A Look at How the American Ratings Board Rates Video Games

By Luke Plunkett on at

Danny O’Dwyer’s Noclip documentary series recently got the chance to visit the ESRB – the US  Entertainment Software Rating Board – and see just how the organisation works. It's basically the American equivalent of PEGI, and while their rating system is slightly different, this video still provides an interesting look into the world of video game ratings.

The 44-minute video touches on a number of topics. First, it’s a pretty good history of the ESRB, detailing their origins in the wake of social and political hysteria surrounding video game violence in the 1990s.

Next, it goes behind the scenes, meets several key employees and shows not just how the ESRB works in the US, but how they cooperate with other international ratings boards as well.

Finally, and perhaps least satisfactorily, it raises the question of what the ESRB is going to do in the future, and how they’re reacting to more contemporary controversies like lootboxes. Here, the ESRB’s answers aren’t going to impress anyone hoping the organisation is as opposed to publisher’s predatory pricing strategies as consumers are.