The stigma of an “Adults Only” rating – and the subsequent ban many top retailers have on all products that achieve said rating – have kept most publishers from producing anything that could go beyond “M for Mature”. It’s a stigma that Patricia Vance, President of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, wants to see diminish.
“You know, up to this point most people associate AO with sexual content,” Vance discussed in a recent interview with Gamasutra, “We’ve actually assigned AO ratings for violent content as well; it’s just that most of the time that product gets edited or changed in order to warrant an M rating, so you never see it in the market.”
The transition from brick-and-mortar retail to digital downloads will only help acceptance of “Adults Only” video games, Vance continued, “It’s very possible that there will be greater acceptance of an AO rating going forward…And by the way, I think that would be a good thing for the system. It’s very frustrating that publishers can’t release AO product, in many cases.”