Entertainment Software Rating Board
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a non-profit self regulatory organization that provides age-based ratings for video games. The organization was established in 1994 and has become the de facto standard for video game ratings in the United States and Canada. Since its emergence, the organization has provided ratings to over 13,400 electronic consumer games, and has even become voluntarily enforced in many large retailer chains.
The ESRB has six age-based ratings, designed to help parents and legal guardians make informed purchases when buying video games for their child. The age-based ratings are as follows:
Early Childhood (EC)
Games rated EC (Early Childhood) are typically designed and suitable for children aged 3 or older. These games contain no objectionable content.
Games rated E (Everyone) are suitable for children aged 6 or older. Games in this category may contain small amounts of cartoon violence, mild violence, and infrequent mild language.
Everyone 10+ (E10+)
Games rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) are suitable for children aged 10 or older, more commonly referred to as preteens. Games in this category may contain higher levels of cartoon or fantasy violence, mild language, and minimal suggestive themes.
Games rated T (Teen) contain content suitable for children aged 13 or older. Games in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal/non realistic blood, simulated gambling, and infrequent use of strong language.
Games rated M (Mature) contain content suitable for those 17 or older. Games in this category may include intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, nudity, and strong language.
Adults Only (AO)
Games rated AO (Adults Only) contain content only suitable for those 18 or older. Games in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content, and prolonged nudity.
Rating Pending (RP)
Games rated RP (Rating Pending) have yet to be assigned a rating. Typically, this rating is only displayed in advertisements prior to a game's release.