ESRB employs only 6 raters to rate all games

esrbEalier in the year the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) changed their setup, moving away from part-time raters and employing 6 full-time raters to classify all games released onto the market.

At first glance, 6 raters doesn’t seem like nearly enough and when asked by Gamasutra, ESRB President Patricia E. Vance mentioned that during peak periods like the summer up to Christmas, the raters can review over 150 games per month. That’s almost 40 per week!

Now from here the argument can go in two distinct directions:

A) There are too many games to review and the staff simply can not spend enough time reviewing each game, resulting in them either too harshly rating the game or not being harsh enough. The reviewers may miss or pass over elements of the game that would possibly warrant a stronger rating.

Then we have B) With so many games to review, the staff gets a lot of experience, making them the perfect people for the job and enabling them to cope with the large number of titles. Their rating sense would be so well honed that they would know exactly how to test the game to determine the rating, and with a wide variety of genres and games, they would always be improving their skills and would never get bored.

I’d have to lean more towards argument A, because with a limited timeframe and such a large number of games to review, shortcuts would have to be made. So why not expand the number to 15 or 20, giving you not only a larger number of people to review the games, but also a more diverse group of people to review the games.

In related news, the upcoming Soldier of Fortune: Payback has been refused classification by the OFLC (Australian Office of Film & Literature Classification), effectively banning the game in Australia before its release, as it disallows the sale, advertisement and even importing of the game into the country.

This is sad news for Aussies like myself who thoroughly enjoyed the previous SoF games and were looking forward to the third game in the series.

[via Gamasutra]


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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