The ESRB Website Council (EWC) was established in October 2010 to further expand the reach of the video game industry's commitment to responsible marketing practices. EWC is comprised of many of the top game enthusiast websites, all of which agree to several guidelines pertaining primarily to the display of ESRB rating information and use of age-gates on trailers for Mature-rated games.
The standards to which EWC members agree are consistent with many of those that game publishers' own websites have been held to in the past by the ESRB's Advertising Review Council (ARC) - standards that have been lauded by the Federal Trade Commission as representing "the strongest self-regulatory code." The EWC enables game enthusiast sites to participate more effectively in the industry's efforts to ensure that video games are marketed responsibly, appropriately, and that suitable measures are taken to restrict access to content that is intended for older viewers.
All EWC members agree to a Code of Conduct that sets forth various guidelines, including:
- Displaying accurate and current ESRB rating information on main product pages;
- Employing age-gates on video content associated with games rated or anticipated to be rated M (Mature) that restrict access to visitors under the age of seventeen;
- Ensuring that age-gates are both "age-neutral" (i.e., don't hint at the age threshold for access) and incorporate an FTC-recognized method for preventing circumvention (i.e., dropping a session cookie to prevent a user from going back and entering a different birth date); and
- Training all appropriate site managers, producers and/or other employees so that they are aware of the general policies and procedures adopted in this Code.
ESRB Website Council Members
EWC Member Compliance
The focus of the EWC is to work with member websites on an ongoing basis to facilitate and improve compliance with the EWC Code. ESRB monitors member websites and notifies them of any instances of non-compliance, which these sites have agreed to address promptly. If you encounter an EWC website that is non-compliant with the guidelines above, please contact us and provide a link to the page(s) in question.