ESRB Rolls Out Free Digital Rating System

ESRB Rolls Out Free Digital Rating System

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A new voluntary rating system for digital games should make life easier for parents of young gamers.

You never know what you're going to get with a downloadable game. There could be violence, foul language or even, God help us, nudity. If, like me, you live in perpetual fear of accidentally exposing yourself to digital genitals, the ESRB might have just the thing.

The ratings board has launched the no-cost Digital Rating Service it announced back in 2011. Now any developer can fill out a questionnaire and receive an official ESRB rating for their digital title. Right now, the rating doesn't mean anything from a legal standpoint, as the system relies on developers evaluating their own content, and without retailers willing to block the sale of unrated games, the ratings board has no clout. Contrary to popular belief, as a voluntary agency the ESRB has no power to prevent game sales, instead, several major retailers simply refuse to stock games that are either unrated or rated AO. The system has been criticized for making games aimed at adults less attractive to developers, but it remains preferable to any kind of State-ran rating system.

The program is mostly concerned with making it easier for parents to identify suitable content for their children and preventing confusion when it comes to online/offline game ratings.

"By simplifying the process and eliminating the cost to developers, the ESRB expects to broaden adoption of its ratings among game providers of all types," an ESRB rep stated. "The resulting ubiquity of ESRB ratings will ease a parent's job by presenting a single ratings standard across the many platforms on which their children access games. Increased adoption of ESRB ratings also means that developers will no longer be subject to differing and oftentimes conflicting rating systems and standards for their digitally delivered games."

Source: MCV

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I would be rated PG 13.

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Of course it's going to be free of charge... for now. How better to keep in control of public standards than by "volunteering" your time. This also comes with the added benefit of first getting people to rely on your rating system... THEN to start charging.

Yes, I just equated the ESRB to drug pushers. Here's a secret, it's because I hate rating systems.

Grey Carter:
You never know what you're going to get with a downloadable game. There could be violence, foul language or even, God help us, nudity. If, like me, you live in perpetual fear of accidentally exposing yourself to digital genitals, the ESRB might have just the thing.

Grey I am sorry, but you kind of don't have the ground to stand on that your presenting because of this

Grey Carter:

"By simplifying the process and eliminating the cost to developers, the ESRB expects to broaden adoption of its ratings among game providers of all types," an ESRB rep stated. "The resulting ubiquity of ESRB ratings will ease a parent's job by presenting a single ratings standard across the many platforms on which their children access games. Increased adoption of ESRB ratings also means that developers will no longer be subject to differing and oftentimes conflicting rating systems and standards for their digitally delivered games."

this just makes it seem like they are trying to replace PEGI. which when it comes down to it is actually a more telling system then ESRB though they do have different standards for what constitutes adult, and certain age levels, but still easier to understand. rather then having parents ask "what does the M mean again."

ESRB strikes the internet. the castle is lost, retreat or fight till death?
seriuosly, instead of removing the idiocity of rating system they are expanding it? and then you say world isnt going to hlel?

Grey Carter:
Contrary to popular belief, as a voluntary agency the ESRB has no power to prevent game sales, instead, several major retailers simply refuse to stock games that are either unrated or rated M.

Don't you mean rated AO? I have never heard of any store refusing to stock M rated games but I could be wrong.
OT: while it has no effect me personally (being 18 FTW) it will be interesting to see how many devs actually use this.

Rated T, for Time waster.
You can put all the letters and numbers on a game you want, but you unless you've got a way to make parents give a shit.

DVS BSTrD:
Rated T, for Time waster.
You can put all the letters and numbers on a game you want, but you unless you've got a way to make parents give a shit.

First of all, that's badly worded but I think I understand what you mean. My parents gave a shit. They realized that the rating were bull but it did help them at least. I didn't play T games until I was 7 and when I was 12 I only got to play certain M games parents approved of and I didn't get to go online until I was a ways into being 13.

major_chaos:

Grey Carter:
Contrary to popular belief, as a voluntary agency the ESRB has no power to prevent game sales, instead, several major retailers simply refuse to stock games that are either unrated or rated M.

Don't you mean rated AO? I have never heard of any store refusing to stock M rated games but I could be wrong.
OT: while it has no effect me personally (being 18 FTW) it will be interesting to see how many devs actually use this.

Actually you're spot on. Got my international ratings mixed up. Error fixed, thanks for pointing it out.

gardian06:
this just makes it seem like they are trying to replace PEGI. which when it comes down to it is actually a more telling system then ESRB though they do have different standards for what constitutes adult, and certain age levels, but still easier to understand. rather then having parents ask "what does the M mean again."

What? You do realize that ESRB is the game rating system used in the US and PEGI is what they use in Europe right? There's no confusion or attempts to replace to be had since stores don't stock games with the different rating system in either area.

This is all well and good, but as a 20 year old I can buy whatever I want.

NOT NUDITY! Think of the children! Quick, get little Timmy that new game about the massacre in Rwanda! We need some violence to cover up the nip slip in the last Dead or Alive game.

gardian06:

Grey Carter:
You never know what you're going to get with a downloadable game. There could be violence, foul language or even, God help us, nudity. If, like me, you live in perpetual fear of accidentally exposing yourself to digital genitals, the ESRB might have just the thing.

Grey I am sorry, but you kind of don't have the ground to stand on that your presenting because of this

I think you need to get your sarcasm detector fixed >.>

Its a good idea, if enough publishers get behind it and rate their games accurately it might help hold off official and mandatory notices.

Personally I think ratings are good thing in general as long as they are not state censorship style ones. They give responsible parents the tools to choose appropriate content for their kids (no amount of notices will stop irresponsible ones) and it helps pull the teeth of some of the campaign groups that want violent or sexual content banned from games. When a game is rated as an adult game those groups arguments are easily deflected towards the fact that its the parents fault that their kids are playing them.

Why do people dislike ratings? You are free to completely ignore them if you'd like, and they give intelligent parents who don't know much about games a way to fairly quickly parse whether a game is appropriate.

I assume there will be a way to differentiate these from normal ratings? Since this is the honor system, I want to be able to know when the developer rated the game themselves.

P.S. Thanks

Covarr:
I assume there will be a way to differentiate these from normal ratings? Since this is the honor system, I want to be able to know when the developer rated the game themselves.

P.S. Thanks

Maybe it won't say "Content Rated by the ESRB", possibly

OT:

Doesn't really bother me, considering I can buy whatever I want and if I want to see how violent a game is, I'll just watch a video on gameplay or demo.

I consider ratings to be helpful on paper, but (a-lot of) parents don't care, and buy their kid "Bloody-Bloody McShooter 19; Extra Bloody Edition" if Junior asks for it. But, then go on blaming the game instead of themselves when Junior takes a gun to school.

Falterfire:
Why do people dislike ratings? You are free to completely ignore them if you'd like, and they give intelligent parents who don't know much about games a way to fairly quickly parse whether a game is appropriate.

Because they are a symbol of control and authority, so people lash out against them instinctively. I'm just grateful that we can ignore them here in the U.S. In other countries, the government's running things and they're mandatory.

Falterfire:
Why do people dislike ratings? You are free to completely ignore them if you'd like, and they give intelligent parents who don't know much about games a way to fairly quickly parse whether a game is appropriate.

For me, it's because you have this monolithic entity claiming to know what's appropriate for whom and discouraging parents from doing any real research or forming opinions of their own. For example, you know how people complain that Americans are prudish about sex and nudity but are totally fine with Saw levels of violence? We mostly have the movie and video game ratings systems to blame for perpetuating that attitude.

 

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