How the ESRB Ratings Work
The ESRB uses a specific system for rating games. It follows a very predictable pattern:
- The developers fill out a questionnaire and send in a fee to the ESRB. The amount of the fee is based on the budget for the game. Larger budgeted games pay a larger fee. The questionnaire asks about the specific content in the game, how realistic the game is, and what audience the game is meant for.
- The developers also send in a DVD of the most explicit content within the game
- A panel of three reviewers read the questionnaire and watch the DVD. They then assign a particular rating for a game.
- If the developers believes the rating is too high, they can make changes to the game and then resubmit the questionnaire and DVD. The game will then be re-rated.
- The ESRB posts a brief description of the content within the game on their site.
How the SSG Ratings Work
Here at Side Story Games we try to help parents make informed decisions about their games. This is our process:
- We buy the games on our own dime (because we love playing games!)
- We play the games entirely, making sure to cover as many missions, submissions, dialog options, twists, turns, and achievements as possible.
- If the game is on PC and includes modding tools (see "Acronyms and Definitions" for more information), we look through those mods to see if they have adult content as well.
- We write our reviews and post them online, making sure to include pictures of anything we might find difficult to fully explain in words.
For more information on what content we rate, see "Review Layout".