In the US video games sold on disk have to pay for a rating from the ESRB. The fees are not published but is seems that they are quite
expensive and are related to development budgets.
Online games do not require such a rating from the ESRB. However there is a bit of a crossover, as established online games have been creating special edition releases on disk.
However the ESRB has now changed the rules and all games require an ESRB rating no mater how they are sold. Thankfully the ratings for online will be free but game producers will now have to pay for special edition releases of initially online
games. The ESRB is offering a discounted price of $3000 for this subsequent rating but this still seems expensive enough to make special edition releases uneconomic.
Sony has announced that it will be enforcing ESRB ratings requirements before allowing games on to its various console platforms.
have cited an example where the new ESRB requirements have led to the cancelling of a planned release.
Ruiner, a violent cyberpunk shooter that arrived digitally on PS4 in late September, was originally going to have a physical disc version released in the future. Developed by Reikon Games and published by Devolver Digital, Ruiner had come
up on the radar of Special Reserve Games, who had previously put out physical editions of Absolver, Shadow Warrior 2, and Strafe .
These packages often included not just hard copies of the game, but also art books, statues, and other boondoggles. Special Reserve Games planned to do the same with Ruiner until it became apparent that new rules being handed down by Sony would
make the project prohibitively expensive.
In a statement on Twitter in late October, Special Reserve wrote:
In late August, the ESRB announced a new mandate for all physical releases across all consoles would soon be required, and shortly after we announced our intention to produce Ruiner , we received word that this mandate would be applied to it and
future new game releases.
The process of obtaining this rating comes with a fee that puts the production costs for new releases like Ruiner out of the acceptable range for us to produce physical discs for PS4. This decision was agonizing, and we have tried multiple ways
to reach a compromise, but sadly, we have had to change our plans to produce our intended collector edition PS4 discs for Ruiner .