ESRB: Number of M-rated games declined in 2007

Entertainment Software Ratings Board head Patricia Vance writes in the organization's winter newsletter that 2007 saw "8.5 our of every 10 games" rated as appropriate for ages 13 and under. In a flood of numbers and stats, the newsletter states there were 1,563 ratings given last year (a 22% increase over 2006), 94% of ratings "assigned were appropriate for ages 13 or younger."

The ESRB sure has some slick spin going on with its "appropriate for ages 13 or younger" stat. With its cunning use of "or" instead of "and," the organization deftly lumps T-rated games with the two levels of "E" titles. Really, it's teens 13-16 who have 'approved' access to 94% of games, while the younger crowd should only tango with 74%.

We spoke with the ESRB about why E rated titles make up such a large majority of ratings now. A spokesperson told Joystiq, "[The E ratings] growth is due in part to the recent influx of casual games for the PC, handheld devices and online arcades, etc." We learned a game could receive duplicate ratings to boost a certain category unless a publisher submits a game for multiple platforms at the same time. Also, all versions must share the same "graphical realism/intensity, and any other elements that might impact the assignment of the rating" for it to only count once. If there is "differing content, graphical realism/intensity, etc." then a single title could have multiple ratings. A game like Peggle, which has staggered onto multiple platforms over time, would boost "E" ratings for each of the game's versions.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.