Why M-Rated Trailers Must Stand Behind A Swinging Gate

Age gates on trailers are a delay, not a barrier, a figleaf that does no more to stop kids from seeing violent content than the third-base line stops a foul ball. How many have claimed birthdays of January 1, 1902?

But you may have noticed that we've added them to our hosted trailers for M-rated games. Increasingly, the industry and its marketing operations expect that third-party hosts of this content respect the gate. And on some level, it helps send a unified message that everyone's serious about keeping inappropriate content away from minors.

Anyway, Ars Technica took a look at how and why trailers get the birthday-check. There's no required rating of trailers like there is for games, so the relevant acronym is not the ESRB as much as it is the ARC. That's the Advertising Review Council (which is also part of the Entertainment Software Rating Board).

For five years the ARC guidelines have held that marketing for M-rated games (or those expected to be M) go behind the age gate. But it doesn't stop there. "If a third-party site wants to display a trailer for an M-rated game without placing it behind an age gate, our guidelines require that the publisher request that the trailer be removed and/or that they provide an edited version more suitable for a general audience to be used in its place," the ESRB's Eliot Mizrachi told Ars.

He acknowledges that these third parties are not accountable to the publishers, so the ESRB can't hold publishers accountable for what they do. So it sort of gets back to my original point: That the age-gate isn't about controlling minors' access as much as making the statement that minors' access should be controlled.

M-rated Video: The ESRB and Video Game Trailers [Ars Technica]


    I can imagine if the data from gates were collected and taken seriously the marketing departments would rush to service the geriatric demographic. I don't care about gates on videos (yes I'm watching a CoD:WaW video and I'm old enough to have been there), but when going to a game's official website I'll put in my actual birthday, or at least the right year - don't ask why, I think it's because it's a bit more personal.

    I think it is good at least as a reminder to parents that certain videos aren't appropriate for their kids.

    I just randomly click down the years and select whatever.
    I usually end up at 60+.

    Those things are ANNOYING. I dont even bother to put my normal birth date (it takes longer to locate the actual numbers) in there I just do random numbers below 1991 (my birth year).

    I always choose 1901. Federation y'all!

    In Australia, your site could probably be put on the ACMA black list if it shows MA15+ content without an age gate, assuming the site is hosted outside Australia. If it is hosted in Australia, you could get fined.

    Someone who is in a position of power with regards to these things (and also who isn't a complete retard) needs to realise how pointless they are. A simple "are you 18? yes / no" button does exactly the same job. Exactly the same, except its not annoying as @#$%.

    On an unrelated note, do you know what else is annoying as @#$%? The Kotaku page I'm reading (or worse: watching a video on) reloading itself halfway through. Seriously Kotaku... what gives? It's been doing this forever. If you want page views, reload the ads or something with javascript.

      That is extremely annoying but if you put some text in the reply box, it stops the refresh

      An effective and simple solution, suppose it has ONE thing in common with age gates...

    I (also) make a point of entering the most banal date I can. So 1/1/. So yup, lots of 1900/1 :D

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