Whose Side Am I On Anyway?

Many of you responded to my previous post with the same thoughts that I had when I first heard of the Hot Coffee mod for GTA, "Why should the game rating be changed because a third-party hack changed the game content? That's crap! Don't blame the modders!"

I totally agree with you 100%. In fact, I do not agree that a game's rating should change even if the game has shipped with a massive stack of hidden porn in it that the player would never see because the game has no code to show it in any form. To view the pornstack you would have to run a third-party mod which to me is a bit like voiding your warranty.

So I'm saying that I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE ESRB's RATING CHANGE for any game where a third-party mod alters the original presentation of the game. You run a mod, you throw the rating out the window. Simple, done.

BUT. The sad reality is that the ESRB is actually changing game ratings based on what third-party mods do to the game. I think this is superdumb but what it all comes down to is developers and publishers are getting jacked because of it. I think it's wrong but it's happening. So my previous post mainly dealt with the outcome of the current scenario we're in where the ESRB has the power to go back and re-rate games based on future findings which are logically ridiculous. IF THE GAME DIDN'T SHIP WITH VIEWABLE PORN THEN THE RATING SHOULD REMAIN - no matter what modders come up with and no matter what content is hidden in the game's data files already.

Think about it: when you run a mod you don't know if it's actually inserting those nude graphics files into your game or just unlocking them. WHO CARES? The net effect is the same - you'd STILL run that mod to get the 1337-7175 to show up whether they were provided with the mod or just unlocked in your game. YOU RAN THE MOD! After that point, the rating is worthless. That doesn't mean it should change.

But the rating IS changing post-release and that's the problem. If the ESRB doesn't change its policies then the result will be developers locking their content. I don't want to see that happen and neither does anyone else. Except maybe the ESRB.