A new set of labels will be hitting video-game covers, trailers and announcements later this year. The ESRB will be adding a new set of standards that they feel will better reflect the content of video-games and protect younger audiences from mature content.
These changes aren’t just for boxes and videos, these new changes will be implemented on all aspects of video-game marketing. Though these changes are being reported as a requirement, it shouldn’t change the standard gamer’s buying or playing habits. Among some of the rules and regulations that are going into effect, Mature rated games and Younger related-games can only cross promote each other if the publisher can prove to the ESRB that they are targeting the same audience. For example a trivia game might be rated E but it could be aimed at a mature audience because of the content. In that case an M for mature game and the E rated-title could promote each other in a marketing insert or trailer.
GiantBomb.com stated that they received the following statement from the ESRB organization.
“This policy addresses cross-marketing of games, not bundling products together. The fundamental goal is to ensure that the cross-promotion of products is appropriately targeted. In doing so we may consider a variety of factors including the nature of the product, audience composition of the media vehicle being used, the intended audience of the game, whether registered users are of a certain age, whether an age-gate is employed, etc.”
Just like movie promotion and movie-trailers, marketing for high-rated games will have the ability to cut down more graphic content to make them “suitable for younger audiences” just like other media-genres can do now. Movies have to tell audiences that the following trailers have been approved before showing them, this would be the same for games now with a message saying, “The content of this trailer has been approved for a general audience”.