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ESRB Ratings Guide

 

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings provide concise and objective information about the content in video games and apps so consumers, especially parents, can make informed choices. ESRB ratings have three parts:

 

  • Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness
  • Content Descriptors indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern
  • Interactive Elements inform about interactive aspects of a product, including users' ability to interact, the sharing of users' location with other users, or the fact that personal information may be shared with third parties

 

ESRB rating system

 

As a supplementary source of information, boxed video games have Rating Summaries that provide a more detailed description of the content that factored into the rating assigned.


Rating Categories

esrb ratings symbol for ec games EARLY CHILDHOOD

Content is intended for young children.

esrb ratings symbol for E-rated games EVERYONE

Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

esrb ratings symbol for e10 games EVERYONE 10+

Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

esrb ratings symbol for T-rated games TEEN

Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.

esrb ratings symbol for m-rated games MATURE

Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

esrb ratings symbol for AO-rated games ADULTS ONLY

Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.

esrb ratings symbol for rp rating RATING PENDING

Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials related to a game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game's rating once it has been assigned.

 

NOTE: Rating Category assignments can also be based upon a game or app's minimum age requirement.

 

Content Descriptors

  • Alcohol Reference - Reference to and/or images of alcoholic beverages
  • Animated Blood - Discolored and/or unrealistic depictions of blood
  • Blood - Depictions of blood
  • Blood and Gore - Depictions of blood or the mutilation of body parts
  • Cartoon Violence - Violent actions involving cartoon-like situations and characters. May include violence where a character is unharmed after the action has been inflicted
  • Comic Mischief - Depictions or dialogue involving slapstick or suggestive humor
  • Crude Humor - Depictions or dialogue involving vulgar antics, including “bathroom” humor
  • Drug Reference - Reference to and/or images of illegal drugs
  • Fantasy Violence - Violent actions of a fantasy nature, involving human or non-human characters in situations easily distinguishable from real life
  • Intense Violence - Graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict. May involve extreme and/or realistic blood, gore, weapons and depictions of human injury and death
  • Language - Mild to moderate use of profanity
  • Lyrics - Mild references to profanity, sexuality, violence, alcohol or drug use in music
  • Mature Humor - Depictions or dialogue involving "adult" humor, including sexual references
  • Nudity - Graphic or prolonged depictions of nudity
  • Partial Nudity - Brief and/or mild depictions of nudity
  • Real Gambling - Player can gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency
  • Sexual Content - Non-explicit depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including partial nudity
  • Sexual Themes - References to sex or sexuality
  • Sexual Violence - Depictions of rape or other violent sexual acts
  • Simulated Gambling - Player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency
  • Strong Language - Explicit and/or frequent use of profanity
  • Strong Lyrics - Explicit and/or frequent references to profanity, sex, violence, alcohol or drug use in music
  • Strong Sexual Content - Explicit and/or frequent depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including nudity
  • Suggestive Themes - Mild provocative references or materials
  • Tobacco Reference - Reference to and/or images of tobacco products
  • Use of Alcohol - The consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Use of Drugs - The consumption or use of illegal drugs
  • Use of Tobacco - The consumption of tobacco products
  • Violence - Scenes involving aggressive conflict. May contain bloodless dismemberment
  • Violent References - References to violent acts

 

NOTE: Content Descriptors are applied relative to the Rating Category assigned and are not intended to be a complete listing of content. When a Content Descriptor is preceded by the term "Mild" it is intended to convey low frequency, intensity or severity.

Interactive Elements

Shares Info

Shares Info - Indicates that personal information provided by the user (e.g., e-mail address, phone number, credit card info, etc.) is shared with third parties

Shares Location

Shares Location - Includes the ability to display the user's location to other users of the app

Users Interact

Users Interact - Indicates possible exposure to unfiltered/uncensored user-generated content, including user-to-user communications and media sharing via social media and networks

 

"Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB" - Warns those who intend to play the game online about possible exposure to chat (text, audio, video) or other types of user-generated content (e.g., maps, skins) that have not been considered in the ESRB rating assignment

 

"Music Downloads Not Rated by the ESRB" - Warns that songs downloaded as add-ons for music-based games have not been rated and that their content has not been considered in the ESRB rating assignment

 

NOTE: The "Shares Info," "Shares Location" and "Users Interact" notices are assigned to digitally-delivered games and apps whereas the Online and Music notices typically apply only to online-enabled boxed video games.

 

 

 
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