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Very similair to my earlier question, however this deals with games that have new free content released later down the line, not paid DLC. Let's say, again like with the last question, you release new content that would push the game's rating to "Mature" when it was previously "Teen". The content is automatically added to the base game for free.

What would happen? Would the base game be pushed to the higher rating, since it now comes with more mature content, or will it not be updated at all? Or do I have to disclose the planned content to the ESRB in advance so they can already give me a higher rating than the base game would get? I don't want to hide anything, so I would give them that info if it was better in the long run.

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The ESRB doesn't care about the price of the content. They also don't really care about the distinction between content that a customer can choose to install (free or not) and updates to the game that are automatically applied.

In both cases, the extra content package is treated the same way. The content only needs to be submitted if it would exceed the rating of the base game, otherwise it inherits the rating of the base game.

If the new content changes the rating, and the base game is otherwise made unavailable without the new content, then effectively yes - the base game's rating is changed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And sometimes the ESRB even re-rates your games based on content you didn't actually release yourself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Dec 30 '17 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp Technically, they did release the content, it was just inaccessible. Modders just made accessing the game possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – noClue
    Dec 30 '17 at 19:50

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