July 10th, 2007, 19:53 Posted By: Shrygue
via Games Industry
Answering questions in a conference call related to the company’s restructuring, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick referred to the current ratings system as “somewhat nonsensical.”
"Having a rating that we don’t think is appropriate is one issue, obviously, and a separate issue would be if we feel the rating is appropriate and we can’t bring it to market…that seems somewhat nonsensical," Zelnick explained.
Take-Two's Manhunt 2 was recently given an AO rating by the ESRB, which effectively bans it from being sold as major US retailers will not carry any software with an AO rating. The chairman did not blame the retailers, however.
"I don't think that issue falls at the doorstep of the retailers. I think the retailers are acting responsibly, frankly, and I think a retailer has a right to say 'This is what I am prepared to put on my shelves' and I don't think it is correct to be critical of the retailers at all," said Zelman.
Even if retailers agreed to carry the product, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have indicated that AO titles are unacceptable for their consoles and will not grant a license to such games.
"I think, because this is a voluntary ratings organisation in the US, we have to be critical of ourselves if we've allowed a system to develop that prevents us from bringing a title to market that we want to bring to market," Zelman explained. "That's something we do need to address."
"We don’t see ourselves in the AO business," he continued. "Having said that, if we find ourselves in the AO business, it would be because we have a title that we consider art and entertainment, that we consider is appropriately labeled AO, and that we would like to bring to market and I am prepared to stand behind and Ben [Feder, Take-Two’s CEO] is prepared to stand behind.
"In that instance, one does have to ask oneself, what is the purpose of a rating if it means effectively a title cannot be released?" Zelnick asked.
Take-Two has still not announced whether the company plans to challenge the ESRB's rating or whether it plans to alter Manhunt 2 and resubmit it for a new rating determination.
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