ESRB responds to parental group's "C" rating

Posted by Mark Raby

New York (NY) - Entertainment Software Ratings Board president Patricia Vance has issued a response to a recently issued "report card" from the National Institute on Media and the Family, calling the rating "grossly misrepresented".

In its report, the NIMF gave the ESRB a "C", noting dangerous loopholes that have caused "shocking incidents" in video games that concealed graphic moments from the ESRB rating process.  Much focus was given to Manhunt 2, which originally received an "AO" (Adults Only) rating, the ESRB's most restrictive.  After the developer, Rockstar, toned it down a bit, the rating was reduced to "M" (Mature).

However, the NIMF still chided the ESRB for not being stricter on the graphically violent PS2 and Wii title, especially because of hacks that unlock more violent content.  Vance says the report is unfair.

"NIMF exhibits a significant lack of understanding of and, as a result, grossly misrepresents the facts surrounding last month's hack into pirated versions of Manhunt 2, a game rated for ages 17 and older that carried prominent and explicit warnings to consumers about its violent content," said Vance.

Vance also pointed to a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission, saying it was much more favorable.  The FTC found that nearly 90% of parents with video game-playing children were satisfied with the system, and that three in four used it regularly.