Video Game Rating System

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) system for rating video games and computer software

by Mark Hughes

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has voluntarily created a rating system for video games and computer software. Most games sold in North America use this rating system, which itself is divided into two parts. Each rating has its own symbol (shown on the front of a game's box) and content description (found on the back). The symbols, content description, and a game example for each rating are below.

Early Childhood (EC)

Early Childhood
  • EC games are suitable for age 3 and older.
  • Example: Franklin the Turtle
  • System: Game Boy Advance
  • Content Descriptor: Edutainment

Everyone (E)

  • E games may be suitable for ages 6 and older.
  • Example: Gourmet Chef
  • System: Nintendo DS
  • Content Descriptor: Alcohol Reference, Comic Mischief, Mild Language

Everyone 10+ (E10+)

Everyone 10+
  • E10+ games may be suitable for ages 10 and older.
  • Example: Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball
  • System: XBOX 360
  • Content Descriptor: Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco

Teen (T)

  • T games may be suitable for ages 13 and older.
  • Example: The Sims 2 Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
  • System: Windows PC
  • Content Descriptor: Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence

Mature (M)

  • M games may be suitable for ages 17 and older.
  • Example: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
  • System: PlayStation 3
  • Content Descriptor: Blood, Crude Humor, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence

Adults Only (AO)

Early Childhood
  • AO games have content only suitable for adults.
  • Example: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • System: Windows PC, PlayStation 2, XBOX
  • Content Descriptor: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs

Rating Pending (RP)

Rating Pending
  • RP is used for those titles awaiting a final rating.


Source: Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

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