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 Updated: The Agony and The Ecstasy...

Games developer Madmind cancels patch and announces instead that Agony Unrated will be released on Steam, and later that it is cancelled again


Link Here 27th June 2018
Agony A gony is a 2018 US survival horror by Madmind Studio

Players begin their journey as a tormented soul within the depths of Hell without any memories about their past. The special ability to control people on their path, and possess minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in the extreme conditions they are in

Last month it was announced that games developer Madmind was forced to cut its Agony game to avoid an uncommercially viable AO (Adults-Only) rating from the US games censors of the ESRB. Madmind promised that the AO version would be restored via a patch.

Madmind have now cancelled the patch citing legal issues. The company have said not quite so much material has had to be cut as first thought. The company said:

The censorship now affects only several seconds from two endings (out of seven) and some scenes that may be unlocked only after the end of the game.

Madmind have said that they will at least explain the cuts in a documentary video that will show the material that had to be cut for an M rating in the US.

The cut version has just been released worldwide and is 18 rated by PEGI for the European region.

Update: May still be the possibility of an uncut version

1st June 2018. See  article from oneangrygamer.net

madmind studio logoDevelopers Madmind signed a distribution deal for the game to appear on the Xbox One , PS4 , and Steam that ended up nullifying their ability to distribute the Adults Only patch as they had originally promised. It seems that this contractual agreement included a ban on patching games appearing on these platforms. However it seems that an uncensored version could appear elsewhere as long as any patches there cannot be applied to the games appearing on Xbox/PS4/Steam.

During a lengthy Q&A session, Madmind attempted to address why the game's uncensored version wasn't made available. They were also asked if it would be possible to release the uncensored content through a GOG.com version. According to Madmind, they responded:

The contract with the publishers did not allow us to make the Adult Only version. We could not do anything about it. Violation of these laws would cause huge financial penalties, which would result in immediate closure of the company and the game would not have been issued. Without publishers -- the production process would be interrupted and the game would not appear. We are in talks with GOG. If they agree, Agony will be released on this platform in a version with all patches and without censorship, with official AO rating.

agony cut scenes Update: Agony's censored scenes published in a video

 1st June 2018. See article from oneangrygamer.net , See video of deleted scenes from vimeo.com

Madmind Studio kept their word and released a video showcasing the original Adults Only content they had to cut in order to secure a Mature rating for the game Agony.

The NSFW video clocks in at 4:48 minutes. It features the content that Madmind had to trim in order to secure the Mature rating, this includes scenes of genital penetration, a couple of seconds of butt physics, various forms of infanticide, as well as a sequence involving demon sex and a succubus giving birth to a demon baby through a mutilated vagina.

Update: Madmind announces that Agony Unrated can now be released on Steam

8th June 2018. See article from steamcommunity.com

steam logoIt is with a great pleasure that we want to inform you we have found a way to publish the unrated version of Agony! Agony Unrated will be a separate title produced and published by Madmind Studio and without the involvement of any publishers. It features additional content and changes suggested by you -- our community -- as nothing is more valuable to us than you.

We are doing our best to offer Agony Unrated to as many people as possible. Our goal is for each person that already owns Agony on Steam to be able to buy Agony Unrated with the biggest discount possible on that platform -- 99% -- or release it as a free DLC . We are currently talking with the Steam representatives to make sure it is doable. Agony Unrated will be released about three months from now and it will include all the updates from the standard version of the game. Agony Unrated also brings:
Additional sounds in the game and the cutscenes.
Additional erotic animations for characters in the backgrounds.
High resolution textures and models -- without any censorship.
All the scenes that have been removed from the standard version of Agony .
Agony Mode unlocked from the beginning.
Additional content for Agony Mode (Setting -- The Forest, Boss Fight -- Baphomet).
Succubus Mode unlocked from the beginning.
Additional animations for Succubus Mode .

The whole team is working on patches and fixes for the game and we are planning to be releasing them until the most of you (if not everyone!) in our beloved community is satisfied with our game.

Update: Unrated release is cancelled

27th June 2018. See article from steamcommunity.com

madmind studio logoMadMind Studio has announced:

We regret to inform you that our company is currently struggling with financial problems. Due to technical and legal reasons, Madmind must cancel the development of Agony Unrated.

 

 Updated: Game over...

US games rating group ESRB is backing down from ratings for online-only games citing high volumes


Link Here 27th May 2018

iarc logoThe Entertainment Software Rating Board has confirmed it will cease offering free age and content ratings for online video games next month. The Short Form ratings process the ESRB currently offers for download-only and online games will be discontinued in June. The ESRB will continue with the higher cost Long Form ratings, primarily used for physical/boxed games. A date has not yet been set for the end of the service.

Developers feared that they would be forced to pay for the higher cost rating otherwise they would not be allowed to release their titles on key platforms like Xbox that demand a content rating.

However the ESRB's official Twitter feed responding that:

Developers of digital games and apps will still be able to obtain ESRB ratings at no cost through the IARC rating process. The Microsoft Store deployed IARC years ago and has committed to making IARC ratings accessible to all Xbox developers. So, developers should not be concerned.

The International Age Rating Coalition is a newer system for obtaining age ratings for multiple territories and storefronts with a single process. While ESRB single out the Xbox Store, it is also accepted on Google Play, the Nintendo eShop, and the Oculus Store.

There is currently no word on when this will apply to the PlayStation Store, but an IARC press release in December 2017 said the platform would be added soon.

Update: But major US games platforms do not yet allow IARC ratings

27th May 2018. See article from goombastomp.com

goombastomp logo On May 18, the ESRB announced it was putting an end to its short-form rating system. These so-called short-form ratings are what you typically find on independent digital games on Steam and the like. They're brief marks that give a rundown on the content of a game, and are usually hard to find, especially on Steam. What you find on retail copies of video games are long-form ratings. The key difference is that short-form ratings can be given free of charge, but long-form ratings require payment to the ESRB by a game's developer or publisher.

Console manufactures (Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft), as well as online storefronts such as Steam and GOG require an ESRB rating to be sold. That means that, in effect, video game developers and publishers will now be required to pay the ESRB before they can sell their own games.

So why is the ESRB doing this? The ESRB is keeping their lips sealed on that front, so nobody knows. It's likely an effort to promote their own subsidiary, the International Age Ratings Coalition (IARC) as a company spokesperson pointed out that developers could still get free ratings from them. The IARC is a group created by the ESRB (read: ESA) that's trying to create a unified age rating system internationally, doing away with PEGI and CERO and any other independent software regulatory group.

Or is it? So far, the only platforms that accept a rating from the IARC in place of the ESRB are Nintendo, Microsoft, Google, and Oculus. The ESRB says Sony has vowed to support the IARC soon, but even then, other online storefronts like Steam or Apple aren't on board, and the growing cottage industry of physically produced indie games will be required to go through the long-form ESRB rating process.

 

  Conan Exiles...

Video game is censored in the US but is uncut in Europe


Link Here 9th May 2018
Conan Exiles: Day One Edition Conan Exiles is a 2018  Norway online survival game by Funcom, either played from the first-person or third-person perspective.

Many months ago, windowscentral.com reported that the American ESRB might give Conan Exiles an AO for Adults Only rating which could prevent it from coming to consoles. To avoid this, Funcom had to censor some adult content like exposed penises and testicles for release in countries using ESRB ratings.

A Funcom spokesperson clarified the situation. On consoles, full nudity is only available in PEGI (Albania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and more) and USK (Germany) territories. You can activate it by downloading the Nudity add-on which come with the game purchase.

Unfortunately, only partial nudity is available in ESRB (Bahamas, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, United States, and more) countries.

 

  Agonising cuts...

Publishers explain that they are having to censor the upcoming video game, Agony, to get an ESRB M rating


Link Here 17th April 2018
Agony A gony is a 2018 US survival horror by Madmind Studio

Players begin their journey as a tormented soul within the depths of Hell without any memories about their past. The special ability to control people on their path, and possess minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in the extreme conditions they are in

The publishers of the Kickstarter funded video game Agony have been explaining that release delays are down to censorship problems at the ESRB. The game features nudity which does not sit well with the M (17yo+) rating needed to avoid the commercial ban on adults only games in the US. PlayWay explains:

In order to be able to publish the game, we had to make some compromises. Otherwise, we would have had to to delete the whole project and never release it. With that in mind, we have spent a lot of time to make sure that censorship will not affect the perception of the game. That is why for many months we have been conducting interviews with age-rating companies in order not to cut out entire scenes from the game but at the same time modify it enough (e.g. just slightly changing the camera's frame) to get an M (Mature) rating instead of AO (Adult-Only) rating. AO rating means that the game could not be released on PS4 and Xbox One, and we would not keep the promise made on the Kickstarter.

We also want to confirm that we are preparing a special, optional patch for PC that will remove the aforementioned censorship. We would love to do something similar for consoles but from a technical and legal point of view it is simply not possible.

Many of you ask us what exactly we had to censor, fearing that the game you have been supporting for years will not be the same experience you hoped for. We do not want to list exactly what's been censored due to possible spoilers, but it is important for you to understand that none of the elements you have seen in Agony's promotional materials (gameplay, trailers, screenshots, GIFs) have been censored. Do not be afraid, the full version of Agony is much heavier than what you've seen so far anyway.

 

 Offsite Comment: The consequence of refusing to accept adults only gaming...


Link Here 31st March 2018
esrb ao US games developers squeeze adult games into the top end of the M rating whilst mildly violent games seek an M rating for street cred. The US then ends up with a single, and meaningless, rating for everything beyond children's games

See article from thefederalist.com

 

  Hidden costs...

US games ratig group adds label to inform customers of 'in-game purchases'


Link Here 1st March 2018  full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
esrb logoThe Entertainment Software Rating Boar d (ESRB) has announced that it will begin assigning a new "In - Game Purchases" label to physical ( e.g., boxed) games.

The In - Game Purchases label is one of several interactive elements that ESRB currently assigns to notify consumers about the interactive or online features of a digital or mobile game. Consumers can expect to start seeing this new notice on all games that can be purchased in stores and wherever those games can be downloaded in the near future.

ESRB president Patricia Vance said:

The video game industry is evolving and innovating continually, as is the ESRB rating system. ESRB's goal is to ensure that parents have the most up-to-date and comprehensive tools at their disposal to help them decide which games are appropriate for their children/ With the new In-Game Purchases interactive element coming to physical games, parents will know when a game contains offers for players to purchase additional content. Moreover, we will be expanding our efforts to educate parents about the controls currently at their disposal to manage in-game spending before their kids press 'Start'."

The new In-Game Purchases label will be applied to games with in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency, including but not limited to bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season passes and upgrades (e.g., to disable ads).

The ESRB also launched ParentalTools.org , an easy - to - use one - stop resource for parents

 

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