Entertainment Software Rating Board

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (often abbreviated to ESRB) is the American rating board for video games. It was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association in response to the concerns of politicians and parents about children having access to violent video games. The ESRB independently enforces ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles adopted by the industry.

The ESRB rates a game based on the content of the game. Violence, sexual content, substance abuse, and strong language are all things that are taken into consideration when rating a game. There are currently six ratings: Early Childhood, Everyone (previously Kids-Adults), Everyone 10+, Teen, Mature, and Adults Only. There's a seventh rating and that is the RP rating or Rating Pending. For more information about the ESRB rating system, see below.


Rating Description
eC, or Early Childhood, are games that have Edutainment or no descriptions in them. It is recommended for players 3 to 6 years old and contains no content that parents may find inappropriate such as language, sexuality, drugs, or violence.

Examples: Sesame Street: Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece, Reader Rabbit Preschool, The Very Hungry Caterpillar's ABCs, JumpStart Pet Rescue.

E, or Everyone (formerly K-A, Kids to Adults until 1997), are games that commonly contain Crude Humor, Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence, Cartoon Violence, Mild Fantasy Violence, Fantasy Violence, and Mild Suggestive Themes. It is recommended for players who are at least 6 years old.

Examples: Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Sports.

E10+, or Everyone 10 and Up, contains games that have Crude Humor, Comic Mischief, Cartoon Violence, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Mild Violence, and Violence commonly. It is recommended for players who are at least 10 years old. This rating was introduced in late 2004.

Examples: Mario Strikers Charged, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition.

T, or Teen, contains games that usually have Blood, Crude Humor, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence, Language, Simulated Gambling, and Sexual Themes. It is recommended for players who are at least 13 years old.

Examples: Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Batman: Arkham Origins, The Simpsons Game.

M, or Mature 17 and Up, contains games that usually contain Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence, Partial Nudity, Use of Drugs, Use of Alcohol, and Use of Tobacco. It is recommended for players who are at least 17 years old.

Examples: Conker's Bad Fur Day, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Grand Theft Auto V, Family Guy: Back to The Multiverse, South Park: The Stick of Truth.

AO, or Adults Only 18 and Up, contains games that usually have Blood and Gore, Realistic Blood and Gore, Animated Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Animated Violence, Sexual Themes, Mature Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence, Nudity, Use of Drugs, Use of Alcohol, Use of Tobacco, and Gambling. Only players who are at least 18 years old can play these games. Only 32 games with this rating were ever released, and none of games have ever appeared on consoles other than PC, CD-i, and mobile phones.

Examples: Seduce Me, Manhunt 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 1.0 (2.0 Version Rated M), Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude Uncut and Uncensored,

RP, or Rating Pending are used in games that have been submitted to the ESRB and is awaiting final rating. This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release. However, once rated, all pre-release advertising must contain the game's official ESRB rating.


See also[edit]

  • PEGI - (Pan European Game Information), the European rating system.
  • CERO - (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization), the Japanese rating system.
  • ACB - (Australian Classification Board), the Australian rating system.
  • USK - (Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle), the German rating system.
  • DEJUS - (Departamento de Justiça, Classificação, Títulos e Qualificação), the Brazilian rating system.

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