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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NeenekoJust look at how interviews are handled. Media tends to pit someone who is at best a journalist, but usually entertainer, against an expert, and it is presented and percieved as if they are equals.10/25/2014 - 7:38am
Neeneko@MC - Focusing on perpetrator does nothing for prevention, the media and public lack the domain knowledge and event details to draw any useful conclusions. All we get are armchair risk experts.10/25/2014 - 7:36am
Neeneko@AE - no name or picture, I like it.10/25/2014 - 7:34am
PHX Corp@MW and AE The news media needs to stop promoting the Shooters. period10/25/2014 - 7:16am
Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
TechnogeekHell, Liam Neeson built his modern career around it. Cultural factors likely play a far greater role than you appear willing to admit.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
TechnogeekSeriously, though, the idea of "because women are protectors and that's why they never commit school shootings" is, at best, grossly overreductive. There's nothing inherently feminine about being willing to kill in order to protect one's offspring.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
 

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