The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings are designed to provide information about video and computer game content, so you can make informed purchase decisions. ESRB ratings have two 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 game box) and the content descriptors (on the back of the game box).
ESRB Rating Symbols
Content is intended for young children.
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Content is generally suitable for persons ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Content suitable for adults 18 years and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.
Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials and related to a game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game's rating once it has been assigned.
ESRB Content Descriptors
- Alcohol Reference
- Reference to and/or images of alcoholic beverages
- Animated Blood
- Discolored and/or unrealistic depictions of 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 illegal drugs
- 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
- Mild to moderate use of profanity
- Mild references to profanity, sexuality, violence, alcohol, or drug use in music
- Mature Humor
- Depictions or dialogue involving "adult" humor, including sexual references
- Graphic or prolonged depictions of nudity
- Partial Nudity
- Brief and/or mild depictions of nudity
- 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 sexual acts
- Simulated Gambling
- Player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency
- Strong Language
- Explicit and/or frequent use of profanity
- 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 or materials
- Tobacco Reference
- Reference to and/or images of tobacco products
- Use of Alcohol
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Use of Drugs
- The consumption or use of illegal drugs
- Use of Tobacco
- The consumption of tobacco products
- Scenes involving aggressive content. May include bloodless dismemberment
- Violent References
- References to violent acts
Note: Content Descriptors are applied relative to the Rating Category assigned and are not intended to be a complete listing or content. When a content descriptor is preceded by the term Mild, it conveys low frequency, intensity, or severity.
For the most up to date list of content descriptors and definitions, go to www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp
"Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB" - Warns those who intend to play the game online about possible exposure to chat (text, audio, video) or other types of user-generated content (e.g., maps, skins) that have not been considered in the ESRB rating assignment.
"Music Downloads Not Rated by the ESRB" - Warns that songs downloaded as add-ons for music-based games have not been rated and that their content has not been considered in the ESRB rating assignment.
About Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)s
The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB independently assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.
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