Does this week's Animal Crossing: Wild World controversy illustrate weaknesses with the ESRB's content ratings, particularly in games that can display potentially offensive user generated content? Not according to the ESRB.
MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo questioned whether the "Game Experience May Change During Online Play" and "Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB" caveats provide adequate warning to those purchasing used games, the kind that neither a publisher nor retailer nor ratings board can vet before it gets into a consumer's hands.
ESRB spokespeople defended the system, explaining that "ESRB ratings cannot anticipate and therefore consider user-generated content in the ratings we assign" and adding that most games are "read-only," immune from such problems.
MTV also got in touch with GameStop, the mega-retailer whose business thrives on selling used games. Reps there said that the company has a policy to wipe data from the games it buys back, noting that some things may slip through the cracks.
I know that I've come across a stranger's data more than once in my used game purchasing history, but found nothing that could be considered offensive. Has anyone out there in Kotaku land?