Calif. Sen. Leland Yee favors AO rated games on consoles


Why have an AO rating if it can't be used? As Joystiq reported during the height of the first round in the Manhunt 2 controversy, AO rated games won't even be licensed for consoles. Forget retail and rental, the consoles themselves won't allow AO rated games, so there is a rating floating out there only available for PC games. Architect of the California game law, Leland Yee, is wondering what's going on there and why console manufacturers won't allow the rating and so is Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost.

GamePolitics got a statement from Senator Leland Yee's office saying, "The ESRB just refuses to use the AO rating for violence despite the descriptor calling for such a rating when there are 'graphic depictions of violence.' ... Combined with the use of the ambiguous term 'Mature,' many parents are left with a false sense of how violent an M-rated game may be." Now if Yee had been focused on forcing console makers to allow AO rated games on their systems instead of making unconstitutional game laws, that's something adult gamers could backup and go along with. Many games deserve an AO rating, how those determinations play out would still happen behind closed doors at the ESRB, but at least publishers wouldn't consider an AO the absolute kiss of death like they do now because the game would at least be able to play on the systems. It's a far deeper and more complicated issue involving educating retailers on what a new version of AO would mean, but at least this weird self-imposed censorship would fade into the distance.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.