Rating System Wiki

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.

Later era[]

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.


Rating What it means From Until Image
eC (Early Childhood) Games suited preschool children. This was originally meant to be ages 3 and above but that age was changed to all ages until it was retired and no longer used as of 2018. 1994 2018 ESRB EC.svg
E (Everyone) Games suited for all ages. It was originally meant to be ages 6 and above but that age was changed to all age. Formerly known as Kids to Adults (K+A) until 1998. These games are rated A in Mexico. Present ESRB E.svg
E10+ (Everyone 10+) Games suited for ages 10 and above. This is the newest rating in the Entertainment Software Rating Board, introduced in 2005. They are rated B in Mexico. 2005 ESRB E10+.svg
T (Teen) Games suited for ages 13 and above. The highest advisory rating in Canada. They are rated B15 in Mexico. 1994 ESRB T.svg
M (Mature) Games suited for ages 17 and above. In the United States, no restrictions are passed (although some businesses have policies to prohibit sales to a person under the age of 17). In Canada, under provincial laws, it is illegal to supply M-rated games to a person under the age of 17 years. They are rated C in Mexico. ESRB M.svg
AO (Adults Only) Games suited for ages 18 and above. In stores, anyone buying an AO game must be 18 years or older, and must not be supplied to children under 18. They are rated D in Mexico. ESRB AO.svg
RP (rating pending) Games without a rating yet. ESRB RP.svg


  • 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)

Content descriptors[]

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.

Category Subcategories
Violence Fantasy Violence
Cartoon Violence
Mild Violence
Intense Violence
Animated Violence (former)
Realistic Violence (former)
Language Mild Language
Strong Language
Mild Lyrics
Strong Lyrics
Suggestive Themes Mild Suggestive Themes
Mild Sexual Themes
Sexual Themes
Mature Sexual Themes (former)
Blood Animated Blood
Mild Blood
Blood and Gore
Realistic Blood (former)
Sexual Content Strong Sexual Content
Nudity Partial Nudity
Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Alcohol/Drug/Tobacco Reference
Use of Alcohol/Drugs/Tobacco
Gambling Simulated Gambling
Real Gambling
Crude Humor Comic Mischief
Mature Humor
Edutainment (former) Informational (former)
Others Some adult assistance may be needed

Interactive elements[]

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
ESRB RP.svg ESRB E.svg ESRB E10+.svg ESRB T.svg ESRB M.svg ESRB AO.svg

Formerly used rating