ESRB reports lower percentage of Mature games

US ratings body releases breakdown of the ratings given out in 2007, says proportion of M-rated games halved since 2005.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the US body that hands out age ratings for games, saw the largest number of games in its 13 years of existence come through its doors in 2007.

It has revealed that 1,563 games were given ratings last year, a 22 percent increase from 2006. The E for Everyone category continued to have the most games, with 59 percent of ratings, followed by T for Teen (13 and over) with 20 percent, and E10+ (10 and older) at 15 percent. M for Mature (17 and older) rated games made up 6 percent of the total, down from 8 percent in 2006, and 12 percent in 2005.

A statement from the ESRB president, Patricia Vance, said, "Although we tend to hear from the media most about the more controversial Mature-rated games, the reality is the 8.5 out of every 10 games sold last year were rated as appropriate for ages 13 or younger."

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Discussion

101 comments
gmagnus
gmagnus

Dirk, not being rated M doesn't mean it's only for kids.

Spincut
Spincut

Hm, this does not bode well, with an aging population, the influx of newer younger poeople is good for the business, but i fear it is bad for game quality, there are already far too many people who lack the appreciation of older gmaes and what made "them" good, using their sway as rising majority to pressure studios into making....well....overated crap....at least thats how i feel about it.

Kinsaki
Kinsaki

Most parents won't allow kids to get M rated games so its a better idea to make more E,E10,and Teen games

Azwhtknight
Azwhtknight

"1,563 games were given ratings last year, a 22 percent increase from 2006." I do think that the reason the % of M games went down is due to the sheer # of games released, but I don't really see an issue. As long as the games produced are worth playing (and at times those are limited) I don't care what they are rated! True gamers play for the fun or excitement of the game itself, not the rating. Besides, kids are exposed to massive amounts of violence just by watching the news or even picking up a history book. You don't see as much interest in the # of rated R movies, because they are part of the mainstream. If a parent is responsible, they should know what their child is interested in or exposed to by taking an interest in their child. I am not say we should do away with the rating system by no means! I just think that when a game is rated they should take this into account.

Fake_Sketch
Fake_Sketch

Vico001, I go to a shop every day to play ps2 wii and 360, an everyone there is over 16 moreless but there are still loads of people who are over 18(we are legal over 18 in m y country) that go to the shop(there is even a 40 year old guy pd: If a moderator reads this can he/she tell me why I was suspended last night and now not (i didnt post nothing), and I cam see the suspension in my history

aBathingApe_
aBathingApe_

@JShaw71 You call Call of Duty 4, Assassin's Creed, Halo 3, and Devil May Cry 4 a lull in the market?

Luthorcrow
Luthorcrow

vico001, your quote "Well most of the people that play video games are children so this makes a lot of sense. " Shows you don't know what you are talking about. The average gamer is in their early 20s. Its a myth that the majority of players are children. Children and teens make up a large market but they are not the majority. Honestly we need more mature rated games and more games that push the boundaries of theme and content if games are going to continue grow and expand. Witcher is a good example of a recent game that takes good advantage of the extreme room these allows the theme of the game.

vico001
vico001

Well most of the people that play video games are children so this makes a lot of sense. Anyways ratings dont have anything to do with quality of the games. So who cares about how many more E games are out ther than M games.

vico001
vico001

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

jakob_187
jakob_187

Oh, and @Hvac0120 : No E rated games that are fun to play? Well, if you encompass the entirety of E and E10+, I can list at least 10 games that were fun to play....starting with Super Mario Galaxy and ending with Beautiful Katamari. Go back to your trenchcoats and lame game "innovations", please. kthxbai

jakob_187
jakob_187

A lot of people will try to say "oh, the numbers are down because M rated games are under fire all the time" or "well, that's because there isn't much quality left in it" or even "well, GTA and MGS4 and a bunch of others didn't come out". In all honesty, though, the only reason we saw less M rated games is simple: the Wii is a hit. The console doesn't have a ton of M rated games, so without it in the equation...you would see a MUCH bigger increase in the number of M rated games out there. Thank Nintendo for giving us a better way to fire back at people like Jack Thompson. =D

BigSmitts07
BigSmitts07

maybe jack thompson will quit bit**ing afterhaering these numbers....

Smoky_Hill
Smoky_Hill

"This is probably because such games like GTA and Manhunt aren't fun anymore" Give me a fricken break. It's because games with lesser ratings have a bigger potential audience, therefore has more selling potential. It's always been that way and always will be. It's not a fluke that Super Mario Bros. is the #1 highest sold game of all time and Pokemon the highest selling RPG franchise of all time.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

just because theres less M rated games on the market means nothing, just a lull in the the market, give it some time M games will return :: gasp ::

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Now the industry just needs to start making those E-rated games fun to play. Sure, they can pass the ESRB ratings, but can they bring enjoyment to young children? At this time, there aren't very many developers that can bring out an E rated game that people like to play. If someone can figure out the key to that formula and get E rated games noticed by the media, then the industry may have a way to reverse the outlook on gaming on the general public.

GKBeetle
GKBeetle

thug_angel123 M rated games are as essential as R rated movies are.. . ... And how exactly are R-rated movies essential? I'm not sure that you need R-rated movies to live or anything.

BringTheBlood
BringTheBlood

A statement from the ESRB president, Patricia Vance, said, "Although we tend to hear from the media most about the more controversial Mature-rated games, the reality is the 8.5 out of every 10 games sold last year were rated as appropriate for ages 13 or younger." tell that to all those a holes who complain about how volient and distruvtive games are. if anything we need more M rated games. i hate all those kiddy games that come out.

thug_angel123
thug_angel123

M rated games are as essential as R rated movies are..

DarkStreetDev
DarkStreetDev

Bring more M-rated games please. Keep the E-games for Wii.

Carpe_Noctum
Carpe_Noctum

Hope that this is not a trend that continues.

majestikk
majestikk

Who cares?! As long as we have games like GTA IV to look forward to, I'm a happy man. Let the controversy begin!

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

Actually, the numbers seem kinda surprising to me considering all the "M" rated games that seemed to have dropped last year--I definitely thought the numbers would be higher than that. I don't necessarily think, though, that it's all the Wii's fault, as some have mentioned, I think the lower % really has a lot to do with many companies and development teams (of those video game companies) fearing the constant hounding by these czar-like watchgroups (or so they all themselves) that have scared everyone into this "safe zone" as far as ratings go--well that and idiotic parents that can't pay no mind to what there kids are playing. I mean, just look at all the BS that RockStar had to deal w/ just this past year with the release of Manhunt 2, or the dramas that Mass Effect and other such games have had--who wants to go through that headache (at least that what those other developers are probably thinking)?? It's the fear of "controversy" that I believe has stifled the market on "M" rated games, as most developers fear getting caught up in some watchgroup's crusade on morality. Kinda sucks.....I mean don't get me wrong that's not to say there aren't any "E" (or "E+10") or "T" rated games that don't rock; but I think--personally--it's just something more enjoyable about being grown-ass person (whether male or female....'cuz yeah us girls can do "M", too, LOL) playing a game that sorta caters to your mindset. Matter of fact, most of the games I have--other than my fight, racing, or Sims 2 games--are "Mature" rated. It's just the way I like to game. Hell, I've been playing "mature games" since I played my first "M" rated one--Onimusha: Warlords--over 7 yrs ago (and I'm 25 now, so you do the math....LOL). And I ain't flip and kick nobody's ass yet, so hey goes to show it all goes back to good parents (blessed for mines)!

MARINE_B0Y
MARINE_B0Y

I don't see a problem with M rated games i'm 16 and I go to high school theres drugs, language,crude humor and believe it or not I've seen real blood! On top of the fact that people think that killing in a game is bad cmon. I've hunted before and that has a bigger effect on me than shootin someone in GTA, why? because it's real

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

While it is true that games don't have to be M rated to be good (I think games like Zelda and the T-rated Final Fantasy line prove that), I do think games are being hurt by the persistent idea in the minds of watchdog groups that games are just for kids. Of course, this isn't just because of them, but this also corresponds directly to the rise of the Wii, which while having some quality games, has many more games that focus more on being gimmicky shallow things that last about 2 hours rather than experiences that stay with you for a long while after. Having a good time for a short while is nothing bad, of course, but when the entire industry shifts to cater to that, it doesn't bode well for people who appreciate well crafted games. Not to say that all M games are good, many have gore just for the sake of gore, and people complaining that a game like dynasty warriors doesn't have gore and blood splattering all over the place doesn't help the matter. However, I think that this is a trend that doesn't bode well for the game industry in te long run.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

yeah but kids want those 18 year old games too which is a problem

gamepro345
gamepro345

I think that the vendors, nor the game publishers should be at fault for kids being able to play Mature rated games, It is the parents of the kids. All it takes is a simple look or two at what your child is playing, to tell whether or not it is appropriate for their age group. Its that simple. Also, in an enviorment where kids whose parents do not care at all about the content in which a 8 year old kid is accessing, the kids have probably been already exposed to far worse content outside of games already.

justin315
justin315

Rated M games get bad comments because minors are able to buy those kind of games, dont blame the makers of the game, blame the vendors who sell them to minors

GamerLee
GamerLee

Although Rated M games made up only 6 percent of the total games released in 2007. Rated M games made up 60 percent of GameSpot's Ten Nominees for Game of the Year in 2007: Call of Duty 4, Crysis, Orange Box, Bioshock, Halo 3 and God of War II.

neomana
neomana

Karjah mate good point slightly draggingly made :-P, Possibly tho the lower percentage of mature games is also due to a fact of alot more games being release, i mean if there going to count XBL titles then you have a hell of alot of lil jokes games like pac man ect.. which are jokes games but dont contain the same depth of brand new games. So if ratings include XBL im not suprised at all.

Ospov
Ospov

It could be due to the fact that 3rd party companies release tons of shovelware E games for the Wii. I like the Wii and all, but 3rd party support isn't as good as it should be.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

just because theres less M rated games on the market means nothing, just a lull in the the market, give it some time M games will return :: gasp ::

Icehearted
Icehearted

It's hard to generate sales of M-Rated games when companies fear lawsuits filed by parents unwilling to accept responsibility for the way they raise their children. Anyone that thinks a video game has more influence on their child than they do as parents has problems, and the problem clearly lies with them. Good games don't require bloodshed or *gasp* nudity. I just hate to think there are people out there that believe censorship equates to moral victory, when in fact it defeats the idea that we are each responsible for what we say, think, or do. I don't want blinders. I don't want someone else holding my hand like I'm some kind of mindless child and they 'know better'. I want the freedom to choose for myself what is appropriate for me. It's good to see that gaming as a medium of entertainment continues to flourish, but lets not kid ourselves. Any praise for a lack of mature games is a step backward.

dcmdream
dcmdream

Wow, that's it...I really thought It would have been a little higher. Oh well, maybe the media will shut up for a little while now.

Karjah
Karjah

"That is...without the help of the Wii,which has a bunch of kiddy games" Good grief..yeah Surgery games, Resident Evil, No more Heroes, Zelda, etc are really "kiddy games" Grow up. That's like me saying the 360 is a frat boy system only completly ignoring games like Viva pinata, Rock band, Fushion frenzy, etc. This isn't the 80's for you folks out there who think this way. This is the 21st century and here we play all games on all systems, all the time. Becuase that's what a real gamer is. Someone who cares about the games, not the labels some fools put on it. Have fun with your 360 it's a great machine but excuse me if nintendo putting out a few Mario party and kid movie games now and then isn't going to stop me from enjoying No more heroes, Smash Bros, Mario kart etc over the coming months. I almost barfed when I read gamespot saying that No more Heroes was "The Mature wii title we have all been waiting for". Get oft the labels. Get on the games.

louisgames
louisgames

To bad that gamers don't like killer games

nate1222
nate1222

Duh, a**holes! Most of my favs are rated M. But I'd rather M mean "deep content" than just a slew of violence and obsenity. In most 'MATURE' movies, music, games, etc.. there's going to be violence and profanity-that's the adult world. It's the kids world, too, once you factor in how children talk when adults aren't around. I'd know: I used to be a kid a long time ago. I don't think violent/profane content is the 'core' of mature subject matter. But if you eliminated it, it would definately lose its authenticity. Nonetheless, I'm glad the little tikes are getting some games for them.

Zetona
Zetona

However, if you take the percentages of the games that are actually worth playing, M games have a much higher proportion. Most of the E games these days are made for no other reason than to cash in on the success of the Wii.

LordReithgar
LordReithgar

"bardkieran I correlate this to what I say about music - anyone can write a song full of curses to make it extreme, but it takes genius to maintain the same level of popularity without even saying one. What I mean by this, sure, throw some blood and gore, tons of guns, all the things that gamers flock to, and you'll be quite popular. Make a game that doesn't have all that stuff, but still maintains the same level of popularity, that is talent. Maybe this is why I get tired of the GTA series, because you cant add anything more into it to make it more intense, so it has to be built out in another direction. Now a M rated game with a good story, like the RE games, those are my favorites." Your point is biased by your own opinion and thus is voided. A, RE boasts loads of weaponry, gore, blood and suches and is extreme. So where were you leading?!??!?? Maybe if you would have said something like, Katamari is an incredible game because it has no blood and suches and is still is popular blablabla. To validate your point, you should have had talked of a game unrelated of the M rating Resident Evil being a game with a good story? It is your opinion (I respect that) but not mine. I enjoyed teh first one and grew bored with them after the second one. GTA being only about rampage is your opinion, I hardly do rampages, I play from one quest to the other, I find hardly any enjoyment out of killing sensesly but I thrive to see the storyline unravel. As I said maybe you don't like GTA, but the game is mainstream for more then mere "hack and slash" which you fail to see, unlike Manhunt which was a huge success back then and now no one talks about. Songs with lots of swear hardly gains high popularity because the band singing them are most of the time obscure and unheard of by the media since they can't promote such music. Thus, even your point about music is incorrect.

lamprey263
lamprey263

well, doesn't matter how many or how few M rated games are out there, someone is still going to complain about them, it's always some claim that they're trying to look after kids or developers are trying to ruin kids Fox News Mass Effect Sex Debate - and as you can see the voice of reason has no room to speak

Merl57
Merl57

This is a shame because the majority of gamers are over the age of 17 and the games with the most awards last year are rated M and I enjoy them. It's all about selling copies and kids have money from parents to by T and under games it really is a shame.

okassar
okassar

That's a stupid report on ESRB.Well no frikkin' duh.Like half the games coming out right now are cheap handheld games that can't possibly be rated M.Maybe that's why there's less games rated M overall?Bad way of saying it.I bet the number of games rated M on the 360,PS3,and Wii,overall,are actually increasing.That is...without the help of the Wii,which has a bunch of kiddy games.

umbrae
umbrae

Government censorship in action. All you have to do it start trying to pass laws and everyone freaks.

ChuckNorris82
ChuckNorris82

BOOOOO!!!!! That suxx!!!!!!!!! My motto is........The BEST games, are M games!!! Wooooooooo!!!

superdance14
superdance14

1. You can't have a M-rated game that appeals to casual gamers. 2. It may have gone down, but the "content" level has gone up.

Ted_Zanarukando
Ted_Zanarukando

The Hot Coffee incident may have led to the decrease of the M rating percentage. I never played an M rated game before, but I plan on playing one in the near future. Since June 28, 2007, I no longer live with my parents. My parents' home is too far from my job, thus being 2 hours away. The county of my parents' home is a tedious place to live anyway. As of now, there were more M rated games released when I was living with my parents than when I am living independently.

paul52181
paul52181

emerald101 There are some games that you just have to get no matter the age rating. GTA 4, GOW, gears of war e.t.c. But yet all the games you listed are Mature, so how does that make any sense??

BlueBirdTS
BlueBirdTS

I hate the whole "mature" label. The ratings can be very misleading and oftentimes questionable. Besides, should a game's maturity really be dependent on something as basic as blood, violence, and curse words? These are all things that, regrettably, we are exposed to from a very young age. It should be a games actual thematic depth/content that determines its "maturity". A very gory game like God of War isn't necessarily "mature", just bloody and brutal. Conversely, an E-rated game could still be suited for a more mature audience. I just hate the whole concept that only corrupting themes separate "mature" games from juvenile ones.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

this is probably due to the success of the Wii

ranman1990
ranman1990

lol as long as im able to purchase any game it doesnt matter to me ... rating has nothing to do with the enjoyment i get out it.

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

just means that there was more family friendly games out there, and that's a plus for more games being sold