In passing the article provides a few statistics about the reluctance for the US games rating board to invoke the adults only AO rating. The article notes:
Since its formation nearly 25 years ago, the ESRB has only given 29 games an AO rating. Of those titles, only two have earned the rating solely for violent content ( Hatred and Thrill Kill ), while 26 games on the list sport
content descriptors such as strong sexual content, mature sexual themes or nudity. (The only remaining title on the list that has neither violent or sexual content, 2003's Peak Entertainment Casinos , was given the rating for offering
real-world gambling elements in-game.)
Receiving an AO rating has been called the kiss of death by gaming critics and analysts, as it essentially makes the game unavailable for most players. The majority of retailers, such as Best Buy or GameStop, refuse to stock AO games; console
giants Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft refuse to publish AO games; and streaming platform Twitch has banned titles with AO ratings from being broadcast.
Of the 29 games that have received AO ratings, commercial hits are few and far between. The best selling titles on the list, 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and 2007's Manhunt 2 , were both published by Rockstar Games and each
game was edited down to an M rating after receiving the AO tag (in the case of San Andreas , the game only earned the AO rating temporarily, after the discovery of an unfinished mini-game featuring a sexual encounter, titled Hot Coffee, was
found. It was later patched out and the game regained its M rating). Most other games on the list were far from financial boons.
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