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ESRB steps up enforcement

Wed 18 Jul 2007 6:24pm GMT / 2:24pm EDT / 11:24am PDT

The ESRB is continuing to step up its enforcement of Advertising Review Council guidelines, threatening developer 3D Realms with penalties if it fails to make changes to its website.

The ESRB is continuing to step up its enforcement of Advertising Review Council guidelines, threatening developer 3D Realms with penalties if it fails to make changes to its website.

According to a Shacknews article, developer 3D Realms received a letter from the ESRB listing over 30 website violations and giving the company 10 days to comply before facing penalties. The penalties range from the temporary suspension of all ESRB ratings services for the company's products to fines of USD 10,000 for repeat infractions.

"I think they came off like a school yard bully, rather than an industry partner," 3D Realms co-founder Scott Miller told Shacknews. "Why all the threats right off the bat? If the ESRB people know what was being said about them in underground channels, so to speak, they'd see that their antics have caused them much loss of faith as an industry leader."

Most of 3D Realms' violations involved the use of old ratings icons and the lack of content descriptors.

Three weeks ago, GamesIndustry.bizreported that the ESRB had contacted D3 Publisher to remove trailers for Dark Sector which the board deemed to contain "excessive or offensive" content. The ESRB also told 2K Games that trailers for its M or AO-rated games had to be "appropriately age-gated."

Then, as now, the ESRB defended its enforcement actions in a written statement.

"The role of ESRB, as the industry's self-regulatory body, is to ensure that consumers have easy access to reliable information about the games they consider buying for their families, and that games are marketed appropriately and responsibly," said ESRB president Patricia Vance.

"ARC notices that are sent to publishers are merely a reflection of ESRB fulfilling its obligations to the industry to enforce the guidelines it has adopted," she explained.

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