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Plugged In's reviews exist in part because entertainment ratings don't give families enough information to make the best choices. But those ratings are so widely used that it's still important to understand what they mean. This page outlines the U.S.-based system of video game ratings as defined and overseen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).


EC Rating   E Rating   E10+ Rating   T Rating   M Rating   AO Rating
                     
Early Childhood

Titles rated EC have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
  Everyone

Titles rated E have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
  Everyone 10+

Titles rated E10+ have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
  Teen

Titles rated T have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
  Mature

Titles rated M have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
  Adults Only

Titles rated AO have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.


NOTE: Plugged In does not review AO games.

To learn more about the ESRB and video game ratings, link to www.esrb.org/ratings.