News Article

ESRB To Crack Down On Early Leaks Of Games

Posted by Darren Calvert

Since the very beginning of VC Reviews we have rounded up the latest games which should be headed to the Virtual Console on our coming soon list so you have the inside scoop on what games are coming up.

One of the primary ways we do this is by checking game content ratings on the ESRB website. Basically if a game doesn’t get rated there then it won’t be coming out in North America. It has been a great help to us in the past and has continued to be so, after all we can look forward to EarthBound and Kirby's Dream Land 3 because of the ESRB ratings given in advance of the game being rereleased on the Virtual Console.

Those happy days may be coming to an end now as publishers put increased pressure on the ESRB to keep this information shielded from the public. It would seem that from this time publishers can now opt to hide their game from public viewing until a specific date is reached. It is a no-brainer to guess what our pals at the big N will choose to do in this regard.

Here’s part of the statement which the ESRB made on the subject:

Unless there are specific concerns regarding premature disclosure of a title, we expect this field to be left blank. …While we recognize some publishers have concerns regarding earlier-than-desired ‘announcements’ of product on our website, the ESRB system will not work for consumers if publishers arbitrarily select dates bearing no reasonable relationship to consumer interest in the product.

In the absence of Nintendo themselves publishing some sort of release schedule, we may be completely in the dark as to what upcoming Virtual Console games will be heading our way! What spoilsports!

As always have your say on this news below.


From the web

User Comments (41)



Draygone said:

Yeah, this sucks. The way we're left without a clue about what's coming out when, we might as well go back to the days before the advent of the common internet, when we were forced to go to the store weekly just to find out if any new and interesting games were coming out.

No, wait... We at least had TV advertisements to clue us in.



Rexy said:

It doesn't bother me as I'm under the PEGI system. But still, being left in the dark is kind of awkward to know what would actually come and what weren't. Either way, at least it adds to the mystery of what surprises could come each week.



SuperMichael64 said:

Ugh, i used the esrb site a few time myself! Although it isn't truly devastating that there sealing the game leaks, it's the fact that you have no idea whats coming next Thats gonna drive me crazy! Though it may make the element of surprise a bit better.



deadly_by_design said:

Not a big deal to me, but it's a bit odd. Not like we've yet to see games like Earthbound anyway, even after it's been ESRB approved.

I still want Zombies Ate My Neighbors, but I'm pretty sure that'll never release now, having been removed from the ESRB list.



megacody said:

Meh, I like to look forward to new games in the future. But I guess when a game comes to vc, it'll be more like a fun surprise.



Storm101 said:

We won't be left completely in the dark. We still have the Japanese release lists and companies like Hudson who leak their games.

Personally I think they've been cracking down on them all along. The games that were removed in 2007 were probably victims of this. I mean, SMRPG is still coming.



DJ_Philanegro said:

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I love knowing what's coming up, but I honestly do love getting surprised. At least we got to use it while it lasted, right?



Tim said:

I bet Nintendo is the only publisher that really put any pressure on the ESRB to do something like this and they are big enough to persuade them on their own. Most publishers want us gamers to know what they are releasing to capture a market and conduct their advertising so I doubt a lot of them even care about the hiding feature.

I really don't understand what is Nintendo's problem with release dates. Do they get some kind of perverse pleasure from the ability to control information? They are like the Gestapo of the video game industry.



Iggy said:

dang i dont like surprises i much rather no
if anything good is comin out but oh well



Bensei said:

I guess Nintendo recieved to much hatred mails for not releasing Kirby's Dreamland 3 and SMRPG...

On the one hand it was quite convenient for titles you wouldn't have awaited, but on the other hand it's really dissappointing that titles that had been rated for nearly 2 years but haven't been released yet and probably never will (like Duck Hunt, Hogan's Alley and Dr. Mario).

I really hope they release a Wiiware game that contains all of Nintendo's Nes Zapper games supporting the Wii Zapper.

And I wouldn't care much if Nintendo does the same with PEGI, USK and OFLC btw.
Is this only for VC games but for Wiiware too?



slangman said:

I hope the OLFC and PEGI don't follow suit since they are the perfect way for us europeans to know which games are coming to the UK VC.

Finding out which games are coming soon to the VC is only for 'geeks and otaku' anyways lol.



mummydaddy said:

stupid if you ask me, nothing builds hype like little bits of info drip fed to us hungry punters. Not allowing the games to be "advertised" in such fashion would be a major mistake, I would guess it would cost to have a game rated, but free (publicity) if it is shown on the website.

The only reason I would think opposite is if seeing future (better) releases would stop you buying the trash that they release presently. Who knows????



Kevin said:

Damn you ESRB! I hate surprises. I like to know what future releases to expect so i know how much of my money I need to put aside.



Adamant said:

I'm sure they did it due to the insane whining for Earthbound we got since the game was rated.

Don't worry guys, you can always check the European and Japanese releases and get an idea as to what's upcoming.



7th_lutz said:

Sometimes, Esrb is not accurate in vc releases or gives people false hope.

Some of the leaked vc games took several months to be released. Shining Force 2 hasn't been released yet on the vc despite being leaked in November. Crackdown was leaked by the esrb even long than that, but Crackdown hasn't been released it yet. Super Turrican 2 was leaked in June last year, but it has been released yet.

At the same time, some leaked games were released right away.

There were some surprised game released in the past on the vc like N64 games and Pac-attac for the Snes.

People just have to get used it.



XCWarrior said:

I could care less. Sometimes they get the ESRB rating so far ahead of time we are waiting forever in anticipation. I'd rather not find out until the game is closer to completion. It stinks, but only to a point.



Starwolf_UK said:

And I wouldn't care much if Nintendo does the same with PEGI, USK and OFLC btw.
Lets see, PEGI and USK don't leak games early anyway (unless they blunder). OFLC does and due to the fact they are a government body that also deals with films (things that you do know about before they come out...) and given Nintendo Australais rubbishness OFLCs behaviour won't change.

Is this only for VC games but for Wiiware too?
My understanding of the no leaks from the ESRB is its all games regardless of system. So yes.

So in summary, in Japan and OFLC we trust.



StarDust4Ever said:

Um, as far as I'm concerned, all of the N64 games and many of the SNES and Genisis titles were already rated long ago. With the exception of the relatively new E10 division, all titles that were formerly rated "K-A" (kids to adults) or "E", will still be rated as "E for Everyone" (they just changed the label), because the rules have changed very little over the past decade. Likewise, any game rated "T" (teen) or "M" (mature) will still have a "T" or "M" rating today. So unless they expire after some predetermined amount of time, ALL games from the 90s era that were previously rated by the ESRB, that same exact rating still applies today. It the original SNES cartridge says "K-A" on it, then it's a guarantee that that game still remains "E" to this day. The E10 subcategory only applies to games released after 2005.

Personally, I liked "K-A" (kids to adults) better than the "E" (everyone) label, because "everyone" could technically include anyone ranging from newborn infants, to convicted felons serving time, to George W Bush. Man, I love free speech



WarioFan63 said:

This isnt too big of a deal since its not forcing EVERY publisher to hide their games. So we'll most likely be seeing stuff from time to time still.

Also it doesnt apply to just VC games but ANYTHING. I think stuff like English translations of DQ4 DS and ASH and Suikoden for PSN getting out before official word struck some chords too.

This isnt the end of ESRB leaks as far as I can tell. Most likely a slowdown but definately not the end.



E-dawg said:

@ Rexy
It doesn't matter what continent your in. Nintendo aim to get their titles rated in Japan, North America, Europe and Australia before they can be released...



Mike1 said:

Like Viral said, this is stupid. I hate the ESRB, especially after reading that garbage interview in EGM a few months ago by the ESRB president.



Cally said:

@ Adamant:

"I'm sure they did it due to the insane whining for Earthbound we got since the game was rated."

Oh really? In that case, what are they going to do about the insane whining that's going to happen on account of people being even more (unnecessarily) in the dark? But like someone said, the other rating systems (PEGI and oflc) are still safe for now.



Virus said:

Heh, and I was beginning to think people actually liked Nintendo...

Hey, the way I see it, yeah Nintendo may be a bit stupid for doing this and now we're even more in the dark, but now we won't have these weird "leaked" games that take months to come out after their rating announcement.

I only feel bad for VC Reviews because now we won't have a fleshier "Coming Soon" section.



alvieao said:

I just hate the ESRB anyway. How garbage. Great, we have to "live in the dark?" This is a stupid and lame move by the buzzkillers at ESRB. Now we the gamers must wait longer in surprise...



michinmuri said:

This sux so bad. My main gripe is that Y's book I & II have been on there forever and have yet to be released. I wish they'd hurry things up. I WANT MY Y'S!!!!!



Bass_X0 said:

"I hate the ESRB, especially after reading that garbage interview in EGM a few months ago by the ESRB president."

What did they say?



Cally said:

"This sux so bad. My main gripe is that Y's book I & II have been on there forever and have yet to be released. I wish they'd hurry things up. I WANT MY Y'S!!!!!"

That was totally my most-wanted ever since I heard about the VC. I almost tracked down a Turbo-Duo for that game . . . and now it's like one of the only notable TG-16 games that hasn't shown up yet.



blackknight77 said:

I was disappointed that Vectorman and Pro wrestling never showed despite being rated eons ago. The ESRB is the Bermuda Triangle for retro games.

I really wish the US would do a montlhy release schedule just like Japan.



Rapadash6 said:

Well, at the very least it will keep the list of rated, unreleased games from growing larger every week, thus giving us hope for games that DON'T show up on that list.



Objection said:

Ninty is, as someone said, the Release Date Gestapo. Not only is this pointless, (oh no! We know that Mario Sluggers has Comic Mischief, etc.!!) but Ninty is just continuing to piss on all their loyal gamers...and what's worse is that they don't wash their hands!



Zeroagean said:

lol i dont care about upcoming games because i just wait to see what is coming on the release day i dont like to know what games are coming out before they do because i can hardly stand waiting for great games like RPG Classics which there are not many out there right now but they are on their way and i can't wait



Kreegs07 said:

Well maybe they will figure out how pissed we all are and release Super Mario Kart without any warning. But you and I both know that we will eagerly check the wii shop channel on release day only to find more crap games that we don't want to play. Why can't Nintento just look at the top selling list for each console and give us at least one or two of those titles a month. Maybe they are hoping that, out of frustration and impatience, that we will all spend our points on Donkey Kong Jr. Math or Volleyball when the games we want don't appear. Oh well. I don't think I will really mind it after I am mega suprised by DK64 or Majora's Mask



Nobarai said:

Oh well. It's happened before that Nintendo has registered games on the ESRB before then ripped them off the list, or still haven't released registered games. Not too much of a loss



Cally said:

"Maybe they are hoping that, out of frustration and impatience, that we will all spend our points on Donkey Kong Jr. Math or Volleyball when the games we want don't appear."

Ya hit the nail on the head!



Kreegs07 said:

@ Cally
Thanks I am glad others feel that way too! This is a true test of self control. Just keep telling yourself "Just wait until next week."

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