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Ghostbusters: different age ratings for different platforms

By on March 17, 2009

Ghostbusters PS3: 12+


Ghostbusters Wii: 7+


I’m not sure I’ve seen this before. Ghostbusters, the game that Atari picked up after it was dropped by Activision and that Phil Harrison wants to turn into a $100 million franchise, is coming out on most consoles.

And the age rating will vary depending on the target market.

So if you look at the Amazon links on the right, the PS3 (and Xbox 360) SKU will have a 12+ PEGI rating, the Wii title a 7+. (And this isn’t just a mock-up error – I’ve checked).

This seems like a brilliant idea. Rather than trying to shoehorn content into different platforms, Atari is tailoring the game to its audience. The PS2 and Wii are much more family oriented, and PEGI’s advice for a 7+ rating is “Any game that would normally be rated at 3+ [i.e. suitable for all age groups] but contains some possibly frightening scenes or sounds may be considered suitable in this category. ”

For the PS3 and Xbox 360 SKUs, which tend to have a much older demographic, a 12+ rating allows “show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy character[s]” and “bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.” Hopefully, this leaves the door wide open for humorous innuendo from Venkmann, Stantz and Spengler as well as graphic violence against ghosts. After all, as Venkmann said “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!

I expect to see much more of this. The same franchise, with games created for different audiences (and possibly by different developers) depending on the target platform. Bravo to Atari for pioneering this approach.

(And if they didn’t pioneer, please tell me in the comments who did.)

And to end, mainly because I like it, here’s Ray Parker Junior’s theme tune video, complete with cameos by Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, Danny DeVito and a host of others.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: