A video game content rating system is a system used for the classification of video games into suitability-related groups. Most of these systems are associated with and/or sponsored by a government, and are sometimes part of the local motion picture rating system. The utility of such ratings has been called into question by studies that publish findings such as 90% of teenagers claim that their parents "never" check the ratings before allowing them to rent or buy video games, and as such calls have been made to "fix" the existing rating systems. Video game content rating systems can be used as the basis for laws that cover the sales of video games to minors, such as in Australia. Rating checking and approval is part of the game localization when they are being prepared for their distribution in other countries or locales. These rating systems have also been used to voluntarily restrict sales of certain video games by stores, such as the German retailer Kaufhof's removal of all video games rated 18+ by the USK following the Winnenden school shooting.
A comparison of currently active game rating systems, showing age on the horizontal axis.
|OFLCA||G||PG||M||(RC)||Games refused classification (RC) are banned for sale, hire or exhibition in Australia. M is a recommendation, MA15+ is a legal requirement.|
|OFLCNZ||G||PG||M||R13||R16||R18||All ages may purchase an M title, but parents are advised that content is more suitable for mature persons 16 years of age and over.|
|BBFC||UC||U||PG||12||15||18||All ages may purchase a PG title, but parents are advised that certain content may be unsuitable for children under 8.|
|ELSPA||3+||7+||12+||15+||16+||18+||most commonly used across all continents|
|PEGI||3+||7+||12+||16+||18+||In Portugal, some ratings differ from the PEGI standard.|
|MJ/DEJUS||ER / L||10||12||14||16||18|
|EOCS/CSA||General||R||18+||Used primarily for Bishōjo games|
|GRB||A||12||15||18||The KMRB no longer rates video games.|
|ESRA||+3||+7||+12||+15&||+18&+25||Some games are forbidden.|
|TIGRS||Family Friendly||Teen Content||Adult Content||Created for the use of games produced by independent developers|
|Apple||4+||9+||12+||17+||Created for games distributed through Apple's App Store worldwide|
|CSRR||普||保||輔||限||Blue and Yellow ratings need to be accompanied by teacher or guardian|
Explanations of specific ratings are available in corresponding articles.
The image below presents usage of various video game content rating systems around the world. Countries filled with gradients are using several rating systems.
For example, games with violence or drugs might be marked as teen/adult games that might not be okay for children to play. Games with nudity and adult content might be marked as Adult Only, which means that only adults can buy the game and play it.
There are many different game content rating systems all over the world.