Trailers approved for general audiences will no longer require age checks before viewing
The rules that require age checks for trailers of Mature-rated games have been changed, allowing clips cleared by the ESRB to be played without an age gate.
This is a similar system to that used by the film industry, which allows previews of R-rated movies to play before unrestricted audiences if the trailer itself is free of offensive content.
Just like movie trailers, the new general audience trailers for games will begin with a warning stating the game is rated, or expected to be rated, mature displayed on a green field.
"A trailer, demo, or video (of any length) for a Mature-rated game that has been deemed suitable for a general audience through the ESRB pre-clearance process will not require an age-gate," said the ESRB in a statement.
"Please note that pre-clearance of Mature-rated game trailers posted without an age-gate is mandatory and must be submitted to [the ESRB]."
This change also applies to the "cross selling" of games, meaning that a mature-rated title can now be promoted within a game of a lower rating.
“On a case-by-case basis a company may obtain approval prior to public release via the ESRB pre-clearance process to cross-sell a Mature-rated game with a less restrictively rated game," said the ratings board.
"Supporting documentation (eg, media and/or marketing plans, demographic data) will be required to demonstrate that the games being cross-sold have the same intended audience and, where audience demographics can be verified, that the cross-sell is in compliance with the ESRB’s target marketing guidelines.”
To clarify their position, the ESRB told Giant Bomb that the policy "addresses cross-marketing of games, not bundling products together."
"The fundamental goal is to ensure that the cross-promotion of products is appropriately targeted. In doing so we may consider a variety of factors including the nature of the product, audience composition of the media vehicle being used, the intended audience of the game, whether registered users are of a certain age, whether an age-gate is employed, etc."