ESRB Offers New Website Widget For Checking Game Ratings

The ESRB has launched a new search widget to help parents and game consumers find age ratings for commercially published video games.

The widget is free and can be configured for installation on websites, social networking sites and blogs by grabbing the code from the ESRB site.  In fact, we’re taking the widget out for a spin here at GamePolitics, over in the right sidebar.

ESRB president Patricia Vance said of the new tool:

Our single most important message to consumers, particularly to parents, is that they should always check a game’s ESRB rating when considering a purchase or rental for their children.

Parents are hungry for this information, and research shows that three-quarters of parents regularly check ESRB ratings when making purchase or rental decisions about which games to bring home.  Our ratings search widget makes checking the rating that much more convenient.  We’re very excited to be offering this widget…

The widget’s size, color and language (English, Spanish and French) can be tweaked by the user.

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  1. 0
    AB says:

    you guys know it kind of funny, think about it because all info is on the box, and people still cant seem to read what’s on it.

    that’s like going to the store and buying your groceries without looking at the health lable or checking the experation date.

  2. 0
    King of Fiji ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yes add a widget because looking at the god damned box is too hard for parents these days……not that I’m complaining about things that accutally show the industry cares about ratings and stuff like that but I mean…..ok so you found a fancier way of looking at something that is right on the box of what your kid is using.

    Why not look at the box?

  3. 0
    Elalonna ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, even if it isn’t practically useful(why go to this trouble when the rating is already on the freaking box?!), people can’t say the ESRB aren’t doing enough to keep parents informed.

    I circumvented all this trouble with my mom by taking a philosophy class, though. We have an agreement that she isn’t allowed to complain until she solves the same logic puzzles I solved.

  4. 0
    AB says:

    i’ll give you guys a good examples of this why this is like one of those college helpful resource programs that some people know its there, but there either to afraid to go or they just dont want to get involved

    1. people are here to help you in anyway possiable

    2. we have tutors on the subject matter with helpful tips

    3. make a apppoiment with a teacher or a peer to peer talk about homework.

    does any of this sound fimailar to what the ESRB is trying to do???

    its like saying “we have people here to help you in anyway possible to understand the materials.”

    but its up to you if you want to put some effort in to it.

  5. 0
    Reede ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If they can’t check a damn box, what leads them to believe they will check a website?

    Maybe it’s a good idea, but it really doesn’t seem like it’ll be any more useful than the ratings already put down.

  6. 0
    Andrew Eisen ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh man.

    ESRB may have wanted to let this one cook for a while.

    Type in “ecko” and run the search. As expected, Mark Ecko’s Getting Up appears.

    Scroll to the bottom where the Gex 3 games are (you’ll have to use the scroll bar as the mouse wheel won’t work). Notice the gray and white color bands have stopped alternating. All three entries are gray. Mousing over will correct the display problem.

    According to the ESRB site, there are two Deep Cover Geko games. One for the PC/PS1 (rated T) and one for the N64 (rated E). Notice the E rated entry also includes the PC and PS1. The content descriptors don’t line up either (animated violence vs. mild animated violence).

    Now highlight the last Gex game. It comes up as Dead Reckoning!

    If you mess with the scroll bar a bit (move it up and down, click the up and down arrows), Dead Reckoning will show up at the bottom of the list but there’s no pop up window when you mouse over it.

    The widget is still a great idea. It’s just not done yet.

    Andrew Eisen

  7. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “I think the community needs to work on winning over those that DON’T care about what their kids say, do, listen to watch or play. Those are the people who whole heartedly endorse these asinine laws”

    As supporters of these laws have proven, it’s much easier to preach to the converted…

    I suppose the hope is, that by continuing to provide more tools, especially ones that people can put on their own blogs and websites, they make it just that much easier to access. Just like we know certain parents won’t pay attention in-store, but we plaster giant posters, huge labels, and have tons of pamphlets, and even prompt them at the till. The idea is eventually they’ll clue in. Pushing them, will only turn them away due to resentment over telling them how to raise their kids, ironic considering they’ll back laws telling OTHER parents how to raise their kids… *shrug*

  8. 0
    Eville1 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    That’s all well and good, assisting people who already show an interest in their kids and all of that but I think the community needs to work on winning over those that DON’T care about what their kids say, do, listen to watch or play. Those are the people who whole heartedly endorse these asinine laws that they end up having to pay for (out of their own taxes no less.) in the end.

  9. 0
    mogbert ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Most parents will get presented with a game to buy while at a store rather then at home, I still think that most parents need to get their head around that this is like reasing the ingredients. Imagine your kid is allergic to peanuts, you would friggen read every package ingredients before they ate, and you would teach your kid to read the ingredients themselves.

    Only, see, it’s the ingredients that make up the game instead…

  10. 0
    jer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ll try out the widget when I get home.

    On a side note, 75% of parents check the ratings?
    So politicians are playing the the 25% that cannot think for themselves or their families?

  11. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    This isn’t really for them. It’s specifically designed for parents who frequently use teh interwebs to research game content. To make it so they can more easily and quickly look up ratings info.

    I wonder if I can use AIR widgets in the OS X dock? … hmm…

  12. 0
    Eville1 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    To bad parents won’t use it. You’re trusting parents know how to sign up to a google account and add those things to begin with.

  13. 0
    Loudspeaker ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Andrew Eisen

    I agree on the issue of the widget and the ratings symbol.

    I punched in the infamous “Mass Effect” and it pulled up the right game, but then the info appears as a balloon off the mouse pointer. That’s fine, but the symbols seem like a huge missing factor. It’s definitely going in the right direction though.

    BTW I was using IE 7.0 to browse it at the time.

  14. 0
    Andrew Eisen ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Okay, my above comments apply to the 160×300 sized widget. The other sizes are better but still have issues. Even the largest size won’t display all the content descriptors without mousing over the proper column. Even expanding the column width doesn’t get all of them.

    Another issue with the 160×300 is the content descriptors get cut off if you mouse over too far to the right.

    Again, it’s a great idea, it just needs to be formatted better.

    Andrew Eisen

  15. 0
    Andrew Eisen ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Great idea. Not yet as well implemented as I’d like to see.

    Type in Manhunt 2. You see this:

    Manhunt 2 (Wii) – Mature –
    Manhunt 2 (Playstation 2,

    Bit of a formatting issue there. Ideally, I’d like to see the ratings symbols themselves. They’re much more recognizable (and take up less space).

    Content descriptors can be seen by mousing over the title/rating but you shouldn’t have to do that.

    Great idea though. I just hope it’s further refined.

    Andrew Eisen

  16. 0
    King James says:

    75% of parents check the ratings? Really? Maybe I’m just cynical, but that seems like an awfully high percentage.

    It’s not the system that’s broken, it’s the parents.

  17. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    What do you mean? Looks fine to me. What browser are you using?

    I’m on Firefox on Ubuntu Linux 7.10

  18. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Of note, you have to go to the original site to change the colour/size/language. If you just click the “share this” button, on iGoogle anyway, it doesn’t let you modify the widget.

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