oard) An independent body established in 1994 that applies and enforces ratings standards for computer and video game software. In a manner similar to the movie industry, parents can rely on ESRB labels to understand what their children will experience on platforms such as Xbox, Wii, Playstation and Gameboy Advance. The ESRB also polices advertising guidelines and online privacy practices adopted by the interactive entertainment software industry as a whole.
Symbols on Front; Descriptors on Back
The ESRB rating system is made up of one and two-letter "Rating Symbols," which appear on the front of the package (see below) and "Content Descriptors" on the back. The Content Descriptors are short references that are more precise, such as "Blood and Gore," "Cartoon Violence," "Crude Humor," "Use of Drugs" and "Sexual Content." For more information, visit www.esrb.org.
ESRB Rating Symbols
These are the front-package symbols on game software that quickly identify the target audience. (Images courtesy of the Entertainment Software Association, www.esrb.org)