ESRB Plugs Game Leaks with New Website Protocol

A memo from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board revealed that the agency is implementing new functionality in its website to prevent evidence of upcoming game titles from being leaked before their official announcements.

The ESRB's notice, forwarded to Next-Gen by an unspecified publisher, speaks of a new online submission form that will allow publishers to choose a date when a game can be revealed on the organization's website.

The new functionality was requested by publishers, likely those whose marketing schedules were disrupted by previous ESRB leaks. Listings on the website have confirmed the existence of several titles, including Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (NDS) and Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Colonies Edition (PC, 360), among others.

But despite the concern over leaks, the agency noted that the consumer's ability to browse listed game ratings remains its chief priority.

"While we recognize some publishers have concerns regarding earlier-than-desired 'announcements' of product on our website, the ESRB system will not work for consumers if publishers arbitrarily select dates bearing no reasonable relationship to consumer interest in the product," the memo reads.

Those publishers which do not take advantage of the embargo option can expect listed games to appear on the ESRB's website 30 days after a game is rated.