SOURCE: Entertainment Software Rating Board

May 03, 2006 16:00 ET

ESRB PARENT ADVISORY: The ESRB Officially Changes the Rating for "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" From T (Teen) to M (Mature)

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 3, 2006 -- The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has changed the rating assigned to the game "The Elder Scrolls® IV: Oblivion™" from T (Teen 13+) to M (Mature 17+). The content causing the ESRB to change the rating involves more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating, as well as the presence of a locked-out art file or "skin" that, if accessed through a third party modification to the PC version of the game, allows the user to play with topless versions of female characters.

In line with its mission to inform consumers about the age-suitability and content of computer and video games, this ESRB Parent Advisory has been issued to ensure that parents who have purchased this game are immediately notified of the rating change. Parents should also know that a patch for the PC version of the game that disables access to the file with the topless skin will be made available shortly. It will be posted in the near future at http://www.elderscrolls.com/. If parents have questions or concerns about the change in rating, they should contact their retailer.

"Parents across the country depend on ESRB ratings every day to make sensible choices about the games they bring home for their families," said ESRB president Patricia Vance. "Rating changes are extraordinarily rare, but if ever one does occur, ESRB recognizes that parents must be made aware of the change as quickly as possible so they are certain to have the most current and accurate information."

The game will retain its current content descriptors for "Violence," "Blood and Gore," "Sexual Themes," "Language," and "Use of Alcohol," and the PC version will carry an additional content descriptor for "Nudity" until it can be re-mastered and released with the topless skin removed. The locked-out content is inaccessible on the Xbox 360™ version of the game.

It is increasingly important for parents to realize that PC games can be altered through the use of downloadable programs created by other players called "mods" (short for modification), which are broadly available on the Internet and can change the content of a game. Since players create them, it is impossible for ESRB or any rating service to consider them in assigning a rating. However, some mods can alter a game in ways that may not be appropriate for younger players and may be inconsistent with the ESRB rating, so parents should be aware of their existence and, as always, do their best to monitor their child's gameplay.

More information on this rating change can be found at http://www.esrb.org/about/news.jsp.

About Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB independently assigns ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.

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