ESRB cracks down on violent game trailers

Publisher D3 has contacted numerous games websites requesting that two hosted "gameplay montages" for PS3 and Xbox 360 action game Dark Sector be removed after receiving a ruling from independent ratings body ESRB.

A notification from D3 reads, "We recently received a ruling from the ESRB stating that the two officially released Dark Sector gameplay montages have been deemed to contain excessive or offensive content; and to this end are not to be available for download or viewing, regardless of being placed behind an age gate.

"In order to comply with this ruling, the ESRB has requested that the two Dark Sector gameplay montages be pulled immediately upon receipt of this notice and no longer made available for view by consumers."

Whether we're seeing the influence here of the recent Adults Only rating - and BBFC ban in Europe - of Manhunt 2 is open to speculation.

In a statement on the ruling on the Dark Sector videos, ESRB president Patricia Vance said, "All trailers must still conform to ARC's [Advertising Review Council] Principles and Guidelines, which prohibit the display of excessively violent content or any content likely to cause serious offense to the average consumer.

"When ESRB notifies a publisher that the content in a trailer is in violation of these ARC requirements, or that there is an age gate issue on a third-party site, that publisher then must notify third-party sites to rectify the problem.

"The notices issued recently by game publishers to third party websites are simply that - steps in a chain of publisher compliance with ARC guidelines and the ESRB enforcement system that have been occurring since their establishment seven years ago."

June 26, 2007