- Epic Games Store has revised its content policy to allow blockchain-based games despite their adult ratings by the ESRB.
- The store has recently welcomed back games which were previously removed over the last policy.
- The ESRB states that the AO rating was given due to a certain way of implementing blockchain.
Epic Games Store has recently revised its policy regarding games with “adults only” ratings by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The platform will now allow the aforementioned titles solely based on their blockchain integration. The American game publisher, however, has clarified that the titles should strictly avoid hate speech, explicit content, and gambling activities.
Unlike its competitor Steam, Epic Games Store allows blockchain-based games but strictly disapproves of titles with an adult rating. In accordance with its last policy, the store had recently removed two titles with the said rating: Gods Unchained and Striker Manager 3. However, in the latest policy update, the platform has embraced both games after adjusting its T&Cs for games with blockchain features despite their AO rating.
📣 Heads up: Gods Unchained and Striker Manager 3 have returned to the Store after a change in our content policy regarding ratings for blockchain-based games. Learn more: https://t.co/RQGGzWGeG8
— Epic Games Store (@EpicGames) December 19, 2023
The gaming marketplace has now officially updated its content policy for games with AO rating due to blockchain integration, while still showing absolute rejection for certain prohibited content. In a statement with The Verge, an Epic spokesperson, Brian Sharon confirmed the move saying some games were only receiving the AO rating due to their specific implementation of blockchain tech.
The Epic Games Store makes an exception for products in cases where an AO rating was applied solely due to the usage of blockchain or NFT technology. However, these products must comply with our Blockchain Technology Guidelines and Content Guidelines, including our prohibitions on po*nography, gambling, and hateful content.
Moving forward, PC Gamer spoke with the ESRB to comment on the matter. The North American rating agency confirmed that both Gods Unchained and Striker Manager 3 were given the AO rating, but that was not directly due to blockchain implementation “but rather how that was implemented.” The rating board clarifies that such a scenario can unfold if a game uses “real money” in any form.
Moreover, Gods Unchained and Striker Manager 3 have been given an AO rating possibly for their inclusion of “cash prizes.” According to the ESRB, the said rating is reserved for games with “prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content, and/or gambling with real currency.” The question arises whether these titles really fall under the given category. Gods Unchained developer told Decrypt that they have filed an appeal with the rating board over the assigned status.
🎮 GU IS BACK ON EPIC GAMES STORE 🔥
With Epic Games' revised content policies, we are SO back!!!
We applaud Epic Games for lighting the way ✨
This is a win all of Web3 gaming shares together
— Gods Unchained (@GodsUnchained) December 19, 2023
Lastly, it is fair to assume that ESRB ratings can somewhat decide the future of a game and how the masses perceive it. That being said, we do hope for a consistent and more systematic rating from the agency. Furthermore, in the latest news, Team Ninja’s PlayStation exclusive Rise Of The Ronin has received a mature rating while Luigi’s Mansion 2 HD gets rated E for everyone by the ratings board.
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