The ESRB Video Game Rating System
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:
Ratings 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: highlight interactive or online features of a product, including users’ ability to interact with each other, the sharing of users’ location with other users, if purchases of digital goods or services are offered, and/or if unrestricted internet access is provided.
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
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.
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
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.
Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials related to a physical (e.g., boxed) video 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.
- 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.
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