ESRB hiring full-time raters

In wake of renewed legislative pressure, organization decides that the task of assigning ratings to games requires more than a part-time commitment.

Last week, Kansas Senator (and presidential candidate) Sam Brownback reintroduced the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, which would require the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to review a game's content in its entirety before issuing a rating. In resurrecting the bill (originally proposed last year), Brownback criticized the ESRB, saying, "The current video game ratings system is not as accurate as it could be because reviewers do not see the full content of games and do not even play the games they rate."

The ESRB is apparently aiming to improve its accuracy, as an ad on parent-oriented gaming site GamerDad yesterday revealed that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board is looking for full-time game raters. Prime candidates for the full-time rater positions will have experience with children, familiarity with games, and strong communication skills.

ESRB president Patricia Vance explained the move in a prepared statement.

"After months of careful consideration, the ESRB will be switching from part-time to full-time raters in April 2007," Vance said. "Having full-time raters will allow for each one to have greater experience actually reviewing content and recommending ratings, given the increased amount of time each one would spend doing it. This would provide each rater with a greater sense of historical parity for ratings, not to mention helping them to be more attuned to pertinent content and how it should be considered from a ratings standpoint. The full-time raters would also be responsible for play-testing final versions of the game, time permitting, which would allow for ESRB to play-test a greater number of games than it currently does. We'll have more information available about these changes at a later date."

Currently, the ESRB reviews video of the "most extreme instances, across all relevant categories including but not limited to violence, language, sex, controlled substances, and gambling" in each game it rates. After a pair of high-profile reratings for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the ESRB instituted a fine of up to $1 million for publishers who fail to disclose objectionable content during the ratings process.

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Discussion

70 comments
Shadow016
Shadow016

If Parents just did their job and read the ratings on the game boxes we wouldn't have to go through all this crap. Some parents are just very ignorant and don't read the labels on stuff before buying it for their kids. Everyone knows what is and what isn't appropriate for their kids to play and if not ASK THE PERSON IN THE STORE. If they don't know i suggest going to a store where the people know about the games they are selling instead of people who don't care and will sell you anything as long as they are paid themselves.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

comthitnuong I think this means the ratings will be more critical and harsher... Yeah it might end up that way... that would be stupid.

deffCOM5
deffCOM5

were would this job b located at? anyone know?

gmax
gmax

I'm not big on the ESRB or anything - I don't particularly relish the idea of it becoming a more powerful politically-driven puppet than whatever the heck it is now... But... Maybe there are some paying jobs in it, eh?

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

I think this means the ratings will be more critical and harsher...:(

subrosian
subrosian

This is idiotic and the ESRB knows it. Lawmakers don't understand gaming - they simply target it because it's a new medium for them that they can censor without it affecting their personal lives. It's such a one-sided issue (because people don't understand that videogame rating laws are a form of censorship, and do not address the real problem - the parents of the children) and can be blamed for social ills caused more by poor parenting. You can't tell your voting base "you're bad parents - your kids have underaged sex, do drugs, smoke, drink, and commit crimes because you're lousy parents, not because they played GTA III. What's your ten year old doing with GTA anyway? Who took him to the store? Who gave him money for a Playstation 2?" But no - so instead they blame the industry. The problem with what the ESRB is doing is that the next time a "hot coffee mod" slips through, politicians are going to go "even playing through each game, things slip by" and are going to try and create a platform requiring Government certification of games. Does it matter that movies, TV, and books are far more sexually explicit and violent than any T or M rated game - and there's nothing stopping a kid from finding it other than good parents? No. Because it looks good on election day "I care about kids".

Neo1O1
Neo1O1

These ignorant fools need to lay off.

lithus
lithus

"The full-time raters would also be responsible for play-testing final versions of the game" It's about God damn time.

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

I find this incredibly insane. You don't have to be a gamer in this day and age with video game commercials on t.v. every 5 mins to have a sense of which ones are aimed at which age group. Ya don't walk into the local EBgames and buy a GTA for an 8 year old. If some parents would take an interest in what their children play and maybe read the back of the case you will get a pretty good idea of what the game is like. Look at the screenshots, read what the premise is. Decide if little Ricky should be playing a game like this. We don't need the ESRB. We need parents to take responsiblity for their own actions or lack thereof. signed MOM OF 4 AND A GAMER TILL DEATH

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

Hmmm i think it would work better if games that dont get M ratings need hands on test. If you think about it there just trying to protect kids. Makes no sense to need to do this to GTA which is obviousely a M rated game. If they did it like that it could work big time. And besides little kid games are quicker to beat. Just my 2 cents on how this should be done.

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

I dont like it. Sounds like its going to take longer for companies to get there games rated, the current rating system works great. GTA games get a M rating, hmmm sounds like it's working to me. I think these guys in congress have to start worrying about more important things, and stay away from stuff they know nothing about. Besides the hot coffee code wouldn't have been found if they did do things this way originally.

sieg6529
sieg6529

As if Senator Brokeback couldn't find a more useful way to spend taxpayer's money.

MrLetty
MrLetty

If u guys wanna test games or play them for a living, move to seattle, u got nintendo and microsoft headquarters there.

sjrp80
sjrp80

DJ-rime90 lol i remember when i use to not shave for like a week to look like i was 18 and that was way back when i was 15, dont worry time passes fast but make sure u keep up those good grades lol

robfield
robfield

Seems like a nice job if the pay is good

RonHack
RonHack

Just how many people are interested in commuting down to Manhattan? Not many, I wager.

Valmier
Valmier

You apply at the ESRB website. I wanted to, but stupid age/location restrictions... I am annoyed.

DJ-PRIME90
DJ-PRIME90

oh well, ratings mean nothing to me since most stores here don't even enforce it:lol: and if I don't shave for a week, I look like I'm over 188)

gmayronne
gmayronne

oh great....here we go again

anarchicgoth
anarchicgoth

Ill take the job haha the best side job lol

ticalmc2k2
ticalmc2k2

rome_tx "Expert gaming skills should be a requirement as well. Imagine how long it would take for some random non-gamer playing Oblivion. It would be delayed for at least a year" I was thinking the exact same thing.

LexLas
LexLas

That's great that jobs came out of this whole thing, better for the economy, cool. I just hope they pick the right people and some with kids, that would help.

DeuxHero
DeuxHero

I like the idea, increaseing the number of games it randomly plays to say STFU to the idiots.

-Ronin-_basic
-Ronin-_basic

Some people are a bit too eager to jump on board. Playing games for a living is like becoming a porn star. Sure, you're doing beautiful women every day, but it's your JOB now. Same idea; it's no longer something you do for the joy of doing it. I love games as much as the next guy, but I couldn't spend 100 hours a week playing through, under pressure of deadlines, sleeping on my couch and not doing anything else I like. And to keep this on topic with the report, this whole thing is a dumb idea. If they already see the worst material a game has to offer via video, what will playing through the game accomplish? They're already seeing the WORST, so all they'll be seeing this way is 'less-worst' material. Waste of time.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

why can't these ppl see that in both cases, GTA:SA and Oblivion were reratied because of a 3rd party device, or mod, that altered the game

TryMe01
TryMe01

now they realise that there is an over flow of games, especially mature ones

blueflamedino
blueflamedino

This job is better than some old beta any day. You are paid to play a finished game before reviews even come out. That is awsome, I wonder though if you are allowed to keep the saves you make, and much more, if you can't speak of any gratifying experiences

rome_tx
rome_tx

Expert gaming skills should be a requirement as well. Imagine how long it would take for some random non-gamer playing Oblivion. It would be delayed for at least a year.

rome_tx
rome_tx

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Nothing is better than hands-on experience

RoboWizard
RoboWizard

"Government Job + Game Play = Biggest slacker job ever!!!!! Plus, once you get a government job, they keep you on even if you are the laziest person in the world!!!" The ESRB is a part of the Entertainment Software Association, not a part of the United States government. Just thought I'd point that out. As for the announcement itself, I like the idea. I think their rationale for making this decision makes plenty of sense to me, and it's a good way for the ESRB to stave off some of the unnecessary criticism regarding the accuracy of its rating system without going into this whole "play the game in its ENTIRETY" (whatever the hell that means for World of WarCraft) crap.

vaejas
vaejas

Any potential defections from GameSpot editors? Journalist reviews certainly have a sales impact, but here we're talking about distribution impact, and what parents do, and which games get put in brown paper wrappers... Inside baseball.

krimla
krimla

Government Job + Game Play = Biggest slacker job ever!!!!! Plus, once you get a government job, they keep you on even if you are the laziest person in the world!!!

Vegeta-sama
Vegeta-sama

I could do the job without to much problem. I'd like to see more accuracy on the ESRB and the BS that was Oblivion never happen again... mods changing a games rating is ignorance at a level that I can't get to grips with.

lzorro
lzorro

I would love to have that job even though I'm not a family man.

Lord_Bafford
Lord_Bafford

sounds fun. but you'd have to play crap games as well. which by the way, i find unbearable.

Vuud
Vuud

I'm with nappan. Imagine if you had to play through games like Big Rigs to rate it. You'd be WINNER!

JimBurber
JimBurber

I want to get paid to play video games! that would be sweet

nappan
nappan

Oh man you couldn't pay me (literally) to do this job. Consider how many game releases are AWFUL... and you'd be stuck playing through the game. For that one lucky sod who gets to rate the next GTA game or Oblivion or Zelda... a thousand others get all the 3-5's on gamespot's all time "suck" list. I think I'll keep it as a hobby... oh yes.