With a little over 12 weeks to go until the official launch of Gran Turismo 7, the game has now passed an important milestone in its progress to shelves, with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) giving it an official age rating certification.
The ESRB, which is part of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), is an advisory organization in North America which looks at the content of videogames and assesses, primarily, their suitability for children. Its ratings extend from the lowest possible “E” for “Everyone” up to “A” for “Adults Only 18+”, depending on the severity and frequency of profanity, sexual content, drugs and alcohol, violence, and gambling.
As with every other Gran Turismo title that has come before it, and probably much as you’d expect, the ESRB has given the game its rating of “E” for “Everyone”. That’s broadly similar to the equivalent European “PEGI” rating of “3”, suggesting the game is suitable for all ages from three upwards.
Interestingly, ESRB does garnish the rating with an additional advisory note that the game contains references to alcohol and the use of tobacco. It’s almost unavoidable in titles that recreate older racing cars, and we have seen Polyphony Digital update assets to remove cigarette advertising previously, but this doesn’t actually refer to vehicle liveries or trackside ads.
Instead these two notes are regarding the in-game Museum feature, and Scapes. ESRB has spotted a photograph in the Museum which features an unidentified person smoking, while a Scapes location features a sign promoting alcohol sales. Both could well be new for GT7, as the ESRB’s rating for GT Sport makes no mention of either.
As well as these specifics, ESRB also notes that “Users Interact”. This is an advisory note applied to online multiplayer games, as children might be exposed to profanity and abusive language through this functionality rather than the game’s own content.
One more point of interest is that GT7 will again feature “In-Game Purchases”. It’s not clear exactly what form this will take, as PD’s approach has varied since this was introduced in GT5. In all probability this will be the return of the option to purchase many of the game’s vehicles from the PlayStation Store for real money rather than in-game credits, but we’ll have to wait and see.
ESRB is in fact the second regional body to have rated GT7, following the Australian Classification Board’s decision to rate the game as “G” — its own lowest group. We’re expecting PEGI to follow suit with a “3” rating in due course.