Game Ratings & Descriptor Guide
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
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
- 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
- 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
- Simulated Gambling - Player can gamble without
betting or wagering real cash or currency
- Strong Language - Explicit and/or frequent use
- 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
- Tobacco Reference - Reference to and/or images
of tobacco products
- Use of Drugs - The consumption or use of illegal
- 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 acts
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, or to learn how to access ESRB rating summaries for detailed descriptions and specific examples of game content, click here.
Online Rating Notice
Online-enabled games carry the notice "Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB." This notice warns those who intend to play the game online about possible exposure to chat (text, audio, video) or other types of content created by other players (e.g., maps, skins) that have not been considered in the ESRB rating assignment.
For more helpful tips and resources, click here
About Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB independently applies and enforces ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles adopted by the industry.