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The ESRB is a company that is dedicated to rate videogames based on the games content. The main purpose of this company is to let customers know what kind of content is in a game. It was created because of the 1990's congressional hearings where offensive videogame material was discussed, the games that started the controversy were Night Trap and Mortal Kombat.

The ESRB has a fee for rating games and that fee depends on how much the game cost to develop. If the game cost more than $250,000 dollars the fee would be $4,000 dollars, if the cost of development was less than $250,000 dollars the fee would be $800.

How Rating a Game works? The ESRB has 3 trained raters look at footage of the game sent by the publisher and recommend a rating for the game, if all 3 raters agree on a rating, content descriptors are added and the ESRB notifies the publisher. If they don't agree, more raters review the footage sent by the publisher and the opinion of the majority is the rating the game gets, the publisher is notified after this.

After being notified of the rating the publisher can either modify certain parts of the game and submit the footage to the ESRB again or, he can appeal. When a publisher appeals the rating, there is an appeals committee which is composed of entertainment software representatives.

The ESRB currently has 7 different ratings for games:

  1. EC - Early Childhood
  2. E - Everyone
  3. E10+ - Everyone ten and older
  4. T - Teens
  5. M - Mature
  6. AO - Adults Only
  7. RP - Rating Pending

The ESRB also has content descriptors, these content descriptors talk about specific situations or content that the game in question has. Here's a list of content descriptors:

  • Alcohol Reference
  • Animated Blood
  • Blood
  • Blood and Gore
  • Cartoon Violence
  • Comic Mischief
  • Crude Humor
  • Drug Reference
  • Edutainment
  • Fantasy Violence
  • Intense Violence
  • Language
  • Lyrics
  • Real Gambling
  • Simulated Gambling
  • Strong Language
  • Strong Lyrics
  • Suggestive Themes
  • Tobacco Reference
  • Use of Alcohol
  • Violence
  • Violent References

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