How are Video Games Rated?

Movies, albums, web series, and television shows are rated by censor boards. These regulatory bodies are responsible for controlling the type of content shown to the general public. Similarly, video games are also scrutinized against the prevalent laws. In the United States of America, video games are given a rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Senator Hillary Clinton demanded a thorough investigation when hackers discovered a latent code in the game that could depict graphic adult acts in the game. Though the game already has an M rating owing to the violence. However, people called to change the rating to AO or adults-only after this discovery. You may also visit the publisher of the game, which is based in NYC. Otherwise, you may spend some quality time and relax trying these games yourself through various online casinos available for different locations like that of in virginia.

What is ESRB?

ESRB was created in 1994 after a wake-up call by two democratic senators, i.e., Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl. After a skirmish between Sega and Nintendo, the former proposed using its rating system that the latter denied, a neutral body Entertainment Software Rating Board was launched on September 16th, 1994.

Recently, Norton and Siege Media attempted to understand the board’s rating system by reviewing the samples submitted by gaming publishers and subsequent ratings and comments given by the board. To their astonishment, the board rated more than 30,000 games in 2020 only.

Global Coequals of ESRB

Parameters of rating systems change according to demography. Something which is rated for a Mature audience may be on a prohibited list in the middle east. Here is a list of some rating agencies.


The Australian government has established the Australian Classification Board that rates movies, video games, and other modes of content published since the 1970s. The board was initially a part of OFLC or Office of Films, and Literature Classification, dissolved in 2006. The board is answerable to the Minister of Communication and Arts and work under the aegis of the Department of Communication and Arts.


China introduced its first rating system recently in December 2020 as Online Game age-appropriateness Warning. The organization reports to Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association. Games are rated as: –

  • Green for kids aged eight and older
  • Blue for children aged 12 and older
  • Yellow for minors in late teens and adults, i.e., for 16 and above


Pan European Game Information was established by ISFE or Interactive Software Federation of Europe in April 2003. More than 30 European nations recognize PEGI, and it has replaced its national rating agencies with a unified rating system. The ratings are depicted in three colors and divided into five age groups. Green has two groups, 3+ and 7+; yellow has 12+ and 16+, red is 18 and above.


Japan has many game content rating regulators as there is no central authority recognized by the government. However, any publication of obscene material is punishable under article 175 of the Japanese Penal Code. Games released on consoles are rated by CERO- Computer Entertainment Rating Organisation. PC games are published after being perused and censored by Sofurin or ECOS (Ethics Organization of Computer Software).


There is no exclusive authority that rates video games exclusively. Movies, video games, and other publications are subject to ratings given as per the rules of Age classification of information products. It came into being after the enactment of the Federal Law of the Russian Federation in 2012.

South Africa

Distributors and developers of video games, movies, and other mediums of content publication are obliged by the South African Film and Production Board to comply with the rating rules. The FPB classifies content in six categories: PG, 7-9 PG, 10-12 PG, 13, 16, and 18.

International Body- IARC

IARC, or International Age Rating Coalition, gives developers ratings through questions and assesses the content based on the answers. The international body was established to streamline and unify the whole process of video games rating published digitally for international use. It is a result of a joint endeavor of different national rating agencies, including:

  • ESRB in North America
  • PEGI in Europe
  • USK in Germany
  • ClassInd in Brazil
  • Australian Classification Board
  • GRAC in South Korea

It rates video games into five categories, i.e., 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+, and 18+.

Gaming companies have to sometimes submit their game after with changes suggested by the rating agency to get a more favorable rating. These ratings affect the purchasing decisions made by the parents and avoid any unwarranted catastrophe that video games might trigger.

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