The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings are designed to provide concise and impartial information about the content in computer and video games so consumers, especially parents, can make an informed purchase decision. ESRB ratings have two equal parts: rating symbols suggest age appropriateness for the game and content descriptors indicate elements in a game that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern.
To take full advantage of the ESRB rating system, it's important to check both the rating symbol (on the front of the box) and the content descriptors (on the back).
ESRB Rating Symbols
Titles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
Titles listed as RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)
ESRB Content Descriptors
Alcohol Reference - Reference to and/or images of alcoholic beverages
Animated Blood - Discolored and/or unrealistic depictions of blood
Blood - Depictions of blood
Blood and Gore - Depictions of blood or the mutilation of body parts
Cartoon Violence - Violent actions involving cartoon-like situations and characters. May include violence where a character is unharmed after the action has been inflicted
Comic Mischief - Depictions or dialogue involving slapstick or suggestive humor
Crude Humor - Depictions or dialogue involving vulgar antics, including “bathroom” humor
Drug Reference - Reference to and/or images of illegal drugs
Fantasy Violence - Violent actions of a fantasy nature, involving human or non-human characters in situations easily distinguishable from real life
Intense Violence - Graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict. May involve extreme and/or realistic blood, gore, weapons and depictions of human injury and death
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 Tobacco - The consumption of tobacco products
Violence - Scenes involving aggressive conflict. May contain bloodless dismemberment
Violent References - References to violent act.
When a content descriptor is preceded by the term "Mild," it is intended to convey low frequency, intensity or severity of the content it modifies.
Content descriptors are not intended to be a listing of every type of content one might encounter in the course of playing a game. For more detail about how ESRB assigns content descriptors, click here.
Online Rating Notice
Online games that include user-generated content (e.g., chat, maps, skins) carry the notice "Game Experience May Change During Online Play" to warn consumers that content created by players of the game has not been rated by the ESRB.