Elder Scrolls Online gets Mature rating, Bethesda won't challenge ESRB

Bethesda has created the Elder Scrolls game that they want their fans to play and is "unwilling to change the game's content to achieve a different rating."

The Elder Scrolls Online has just passed ESRB certification, but Bethesda doesn't agree with the M rating their game received. A posting on the official Bethesda Twitter account read:

"The ESRB advised us that it has given The Elder Scrolls Online a Mature rating. While we may disagree with the ESRB's determination, we do not plan to challenge that rating, and we are unwilling to change the game's content to achieve a different rating. The game we have created is the one we want our fans to be able to play."

Unlike the comparable R rating in movies, a mature rating for games isn't the same insurmountable obstacle to mainstream success (just look at the sales chart Grand Theft Auto V or Call of Duty: Ghosts), but the rating is sure to at least partially limit the Elder Scrolls Online's potential reach.

What do you think? Should Bethesda have pushed for a lower rating, or are they making the right decision in standing by the current version of their game?

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194 comments
skinnyassgamer
skinnyassgamer

yes Elder Scrolls Online will definitly be a Buy for me now i just need to figure out, what to do i love collecting but i am broke as crap right now and planning on Infamous Second Son, and Watch Dogs too man im going to have a rough time trying to keep all my games or trading them in and getting them back later

Yodlin
Yodlin

Game ratings do affect who will purchase games. Parents, for example, may not permit the game to be played in the house. Period. And before anyone jumps all over this statement with comments about free speech and such, please remember that no one is stopping you from playing. But for me, I will not be playing it for that very same reason. I will watch and see if the rating on the game changes, due to pressure to try and reach a wider player/gamer pool. At the end of the day, it is the all mighty dollar that tends to win out in these areas.


I grew up playing games and now wish to play them with my kids, but I do not wish to have 'deal' with awkward moments that adult (mature) moments generate. But not all are parents; and not all parents raise their children the same way.

Gummiballen
Gummiballen

Does it matter what ratings the game has? I doubt it will stop anyone from playing it

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

Am I missing something here? Isn't Zenimax Online Entertainment the studio behind this game, not Bethesda? I know they are both under Zenimax Media, but I thought that Bethesda was still hands off with this game.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

How can this be anything but good news? Even Skyrim is rated M, and without mods it's pretty bland in terms of controversial content. This isn't WoW; a lot of ppl are looking forward to heavy first person melee action. Without at least some semi-realistic bloodshed to justify a M rating, the game would be killed before it takes off. And no, it can't rely on being story or character driven because that's what single player games are for.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

Not interested in this game simply because Todd Howard didn't want it made. Also because it's just another crappy mmo. When they release a game with as much depth as Morrowind again, call me up.

emperiox
emperiox

Age of Conan was rated M, look how that turned out. Just pointing that out.

holtrocks
holtrocks

Kids don't have the patience for MMO's anyway.

deviant74
deviant74

So they think it's a teen rated game.  I guess we won't be sacrificing town people to our false gods.

ggregd
ggregd

I don't think it matters.  Outside of WoW It doesn't seem like there are many (immature) kids playing MMO's.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

COD Ghost and the Modern Warfare titles sold incredibly well and they were all rated M. The GTA titles always sell incredibly well and they are also rated M. Why is this even an article? Of course Elder Scrolls online will be rated M,  it wouldn't feel right coming from the M rated ES Skyrim with blood and Gore, than follow up with a censored, T rated ES.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

How about this Justin? let developers make whatever gold/crap mine they want and we'll vote with our wallets ok?

Why is this even an article again?

pszone
pszone

should get   15 rateing but anyways I wish they never made MMO because the only MMO what sold most WarCraft .

ChunkyDrawers
ChunkyDrawers

Why did anyone think it wasn't going to get an M rating? I don't want fucking WoW kids on the game anyway complaining how "hard" or "long" it takes...



Bhemont
Bhemont

Probably interesting if you enjoy elder scrolls games.

Xx_DemonSoul_xX
Xx_DemonSoul_xX

That is hardly news. And so what if it did. I am more concerned about $60 + monthly + online store = scam

vadagar1
vadagar1

i hope they take advantage of this and actually make the game MATURE and not some wow clone kid fest of sucking proportions


gore, mature stories, interesting factions, backstabbing, torture, mass killings all the good things we cherish in our "mature" modern world.

BattleStarX
BattleStarX

Psh, people pay attention to video game ratings?  I find that unlikely.  ESO will do just fine, no matter their rating.

spectralmerc
spectralmerc

Not like it matters. Skyrim was M. Oblivion was T, true, but Elder Scrolls got Mainstream (see what I did there?) with Skyrim and it's Mature rating. It will be fine.

stev69
stev69

It will be only the community that isn't!

analgrin
analgrin

Wonder what specifically about the game called for an M rating?

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

would be good. if this game was not shit.

surferosh
surferosh

good on Bethesda.. about time the industry realised that there is a HUGE 18+ market for video games... it is not just 'kids' who play games.. 

finalmessiah
finalmessiah

I have to say I agree with Bethesda, they have by this stage made the closest approximation to the game they wanted to and to change things to fit into a ratings band could be bad for the feel of the game.


As for the part of underage kids playing this game and becoming psychopaths or at the least desensitised to violence, I was six when I first play Doom back in 1994, along with a list of games that I was according to the rating I was too young for and I have yet to kill or maim anything yet. My brother and a lot of my friends are the same, the whole bit is fueled by political posturing and people with closed minds towards gaming.


This is not to say that the rating system is pointless because it isn't, in fact it's very important so that parents can at least have a basic understanding of what they will be subjecting their children to but it takes a lot more than music, films and video games to create a monster.


The one bit I don't understand is why any reference to nudity or coitus puts it higher on the age scale than violence? 

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

wow. this "article" must have taken a whole 30 seconds to write. another job well done, Mr. Haywald.

Yodlin
Yodlin

@Unfallen_SatanI disagree. There are several online games that have a solid story line. But even then, online gaming is designed differently that a stand alone game. There has to be a online gaming system that encourages interaction between players, something that is not found in a stand alone game.  As for the M rating, I can see where it came in. There were several dark themed moments in the game, an occasional swear word, and graphic bloodshed (granted, it was on the 'light' side, but it was still there). And the Assassin's storyline was very dark. For me, I will probably not be playing it, mainly because I have two children. If others wish to play it, feel free. But personally, I believe Bethesda could easily keep the gritty feel of the original Skyrim and still tone it down a level.

Yodlin
Yodlin

@emperioxAoC had many great points going for it, but the designers could never live up to the hype that they themselves had generated. Many of the storylines were fresh and unique and the concept of building up a guild's fortress and have battles and raids never really got off the ground. Also, I always felt like they threw in nudity for its own sake and without any real reasoning as to why, other than they could. As a fan of the series, Conan deserved better...

Yodlin
Yodlin

@holtrocksI would disagree. My 10 year old son will play the same areas over and over and over. And if he dies, he simply rez's his character and goes back again. Personally, I wish I had that much patience. He is currently hooked on Guild Wars 2 and loves it (when he's not taking my gold, heh!)...

ggregd
ggregd

@Kinguard73 He's not trying to influence your opinion, just reporting facts and quotes.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@ChunkyDrawers Have you seen the 'kids' on GTA V? Good lord there is men on there that is OLDER than me (I am 30+) acting worse then kids ....

Conscrumptured
Conscrumptured

@ChunkyDrawers Yeah, because games like Call of Duty and Battlefield don't have teenagers--younger than teenagers--online playing those games just because they're rated mature.


If only...

Yodlin
Yodlin

@Xx_DemonSoul_xXApparently you haven't play Guild Wars 2. You buy the game, and you're good! You don't need to purchase anything from an online store, and you can happily finish the quest lines without paying another penny.


Yes, there are games out there that are exactly what you say, but they're getting heat for it. More and more gamers are looking for MMO's that don't have strings. Times, they are a changin'...


Oh, one other thing: If someone IS playing one of the games that you are talking about, but they are happy playing it, let them! There are tons of MMO games out there. If you don't like one, try another!


It's call the free market.

BigAl519
BigAl519

@Xx_DemonSoul_xX Oh dear god, not another one of you morons. The store is nothing but cosmetics and the currency can be earned in game so you don't need to spend a dime. And if a paying $60 plus a sub in order for them to maintain servers and put out frequent content is to much for your poor ass, maybe gaming is just too expensive for you.

Kisalon
Kisalon

@analgrinWell after playing it myself i can say.... Nothing would rate it as a M rated game...

X-tract
X-tract

@blue_shift_91 And clearly your response took longer. :P


Really though, does it matter how long it took them? Their job is to tell us news, and they did that perfectly.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Yodlin I don't think our disagreement on the broad MMO vs single player question. I found several of SWTOR's storylines good. For TES specifically, our tolerance levels differ too much to see eye to eye. My mind doesn't even register the occasional swear word or the blood in Skyrim; I forget whether blood gushed out of the neck of that guy who was beheaded in the beginning. I don't know how you would tune down Skyrim.

Yodlin
Yodlin

@NorseLax09@BhemontI remember playing Daggerfall and almost slit my wrists! It was clunky and very, very painful to get around (and don't even get me started about the Dungeons!). But they redeemed themselves with Morrowind, and Oblivion raised the bar! And then Skyrim came along and proved to all that the Elder Scroll was still working to get it right (There have been too many games where the original was good, but the series that followed were horrendous).

bssmackjack
bssmackjack

@BigAl519@Xx_DemonSoul_xX THANK YOU.  For some reason, it's apparently a "scam" to charge for something you made.  Everyone wants it ALL to be free, and any and all secondary charges automatically equals a "money grab" or some nonsense. 


I agree, this "give it to me for free or I don't want it.  I shouldn't have to pay for something. You should just give it to me" crap is getting on my last nerve. 



blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@X-tract @blue_shift_91 

i don't get paid to write these responses. it's a shame people are forgetting what news writers actually do. apparently, we now think the profession depends on blurbs and a familiarity with the copy and paste function.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Yodlin I think you wanted to make a point that encouraging interaction means a MMO needs to have a broader appeal. I disagree with that as a rule but Bethesda may want that for TESO. I think even MMO should have a specific target demographic. I generally avoid games that are rated T or G because I found most to lack the maturity, sometimes in theme and sometimes in the kind of content I want. Though it may seem like T and G are more inclusive than M, it actually designate unsuitability to a broad segment of non-casual gamers.

I am not disagreeing with the M rating for TESO. I just think TES needs a M rating to retain its appeal.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@Yodlin@Kinguard73@ChunkyDrawers More often then not Maturity is display in word or action of being selfless. Immaturity is the display of word or action of being selfish. Being right and sharing such knowledge is never wrong even in the assumption of arrogance. Being wrong and speaking of it as fact is. Truth is just a form of philosophy or opinions quite often and is not desired by those seeking knowledge nor those wishing to twist it  To truly tell the difference is called wisdom.

jellyman68
jellyman68

@bssmackjack You're an idiot. Nobody said they wanted it for free (but still you think that "everyone wants it ALL to be free." You just assumed that everyone wants it for free if they think that paying a significant up-front cost, then a monthly subscription fee, then another fee for the rest of the content, is a rip-off. 

analgrin
analgrin

@blue_shift_91@analgrinWell what exactly do you expect from this article? Do you want them to exaggerate the truth and make facts up like newspapers do just to attract more viewers? Or simply stick to the known facts, how ever little of them there may be?

Sounds like you want more information when there may simply be no more to be had.

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

@analgrin @blue_shift_91  

lol. well put. it's so much more convenient for everyone when we lower our expectations, right? because "it's a gaming website."

why do you think i'm complaining? this article has no negative impact on my life. i'm just voicing a viewpoint. for some reason, different viewpoints are blasphemy on Gamespot, but shoddy reporting is not worth a response.

analgrin
analgrin

@blue_shift_91 This isn't the BBC news website. It's a gaming website. There's little news in this so there's not much to embellish on. Haywald has informed us with the "news" and invited us gamers to comment to voice our opinions.You're complaining needlessly.