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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MattsworknameReally hope silent hills gets made, it really deserves to be released, and konami is being stupid riht now so if MS wants to take it, more power to them.05/29/2015 - 6:32pm
Wonderkarp80% complete? Well. If there was ever a reason to make me buy a Xbone, that would be it. That and Conker05/29/2015 - 5:24pm
Matthew Wilsonif true, a very smart move.05/29/2015 - 5:24pm
Adam802Huge if true: http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/05/29/silent-hills-reportedly-an-xbox-one-exclusive?abthid=5568e08e738dff6a4f00002305/29/2015 - 5:19pm
WonderkarpRegion locking annoys me. I cant tell you how many Japanese games I want to to play but need to own another console and learn japanese to play them!05/29/2015 - 5:13pm
MattsworknameThis kinda thing is why I have a very negitive view on things like region locking and games not being released universially. it creates problems like this where the game gets reduced as a result .05/29/2015 - 4:41pm
Andrew EisenNeither will the 3DS. Wait, WHAT?! http://www.siliconera.com/2015/05/28/samurai-warriors-chronicles-3-does-not-include-nintendo-costumes-in-the-west/05/29/2015 - 4:33pm
Andrew EisenSamurai Warriors Chronicles 3 will not include the Nintendo-themed costumes when it hits the Vita in NA and EU next month.05/29/2015 - 4:32pm
Wonderkarpthe brilliance of the Wii U is they could offer 2 games in 1 package. Tablet/pro controller controls, and then a flipped game with WiiMote. Add a master quest too it too05/29/2015 - 4:18pm
Andrew EisenTwilight Princess would be my favorite if it didn't have a few notable design issues. But yeah, those few things aside, it absolutely trumps Ocarina in most every way.05/29/2015 - 4:11pm
WonderkarpTwilight Princess is my favorite Zelda. Its a legit sequal to Ocarina, enhancing everything Ocarina had, and I hope there's a HD Remaster with gamecube controls. Make it Nintendur!05/29/2015 - 4:08pm
 

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