Bethesda announced today that the upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online MMO has earned an "M" rating from the ESRB, meaning the game is rated for players 17 and older. Not surprisingly, Bethesda is rather displeased with this decision.
On the official Bethesda Facebook page, the company made a post about the news, and noted their objections. More surprising is their decision to leave the M rating unchallenged, despite their feelings on the matter. The developers are also going back to alter the age gates attached to their assets.
The ESRB advised us that it has given The Elder Scrolls Online a Mature rating. While we may disagree with the ESRB’s determination, we do not plan to challenge the rating, and we are unwilling to change the game’s content to achieve a different rating. The game we have created is the one we want our fans to be able to play.
As a result of the ESRB rating, we are in the process of promptly updating everything with the required rating and age gates, including game trailers, web sites, and ads. Thanks for your understanding. We can’t wait to welcome players into The Elder Scrolls Online soon
An M rating is not generally desired if a developer is hoping to attract a larger audience, so Bethesda's reaction is not entirely surprising, especially considering some countries ban mature-rated games. Most major MMOs tend to get by with a Teen rating, with Funcom's numerous titles being a major exceptions.