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ESRB Adds Four New Content Descriptors To Game Ratings

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) has added four new ratings categories for games, hoping to better spell out the type of content in games.

Game Developer, Staff

June 30, 2003

1 Min Read

The new descriptors are as follows: 1. "Cartoon violence." Defined as when "a character is unharmed after the action has been inflicted." 2. "Fantasy violence." Defined as actions that involve "characters in situations easily distinguishable from real life." 3. "Intense violence." Defined as content that contains "graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict" that may involve "blood, gore, weapons and depictions of human injury and death." 4. "Sexual violence." Defined as "depictions of rape or other violent sexual acts." These four new categories bring the total number of content descriptors to thirty (see the ESRB web site for a complete listing). In addition, beginning September 15, publishers must begin displayihng content warning labels more prominently on the front of videogame boxes. The ESRB is a self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA). The ESRB independently applies and enforces ratings, advertising guidelines, and online privacy principles adopted by the industry. The ESRB rates over 1,000 games per year.

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