Microsoft’s reaction to Halo 5: Guardians receiving an ESRB rating of Teen is generally positive, as the tech firm believes it will help boost sales of the game.
Microsoft’s Xbox product manager Aaron Greenberg recently revealed that he thinks Halo 5: Guardians‘ getting rated T from the ESRB is a boon for the company, as it will ensure that the sci-fi first-person shooter is introduced to a “broader audience”. Greenberg also believes that a larger amount of young gamers’ parents will be more open to them playing Halo 5: Guardians with the title’s lack of an M-rating, as he is convinced it will bring increased revenue for the game.
As many fans are aware, Halo 5 is the first FPS in the series to receive a Teen rating, joining the ranks of the franchise’s real-time strategy Halo Wars and its top-down 3rd person shooter Halo: Spartan Assault to get the age-based classification. Regarding previous Halo releases’ Mature labels, Greenberg thought that their subject matter and lack of actual graphic violence didn’t necessarily warrant the M-rating. His confusion on the issue makes sense, as the gunplay and alien-blood from prior releases in the series are pretty tame when compared to gore-soaked FPS titles like Doom.
Nonetheless, the Xbox production manager and his parent company are happy with Halo 5‘s ESRB rating, for he said:
“I do expect the T rating will help game sales. Core Halo fans are going to buy the game no matter what the rating is, and I think we’ve seen that. A lot of people were surprised that previous Halo games were M-rated sort of given the style of the game and the lack of real graphic violence and things like that. We’re pleased with the rating.
“And so, I think if you look at how Destiny has done with the T rating, you look at how some of the other shooters have done with a T rating, we believe there is an audience of fans, particularly younger fans and parents that don’t let their kids play games that are M-rated. Being able to have a T-rated game will sort of put this game on the ‘approved’ list for a broader audience which we think is a good thing.”
As far as Greenberg’s assessment of the correlation between a game’s rating and its sales goes, he of all people should realize that ratings have absolutely no bearing on how much money a game makes. Regardless of the Mature tags on some titles in the Master Chief-centric franchise, Halo series sales are colossal, moving more than 65 million units in total to date.
Furthermore, Greenberg’s mention of Destiny‘s T-for-Teen rating being an indication of its financial prosperity is myopic at best. Sure, Halo and Bungie’s newest game share some similarities, but the latter’s inclusion of MMO and RPG elements are really what have made it such a success among its legions of fans. Its rating had nothing to do with its massive sales figures.
While movies’ R-ratings are known for occasionally putting a damper on a film’s box-office draw, it seems as if the complete inverse happens with video games. There are always plenty of ill-informed parents who overlook a game’s ESRB label and buy Mature titles like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto 5 for their kids, which makes the whole ratings system utterly meaningless. Should the framework of content categorization for games ever function properly, it will take a balancing act of unbiased ESRB scrutiny and parents’ responsibility, which hasn’t happened thus far.
Do you think Halo 5‘s Teen rating will have an affect on sales? Or do you believe that game ratings have little influence over people’s purchasing of titles?
Halo 5: Guardians is available now exclusively for the Xbox One.