Rating Games the ESRB Way

February 8, 2011 -

Last week, IGN created a nifty little flow chart detailing the ESRB’s rating process.  GP veterans are no doubt familiar with the process but newer readers may look at the chart and think, “Wait a minute, why doesn’t the ESRB play all the games it rates?”

ESRB media relations guy, Eliot Mizrachi explained to IGN:

"Although it seems logical that one would play a game to rate it, there are lots of reasons why we don't. For one, when games are submitted to ESRB for rating they may not have been finalized or fully tested yet. As a consequence, these games may still be buggy, making it difficult, if not impossible, for a rater to play the game from start to finish. Secondly, we assign over a thousand ratings each year and many games can take 50+ hours to play through. So it'd be extremely time-consuming. More importantly though, it's crucial that the raters see all of a game's "pertinent content" which includes not just the obvious (the game's context, missions, storylines, reward system, etc.), but also its most intense content.

Having raters play the game -- and make their own choices as they do so -- would not guarantee that they see everything they need to in order to assign a rating. Check out this FAQ on our website for a fuller explanation that we hope will make it clearer as to why we require publishers to fully disclose content to us."


And don’t worry about publishers being less than honest when it comes to content disclosure.  The ESRB can fine a company up to $1 million plus require the relabeling of an already manufactured or shipped game so it’s in their best interest to be forthcoming.

AE:  An interesting bit of trivia: after the Hot Coffee fiasco, the ESRB adjusted its ratings process to require that publishers disclose all pertinent content on a game disc, whether it’s accessible by the player or not.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen

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Comments

Re: Rating Games the ESRB Way

They forgot the give bribe to recieve lower rating step. (sarcasm) 

Re: Rating Games the ESRB Way

Why would anybody want a lower rating?  Everybody knows you can't sell to the lucrative "angry young man" segment without a healthy dose of the ol' hyperviolence.

(also sarcasm~)

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Fangamer

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Fangamer

Re: Rating Games the ESRB Way

I know games can be a long as 50-hours but you would think they could play atlease a demo of the game in question.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Rating Games the ESRB Way

What for?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Rating Games the ESRB Way

They do play a random sampling of games each year to make sure that the games are in line with the rating they assign. They just don't have the time and man power to play every game submitted. As the quote says, even if they have someone play through the game, there is no guarantee they will see all the content in the game.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Rating Games the ESRB Way

There's also the caseso f games that don't really end, open world games, and games where most of the profanity is from online players.

 
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Matthew Wilson@pm intreasting the gta5 port was already good from what I have read.04/20/2015 - 9:32pm
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PHX Corp@zippy I'm Probaly going to Warn my uncle who is a techie that it may come out at the end of july04/20/2015 - 8:45pm
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ZippyDSMleeMy body is readY! http://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2015/04/20/amd-microsoft-to-launch-windows-10-at-the-end-of-july04/20/2015 - 7:54pm
PHX CorpI may have posted this before but a leaked email from Sony pictures has the MPAA written all over it http://www.extremetech.com/computing/203654-leaked-sony-emails-show-mpaas-opposition-to-fair-use-confirms-users-are-viewed-as-thieves04/20/2015 - 4:53pm
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Matthew Wilson@zippy that is worse than the ESA thing.04/20/2015 - 4:26pm
ZippyDSMlee0-o good luck with that car companies, http://www.autoblog.com/2015/04/20/automakers-gearheads-car-repairs/04/20/2015 - 4:07pm
Andrew EisenYes, hence my subsequent shout.04/20/2015 - 3:15pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile the article itself isnt that great, but the point is still valid.04/20/2015 - 3:14pm
Andrew EisenProfessionals do need to be mindful of what they say on social media though. That's true.04/20/2015 - 3:11pm
Andrew EisenWell, it was almost a decent article from Techraptor. Some day. Some day...04/20/2015 - 3:09pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://techraptor.net/content/gamings-pr-problem both game devs and pr people alike need to to keep in mind, when your on twiter you are also representing the company you work for.04/20/2015 - 2:39pm
E. Zachary KnightI don't really care either way, but that was just my understanding based on previous reads.04/20/2015 - 2:13pm
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E. Zachary KnightNew Fantastic 4 trailer finally shows powers and just a wee bit of whimsy. Not too much mind you. No need to dilute the dark and brooding. http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/trailers/431505-the-new-trailer-for-fantastic-four-is-here04/20/2015 - 2:11pm
E. Zachary KnightOk. Just checked another of my Twitter accounts and there is a setting, opt-in. So it looks like a slow roll out.04/20/2015 - 1:17pm
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Andrew EisenI can't find the setting for direct messaging but I agree, it should absolutely default to off.04/20/2015 - 12:54pm
 

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