Entertainment Software Rating Board
96px-ESRB logo.svg
Type Non-profit, self-regulatory
Industry Organization and Rating system
Founded 1994 in United States and Canada
Headquarters United States

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB for short) is a non-profit, self-regulatory video game rating organization. The organization assigns age and content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and ensures responsible online privacy principles for computer and video games in North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico). The system was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association due to violent content found in various video games. They aim to aid customers in determining a game's content and suitability. By late 2009, it had assigned nearly 19,130 ratings to over 350 publishers. Although the rating system is technically voluntary, nearly all video games are submitted for rating. Many retail stores prohibit the sale of unrated video games and the major console manufacturers will not license games for their systems unless they carry ESRB ratings.


Image Abbreviation Active Since Description
80px-ESRB Early Childhood.svg Early Childhood (EC) 1994 This rating contains no material that an adult would deem inappropiate for young children. Usually Early Childhood games are educational.
80px-ESRB - K-Av2.svg Kids to Adults (K-A) 1994-1997 This rating was assigned to games that appealed to people of many ages and tastes. Titles in this category may feature minimial violence, comic mishief, or crude language.
80px-ESRB Everyone.svg Everyone (E) 1997 This rating is basically the same as the K-A rating. Titles in this category may contain miminal cartoon, mild, or fantasy violence.
80px-ESRB Everyone 10 .svg Everyone 10+ (E10+)

Late 2004

Early 2005

This rating might be unsuitable for children under the age of 10. Games in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy, violence, language, animated blood and/or minimal suggestive themes.
80px-ESRB Teen.svg Teen (T) 1994 This rating contains content appropiate only for teenagers (13 and up) and older. However, it is not required for an adult to accompany an under aged child in order to buy the game. This category contains more intense language, suggestive themes, crude humor, blood, simulated gambling, and/or infruquent use of strong uncensored language.
80px-ESRB Mature 17 .svg Mature (M) 1994 This rating contains content suitable for anyone 17 and older. These games often contain more blood and gore, strong language, and sexual themes/content.
80px-ESRB Adults Only 18 .svg Adults Only (AO) 1994 This rating contains content unsuitable for anyone under 18 years old. These games contains blood and gore, strong language, nudity, sexual themes/content. Only games with uncensored graphic sexuality will get this rating.
80px-ESRB RP.svg Rating Pending (RP) 1994 This rating is given to games while they're in the process of being rated.

Content DescriptorsEdit

Content Descriptor Description
Alcohol Reference Reference to and/or images of alcoholic beverages
Animated Blood Unrealistic or discolored blood
Blood Depictions of blood
Blood and Gore Depictions of blood or mutilation of body parts
Cartoon Violence Violent actions in cartoon-like situations and characters
Comic Mischeif Depictions or dialogue involving slapstick or suggestive humor
Crude Humor Involves vulgar antics, including "bathroom" humor
Drug Reference Reference to illegal drugs
Fantasy Violence Violent actions of a fantasy nature
Intense Violence Graphic and realistic depictions of physcial conflict
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 Drugs The consumption or use of illegal drugs
Use of Alcohol The consumption of alcoholic beverages
Use of Tobaaco The consumption of tobacco products
Violence Scenes involving aggressive conflict. May contain bloodless dismemberment
Violent References Reference to violent acts