ESRB Going in New Direction; Now Hiring

The staff at the ESRB will be doing something that they have never done before–they will play the games that they rate. As odd as this sounds, the ESRB’s procedure for rating games is not based on in-depth gameplay–instead, ratings are determined by publisher-submitted documents and video previews.

The ESRB is looking for full-time game rating personnel and will install the new workers later this year. The action by the ESRB is a response to criticism of the board’s failure to accurately rate video games. The ESRB was harshly criticized in 2005 for its handling of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Originally, the title was given an "M" (mature) rating but was later re-rated "AO" (adults only) when hidden pornographic material was discovered in the game. The resulting controversy caused an avalanche of new legislation across the country to curb the selling of "M" rated games to minors.

Last September, Senator Sam Brownback said, "The current video game ratings system needs improvement because reviewers do not see the full content of games and don’t even play the games they are supposed to rate. For video game ratings to be meaningful and worthy of a parent’s trust, the game ratings must be more objective and accurate."

Patricia Vance, President of the ESRB, explained the new direction being taken to rectify the problem. "After months of careful consideration, the ESRB will be switching from part-time to full-time raters in April 2007… This would provide each rater with a greater sense of historical parity for ratings, not to mention helping them to be more attuned to pertinent content and how it should be considered from a ratings standpoint."


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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