The Entertainment Software Rating Board is an official rating system for video games that is used within the United States, Canada, and Mexico (via a cross-rating system of the General Directorate of Radio, Television and Cinematography). It was established in 1994 after the senate hearing about violence in video games (see #History).
The ESRB rating system consists of 5 ratings. E, E10+, T, M, and AO (for more information about the ratings, see #Ratings). There used to be a preschool rating named eC but that was discontinued in 2018 (see #History and #Ratings sections).
Since May 2021, rating systems have changed in Mexico. It has been crossed rated with the General Directorate of Radio, Television and Cinematography
The Entertainment Software Rating Board was established in 1994 in response to Senate hearings about violence in video games. It also succeeded Videogame Rating Council that was used for Sega's video games and the 3DO age ratings for 3DO video games. The original ratings were RP, EC, K-A, T, M, and AO. K-A was replaced by E in 1998.
Originally, the letter icons were pixelated rating icons. However, in 2000, the pixel letter icons for the ratings were changed to just black. They added an E10+ rating in 2005 (see #Ratings for more info).
In 2013, the rating icons changed again, and in 2018, the eC rating was cut from the system because of the low usage and was easily replaced by the E rating, another rating suitable for children (but also for adults) (also see #Ratings for more info).
Mexican cross system
On November 27, 2020, the General Directorate of Radio, Television and Cinematography announced that they were replacing the the ESRB in Mexico. This took place in effect exactly six months later, on May 27, 2021. However, this only means that the new rating system is used for physical releases, as the ESRB ratings are still used in digital storefronts. The ESRB remains supported in Mexico, using a cross-rating system below:
- E games are rated A in Mexico.
- E10+ games are rated B in Mexico.
- T games are rated B15 in Mexico.
- M games are rated C in Mexico.
- AO games are rated D in Mexico.
- EC: TV-Y (US TV) and C (Canadian TV)
- E: TV-G (US TV) and G (Canadian/Quebec TV and movies and US movies),
- E10+: TV-Y7 and TV-PG (US TV), PG (Canadian TV and movies and US movies), G (with warning: Quebec), C8 (Canadian TV), 8+ (Quebec TV)
- T: PG-13 (US movies), 14A (Canadian movies), TV-14 (US TV), 14+ (Canadian TV), 13+ (Quebec)
- M and AO: R and NC-17 (US movies), 18A and R (Canadian movies), TV-MA (US TV), 18+ (Canadian TV), 16+ and 18+ (Quebec)
There is an extra mark for all current ratings (E.G. violence, blood, language, sexual content, nudity, substances). ESRB has executive descriptors that very few (if any) rating systems used.
Animated Violence (former)
Realistic Violence (former)
|Suggestive Themes||Mild Suggestive Themes|
Mild Sexual Themes
Mature Sexual Themes (former)
Blood and Gore
Realistic Blood (former)
|Sexual Content||Strong Sexual Content|
|Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco||Alcohol/Drug/Tobacco Reference|
Use of Alcohol/Drugs/Tobacco
|Crude Humor||Comic Mischief|
|Edutainment (former)||Informational (former)|
|Others||Some adult assistance may be needed|
The In-Game Purchases element was added on February 2018 in response to the increasingly predatory landscape of microtransactions in the console video game industry.
- In-Game Purchases (this includes random items)
- Users Interact
- Shares Location
- Unrestricted Internet (e.g., embedded browser)
|Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)|
|Currently used ratings|