Diablo III rating

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The age limit, or rating for Diablo III is a "M" for mature in the USA[1] and a 15 in the UK[2]. It is yet to be determined what the age rating will be for the rest of Europe. Some fans especially from Germany are afraid it might get their 18+ rating, and being almost completely unavailable to the German market, and other fans afraid that they would make changes to the game to make it less violent.


Blizzard's Intentions[edit]

Blizzard have made it perfectly clear that they would like the game to be an action RPG game with blood and gore. They also want the game to be for more mature players, such as young people over the age of 15 or the like.


Fans' Fears[edit]

The following post was made on Battle.net:

Is Blizzard trying to get a "younger" rating with Diablo 3 instead of the "M" for Mature rating that D1 and D2 had? Am I reading this wrong or is this ONLY for Europe? In a recent interview with Jay Wilson he had this to say about it:


How will you guaranteee that Diablo 3 will not be censored or rated 18+ in germany? [1]

Jay Wilson: The biggest thing is, that we are targeting not to be an 18+ game. If we were to get an 18+ rating, we would likely make some changes to the german edition, to make sure it would not get this rating. But we handle those things pretty far in advance. We are already talking about the rating and what qualifies as an 18+ rating in europe to make sure that we do not hit that level, because we definitely want to make sure that the game is sold here.

Thoughts?

The quote by Jay Wilson led to questions by players, such as if Blizzard was increasing the "carebear" factor of the game. Bashiok tried to calm down fans by explaining that this is a Germany-specific question, and had nothing to do with an 18 year age limit or anything similar, it's mainly a logistics question, and because of Germany's draconic video game laws, some changes might need to be made.

This isn't an issue in the US for anything short of porn, since they have a much different view on what is suitable for kids. Game developers must be very careful to stay on the allowed side of the rather arbitrary "adults only" rating line in Germany and other EU nations, or suffer commercial suicide. For instance, games that get an 18+ rating in Germany's USK rating system are banned from running ads in the mainstream media, can't be openly displayed in stores, can only be sold to and played by adults, etc. It's not just a question of cutting some blood splatter either; games have suffered major revisions to get past the ratings board, and it's not unusual for major games to simply not be released in Germany, if their developers think the required cuts would destroy their artist vision. Just in the past few years, Microsoft elected not to release Gears of War, Ninja Gaiden 2, or Dead Rising in Germany. At all.

Given the huge popularity of the Diablo series in Germany, Blizzard will obviously do whatever it takes to keep their game from getting the dreaded 18+ USK rating. Fortunately, since it's a fantasy game with magic and other elements of unrealism, they shouldn't have the problem that the sci-fi and horror genres seem to have with current German censorship laws.

Actual Goals[edit]

List of what ratings we can expect in what regions:

  • Canada (ERSB) - "M" Mature Rating (player should be at least 17 years old). No law enforcement.
  • Germany (USK) - USK 16+ (player should be at least 16 years old). Law enforcement of USK.
  • Norway (PEGI) - 16+ (player should be at least 16 years old). No law enforcement.
  • Sweden (PEGI) - 16+ (player should be at least 16 years old). No law enforcement.
  • USA (ERSB) - "M" Mature Rating (player should be at least 17 years old). No law enforcement.


Rating Systems[edit]

  • CERO, the Japanese computer and video game rating system
  • BBFC, UK ratings legally enforceable and must be acquired for games with certain content. Although PEGI ratings were used until the enforcement of BBFC into video games in the United Kingdom.
  • ESRB, the North American computer and video game rating system
  • ELSPA, the former British computer and video game rating system, replaced by the PEGI ratings.
  • USK, the German computer and video game rating system. USK rating is legally enforceable.
  • OFLC (Australia), the Australian media rating system
  • OFLC (New Zealand), the New Zealand media rating system.
  • PEGI, European ratings.
  • VET/SFB, Finnish ratings used if PEGI rating is missing.


References[edit]

  1. Diablo 3 recieves its US rating from the ESRB -IncGamers 30/09/11
  2. Diablo III rated '15' by BBFC -IncGamers 03/10/11