Fandom

Wikia Gaming

List of video game rating systems organised by country

26,878pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.

Here is a list of video game rating systems organised by country:

America/Canada

America and Canada currently use the ESRB system. Before that they used the 3DO system and SEGA's own system for their own games of their platform. Here is a described history of each of the systems:

1993-1994

3DO, until 1994, had their own system where they rated games published for the 3DO platform. Their system is as following:

  • 12(Guidance for under 12s): Parental guidance is required for under 12s(Example: Star Wars Lethal Assault)
  • 17(Guidance for under 17s): Parental guidance is required for under 17s(Examples: Killing Time, Demolution Man)
  • AO(Adults Only): Not for children(Or those under 18)

3DO became defunct in 1994 and was replaced by the ESRB. The only thing kept for the newer system was the AO rating, although the criteria changed.


SEGA created its own system which rated Genesis, Game Gear and rarely Personal computer games. Their system is as following:

  • GA(General Audience): Suitable for all(On the cover it says: Suitable for all)
  • MA-13(Mature Audiences - Ages 13 and over): Suitable for all ages 13 and over(On the cover it says: Parental Discretion advised)
  • MA-17(Mature Audiences - Ages 17 and over): Suitable for all ages 17 and over(On the cover it says: Not appropriate for minors)

This system was also replaced by the ESRB.

1994-Present

ESRB started out with the following ratings:

  • K-A(Kids to Adults): Suitable for all ages 6 and over
  • T(Teen): Inappropriate for those under age 13
  • M(Mature): Inappropriate for those under age 17
  • AO(Adults Only): Prohibited from under age 18. Normally in this category are strong sexual content and/or strong violence with blood and gore

ESRB then noticed, in 1997, that K-A was really too much of the life-span and that praticularly everyone were in this age range. So they changed it to E. A new EC certificate was introduced for those that had no inappropriate content. Then it became as following:

  • ESRB-EC Suitable for all ages, and there is no material that is at all likely to upset or anger parents
  • ESRB-E Suitable for all ages
  • ESRB-T Inappropriate for those under age 13
  • ESRB-M Inappropriate for those under age 17
  • ESRB-AO Prohibited from under 18. Normally in this category are strong sexual content and/or strong violence with blood and gore

The ESRB received complaints from the public about a middle rating between E and T. Following this, the ESRB rated games that would have been E10+ but instead it rated them T, e.g. Tom & Jerry: War of the Whiskers which would have been suitable for under 13s. Therefore, the current system used from 2005 is:

  • ESRB-EC Suitable for all ages, and there is no material that is at all likely to upset or anger parents
  • ESRB-E Suitable for all ages
  • ESRB-E10+ Suitable for all ages 10 and over. Games with this rating are usually more likely to upset or anger parents
  • ESRB-T Inappropriate for those under age 13
  • ESRB-M Inappropriate for those under age 17
  • ESRB-AO Prohibited from under 18. Normally in this category is strong sexual content and/or strong violence with blood and gore

ESRB, noticeably, modified their rating logos around the start of the 2000s by changing their black outline to now a black outline and filling. Also, they use the RP rating for those that will be rated soon, though you never get this rating on the cover when you buy it.

Europe

United Kingdom

England

In England they rate the games that are non-exempt from classification. The company's name is BBFC. Here are the foive commonly used ratings:

  • BBFC-U Suitable for all
  • BBFC-PG Suitable for all, however may provoke younger viewers
  • BBFC-12 Suitable for all ages 12 and over
  • BBFC-15 Suitable for all ages 15 and over
  • BBFC-18 Suitable for all ages 18 and over

Before 2004, video games were rated by the ELSPA.

  • ELSPA-3+ Suitable for all ages 3 and over
  • ELSPA-11+ Suitable for all ages 11 and over
  • ELSPA-15+ Suitable for all ages 15 and over
  • ELSPA-18+ Suitable for all ages 18 and over

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, they normally use the PEGI system, although they rarely use the IFCO system due to specific criteria. Examples of games rated by the IFCO are Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Manhunt receiving 15 and 18 certificates. The first game banned by the IFCO was Manhunt 2, in 2007 for gross, unrelating and un-necessary violence

Germany

In Germany they use the USK system. Sometimes the PEGI or the ELSPA rating appears next to it. Here are the ratings it uses:

Image PEGI's equivalent ELSPA's equivalent Description
USK-All 3+ 3+ Contains no inappropriate content and may be sold without a restriction. However, this only applies to violent or sexual content; the complexity and difficulty of the game may still be unsuited to younger children
USK-6 3+/7+/12+ 3+/11+ Restricted for those below the age of 6. Could contain some darker themes, too involving themes or very mild violence which may be disturbing for children below the age of 6
USK-12 7+/12+/16+ 11+ Restricted for those below the age of 12. Could be focused on wars of mild description but violence should be no more than mild
USK-16 16+ 15+/18+ Restricted for those below the age of 16. Could contain some frequent one-to-one gun fights, graphically sexual content and moderate violence without any visible blood
USK-18 16+/18+ 18+ Restricted for those below the age of 18. Could contain some moderately bloodly strong violence or some glorification of human rights. Most games try and avoid this rating, as this is a horrible rating to get which means that it legally can't be sold to anyone younger than age 18. Some games are indexed by the USK, which is even more horrible to get

Being indexed and banned
Most games that receive the 18 certificate are also indexed, and on top of that it could also be banned. However most games are edited to avoid the 18 certificate, like the Grand Theft Auto series(Apart from Grand Theft Auto IV which was left uncut and therefore retained the 18 certificate). Examples of games receiving the 18 certificate are Halo 3 and Fallout 3

Finland

In Finland they use the PEGI system. The system used up until 2007 January 1 was this:

  • PEGI 3+ Suitable for ages 3 and over
  • PEGI 7+ Suitable for ages 7 and over
  • PEGI 11+ Suitable for ages 11 and over
  • PEGI 15+ Suitable for ages 15 and over
  • PEGI 18+ Prohibited from under 18s

Then they changed to adopt the system as they do in England. They also used the ELSPA system and the VET system (In the VET system, they used these: K-3, K-7, K-11, K-15 and K-18)

Greece

In Greece in 2002, they banned all non-educational games to try and put a stop to gambling.

Asia

Japan

Until 2006, Japan used the following ratings:

  • CERO-All Has content which is suitable for all ages
  • CERO-12 Has content which is suitable for those aged 12 and over
  • CERO-15 Has content which is suitable for those aged 15 and over
  • CERO-18 Has content which is suitable for those aged 18 and over
  • CERO-RP Is yet to be rated

Starting from 2006 March 1, Japan used the following ratings:

  • CERO-A Have content which is suitable for all ages
  • CERO-B Have content which is suitable for those aged 12 and over
  • CERO-C Have content which is suitable for those aged 15 and over
  • CERO-D Have content which is suitable for those aged 17 and over
  • CERO-Z Have explicit content. Nobody under age 18 may purchase or rent a Z-rated game
  • CERO-RP Is yet to be rated

The reason oFOR the addition of the D rating was due to the gap between C and Z. For PC games, instead, they use the EOCS system, which normally gives out All ages and Adults Only 18 certificates

South Korea

Until 2006, Korea used the Korea Media Rating Board system. All, 12-year+ and 15-year+ are advisory while Teenager Restricted and Restricted are compulsory. It is as following:

  • All
  • 12+
  • 15+
  • Teenager Restricted(19-year+)
  • Restricted(21-year+)

Then, the Korea Media Rating Board became defunct and Game Rating Board took over. The age given is the lowest age you can be to play that game. It is as follows:

  • All
  • 12+
  • 15+
  • 18+

Note that 12+ and 15+ are not used for arcade games.

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki