Ratings

ESRB ratings provide information about what’s in a video game or app so parents can make informed choices about which are right for their family.

Ratings Guide

Find out more about ESRB ratings, including Rating Categories, Content Descriptors, Interactive Elements and Rating Summaries.

Rating Process

Learn more about how we examine the content of a game and the context in which it’s presented to assign ratings for physical video games and digital games and apps.

Where to Find Ratings

Make sure you know where to look to find ESRB rating information, no matter where you buy or download video games and apps.

Frequently Asked Questions

To what types of online services do the Kids Seal Requirements apply?

The Kids Seal Requirements apply to websites, mobile apps and other online services, including connected products (for example, a toy that connects to an app), that are for children under thirteen (13) years old (“Children” or individually, a “Child”) or that the operator has actual knowledge collects or maintains personal information and data from Children. If an online service displays our Kids Seal, it means we have certified it for compliance with the Kids Seal Requirements. (Please see above for information about our EPC Seal.)

Can any online service display the Kids Seal?

No. To be approved to display our Kids Seal, the operator of the online service must first become a member of Privacy Certified, which includes a contractual agreement and an annual membership fee.

The member-operator must then submit the online service for certification. We conduct an initial, up-front privacy assessment of all online services submitted to us for certification to ensure they comply with the applicable program requirements. Upon the resolution of all compliance issues we identify during our initial assessment, the online service is approved to utilize the applicable Privacy Certified seal.

Do you conduct any privacy reviews after the initial assessment?

Yes. Once an online service has been certified and approved to utilize the Kids Seal, we monitor it so long as the operator is a member of Privacy Certified. As part of our monitoring efforts, we conduct bi-annual reviews of the online service. We also conduct reviews when we are notified of changes to the online service that could impact its data collection and use practices. And, at times, we perform random spot checks.

What requirements must the online service meet to utilize the Kids Seal?

First and foremost, the Kids Seal Requirements are intended to ensure the online service complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the regulations and guidance from the Federal Trade Commission. With that in mind, the online service must provide access to a public-facing privacy statement, which must disclose, among other things:

  • The personal information and data collected through the online service;
  • How the information is used;
  • Whether it is shared or disclosed and, if so, how;
  • How parents and guardians can exercise their rights, including the rights to access, review, correct, delete, and prevent the disclosure of their Child’s personal information and data to third parties;
  • How the personal information and data is kept secure and what happens in the event of a breach;
  • How you are notified of changes to the privacy statement; and
  • How you can contact the operator or us if you have a privacy-related question or complaint.

Because the online service is directed to Children, there are restrictions placed on the collection and use of personal information and data. Specifically, unless an exception applies, the online service may only collect personal information and data from a Child if it provides direct notice to and obtains verifiable consent from a parent or guardian. The most common exceptions are for the use of certain personal information to support the online service’s operations and to respond to communications from Children. The Kids Seal Requirements require members to abide by these requirements, and we perform our reviews to ensure it. (Please note these restrictions do not apply to information parents provide about their Children.)
In addition, operators agree:

  • To work with us to resolve your privacy complaints and questions;
  • To maintain reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security and integrity of your personal information and data; and
  • Not to collect personal information and data unless it is necessary and being utilized.

Did You Know?

59% of the ESRB ratings assigned to physical and console downloadable video games in 2019 were either E (Everyone) or E10+ (Everyone 10+).

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Did You Know?

87% of parents who purchase physical video games for their children are aware of ESRB ratings and 77% regularly check them before buying a game. (Source: Hart Research Associates, 2019)

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Did You Know?

Most parents consider each part (Rating Category, Content Descriptors, Interactive Elements) of the ESRB rating system to be either “very” or “extremely” important when deciding if a game or app is appropriate for their kids. (Source: Hart Research Associates, 2019)

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Did You Know?

Industry guidelines, which are enforced by the ESRB, prohibit the inappropriate target marketing of Mature-rated games.

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Did You Know?

ESRB has an enforcement system which allows for the imposition of sanctions, fines (including fines up to $1 million), and corrective actions on publishers for non-compliance with its guidelines.

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Did You Know?

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission 87% of kids under the age of 17 are turned away when trying to buy an M-rated game at retail.

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Did You Know?

The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “This [ESRB rating] system does much to ensure that minors cannot purchase seriously violent games on their own, and that parents who care about the matter can readily evaluate the games their children bring home.”

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Did You Know?

The E (Everyone) rating was originally called K-A (Kids to Adults) but was changed in 1998.

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Did You Know?

The ESRB rating system has three parts – Rating Categories, Content Descriptors and Interactive Elements, the latter of which were introduced in 2013.

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Did You Know?

Introduced in 2008, Rating Summaries provide greater detail about the content in physical games rated by the ESRB, and are exclusively available on this website or the ESRB mobile app by conducting a title search.

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Did You Know?

ESRB uses more than 30 different Content Descriptors to help communicate what’s in a game.

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Did You Know?

The FTC considers the ESRB to have “the strongest self-regulatory code” among media rating systems in the U.S. and has confirmed that retailers maintain a high store policy compliance rate.

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Did You Know?

Founded in 2013 by many of the world’s leading video game rating authorities, the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) administers the first globally streamlined age classification process for digital games and mobile apps that respects the unique cultural norms of each region.

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Did You Know?

In 1999 ESRB Privacy Online (now called ESRB Privacy Certified) launched its certification program and was sanctioned by the FTC as a “Safe Harbor” under Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

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Did You Know?

More than 70% of parents would be more comfortable allowing their children to download and play a game certified by ESRB Privacy Certified (Source: Hart Research Associates, 2018).

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Did You Know?

It’s never too late to have “the conversation” with your kids about what, when, and how they can play!

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Did You Know?

Activating parental controls on your children’s video game devices helps you enforce house rules, such as limiting play time, blocking games with certain ESRB ratings, and managing in-game spending.

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Did You Know?

The average gamer is between the ages of 35 and 44.

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