of the game so they had to change shit around. I'm sure you all know about the Rockstar controversy with GTA. Good job politicians, fight for the children so they can't get their hands on a violent video game, but what about all the young kids joining gangs and picking up real guns? I never hear about that fight on the news.
What are the differences between the AO rating game and the new M rated game? Do they need to water down the foul language? Who are the people deciding what rating to give a game? How old are they? Do their ages vary to compensate for the generation gaps? The ESRB is becoming out of touch just like most of the rest of the people "in charge". Out with the old, in with the new is what I say.
So in summation, people suck and its their fault that they are out of touch. How do we contact the ESRB and tell them they suck ass at "protecting" us from a stupid game? There are so many ways around the rating but noooooo, lets water down a piece of entertainment to make it less entertaining.

#9 gamemaster14

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 02:45 PM

I keep wondering why everyone assumes that the game will be dumbed down. It could be possible that the AO rating was only given because of 1 or two extreme scenes which were toned down a little.

As far as AO games go I see no harm in letting them be released. Of course there will always be stupid parrents who will continue to buy little johnny the M rated gta game but thats no one elses fault but theirs.

#10 quarky42

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 04:15 PM

I'd love to play AO titles of various genres. I could imagine how much more fun BloodRayne would have been as an AO title...

I wish Microshaft and the other dipsticks out there would realize that they aren't fully supporting "parental controls" if they simply don't allow games above mature to be made... The real test comes when they make AO titles and actually actively enforce id checking all the way from the manufacturer down to the retailer and even through used/ebay sources. (As best they can)

To simply not allow it is pathetic and narrow minded.

I'd like to see "Director's Cuts" or better yet the "Uncensored" version of games too. If a director's cut or uncensored version of a movie is available, I am much more likely to buy it or rent it than the doctored version.

I never buy any music from Walmart...I'd be glad to never buy any games from them too. Let WalMart carry the dumbed down version.

Game manufacturers should offer both versions...the M and the AO. Let the parents and adult gamers...the consumer... decide which version to buy. We already do that with movies. WTF?

#11 Tiuk

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 07:41 PM

This is the same problem that Hollywood is going through. Movies like AvP and Live Free or Die Hard are not supposed to be to be PG-13.

#12 XHN_SCRAPY

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 10:59 PM

AO= AWESOME OPPORTUNITY to get some really awesome action with in a game, they should all be supportive of the games no matter what they are, they should just keep AO (BEHIND counters for obvious reasons) they should do what E-Bay is doing the have 2 sides to their auction place and E (everyone site) then an AO (adult section) if everyone didn't know but they do lol, ( in order to get into that section you have to register and make sure you ARE 18+++) so why not take the ao games off the shelf and put em behind "closed" doors... plz i want a game where i can action play and have no watered down VIOLENCE lol; and if there are kids playing AO games (already do) well their PAREnts are extremely irresponsible in many ways unimaginable, like mine for instance lol if you know them that is lol muhaha.gif muhaha.gif

#13 baghnah

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 01:38 AM

i know ive wondered it myself. all in all its complete crap.

NC-17 movies are carried in all major retailers, and pornos are allowed to be played on all brands of dvd players(lol) soo i really dont see why games arent allowed to do the same. i also dont understand why game companies cant simply choose to not let the ESRB rate their games, similar to unrated movies.

and @ randomdude i totally agree with u how messed up a company decides what u see its bullshit.

Edited by baghnah, 26 August 2007 - 01:43 AM.


#14 Legendary Badass

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 03:01 AM

I'm not interested in playing AO games. What if I run for office and want to promote family values, I can't let it be know that I play Girls Gone Wild for achievements. I want video games to stay mostly innocent like they did in my childhood. And, I also make movies, and I certainly will not accept work in a questionable film even if I'm starving.

#15 law56ker

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 03:50 AM

QUOTE(Legendary Badass @ Aug 25 2007, 09:37 PM) View Post

I'm not interested in playing AO games. What if I run for office and want to promote family values, I can't let it be know that I play Girls Gone Wild for achievements. I want video games to stay mostly innocent like they did in my childhood. And, I also make movies, and I certainly will not accept work in a questionable film even if I'm starving.


What does playing a game have to do with what kind of father you are. I hope your joking.





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