ESRB rating guide: Everything you need to know

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ESEB ratings provide consumers and parents with relevant information about what an app or game entails. You must have seen the ESRB ratings on almost all the games and apps that you have purchased or installed into your devices. For example when you open the Microsoft store and look at apps, immediately you click on an app the first icon you will come across will be the ESRB rating board.

Although most people don’t understand exactly how the content is rated, the ESRB rating board will provide you with almost all the information you need with just one simple glance. You will be able to identify what the game or app entails and whether or not it is suitable for an entire family audience.

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An in-depth look into ESRB rating

The EERB Rating has three basic parts: content descriptors, rating categories, and interactive elements. We will go ahead and break down the basic parts of the ESRB rating board.

Rating categories

The rating category is usually on the left side and it indicates the appropriate age group that the particular app or game is created for. The basic categories include Teen, Everyone, everyone 10+, Mature 17+, Adults only 18+, and Rating pending. These different categories help guardians and parents decide on whether or not a particular game or app is suitable for all the members of the family. From just one glance, you can tell whether the app or game is suitable for younger members of the family.

The rating pending category is usually associated with marketing, advertising, and promotional material that has no specific assigned final ESRB rating. Once a rating has been assigned, then the official ESRB rating should replace the earlier stated rating.

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Content descriptors

The content descriptors help you understand the content that triggered the rating provided or/and may be of some concern or interest to you. It is normally on the left side of the ESRB rating board and may include any of the following depending on the rating category of the app or game: Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Blood and Gore, Blood, Comic Mischief, Cartoon Violence, Drug Reference, Crude Humor, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Real gambling, Nudity, Sexual Content, Sexual violence, Strong lyrics, strong language, strong sexual content, Suggestive Themes, Tobacco Reference, Use of alcohol, Simulated gambling, violence, and violent references.

The rating category assigned will dictate the number of content descriptors applied and not necessary will the complete listing be given. Sometimes the content descriptors may be preceded with the term ‘mild’ to depict that it is of low severity, intensity, or frequency.

Interactive elements

The interactive elements simply highlight online or interactive features included in the product. These include sharing of a user’s location to third parties, the user’s ability to communicate with third parties, whether in-app purchases are offered, and whether or not unrestricted internet use is allowed. It is normally located at the bottom of the ESRB board


ESRB rating is important especially when you a large family with younger members. The rating helps parents and guardians closely monitor the type of apps and games that young family members are exposed to.

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