Developer 7th Road has come under fire from the ESRB for their advertisements touting their browser-based MMO Wartune. Chinese developed, ads floating around core services like Google’s AdSense depict “AO,” an adults only rating the ESRB will hand out sparingly, usually to obscure pornographic PC titles.
The issue? Wartune was never submitted to the ESRB for rating. Doubling up on 7th Road’s troubles, flaunting the ratings as a central portion of the ad – via a tagline “Adult gamers only” – that also cuts through ESRB policies of exploitation. Speaking to GameIndustry.biz, the ESRB statement reads:
“While it’s fairly rare for a game to self-apply a rating we will always move quickly to address the issue. Our goal is, of course, that they immediately stop using the rating. If a game is digitally distributed, we also encourage companies to use our Digital Rating Service, which is fast and easy and assigns ratings without the developer having to pay a fee.”
No word on how quickly 7th Road will act to clear this up.